To the beginning of the 13th century the popular superstitions regarding sorcery, witchcraft and compacts with the devil were condemned by the ecclesiastical authorities as heathenish, sinful and heretical.
Since the absorption of the aborigines in Israel Canaanite ideas had exercised great influence over the sanctuaries - so much so that the reforming prophets of the 8th century regarded the national religion as having become wholly heathenish; and this influence the ordinary prophets, whom a man like Micah regards as mere diviners, had certainly not escaped.
In 1678, in a Discourse of Idolatry, he had endeavoured to fasten the practices of heathenish idolatry on the Church of Rome, and in a sermon which he published in 1681 on Discretion in Giving Alms was attacked by Andrew Pulton, head of the Jesuits in the Savoy.
For example, the ephod, an object of divination, is still retained, but it is now restricted to the high-priest; and his position as head of a theocratic state, and his ceremonial dress with its heathenish associations presuppose a past monarchy.
The Mosaic law, in its reforming aspect, is characterized by the denunciation of heathenism and heathenish usages which belong to the old religion.