Here we find magic and soothsaying closely intertwined with priestly functions as, we shall see, was the case in early Hebrew pre-exilian days with the Kohen.
We may assume that like the practice of the soothsaying priest (the earlier type of priest) and of the Izosem (diviner), so the procedure of the roeh was mechanical and magical in character.
If the modus operandi was akin to soothsaying it was only because that special form of soothsaying was peculiar to the particular cult of that god, and even this as a secondary development.
AmOng the Babylonians and Assyrians the baru (from bars to see, inspect) was a soothsaying priest who was consulted whenever any important undertaking was proposed, and addressed his inquiries to Samas the sun god (or Adad) as bet biri or lord of the oracle (accompanied by the sacrifice of lambs).
The great blot on his memory is his cruelty, which at times was frightful, and showed itself in its full fierceness in the punishment of persons accused of witchcraft, soothsaying or magical practices.
In natural soothsaying this frenzy is the necessary physical accompaniment of an afflatus which, though it seems supernatural to a rude people, is really akin to poetic inspiration.
As contrasted with the baru or soothsaying priest, as he is called by Zimmern, we have the asipu, who was the priestmagician who dealt in conjurations (siptu), whereby diseases were removed, spells broken, or in expiations whereby sins were expiated.