1-Samuel - 28:1-25

Saul and the Witch of Endor

      1 It happened in those days, that the Philistines gathered their armies together for warfare, to fight with Israel. Achish said to David, "Know assuredly that you shall go out with me in the army, you and your men." 2 David said to Achish, "Therefore you shall know what your servant will do." Achish said to David, "Therefore will I make you my bodyguard for ever." 3 Now Samuel was dead, and all Israel had lamented him, and buried him in Ramah, even in his own city. Saul had put away those who had familiar spirits, and the wizards, out of the land. 4 The Philistines gathered themselves together, and came and encamped in Shunem: and Saul gathered all Israel together, and they encamped in Gilboa. 5 When Saul saw the army of the Philistines, he was afraid, and his heart trembled greatly. 6 When Saul inquired of Yahweh, Yahweh didn't answer him, neither by dreams, nor by Urim, nor by prophets. 7 Then Saul said to his servants, "Seek me a woman who has a familiar spirit, that I may go to her, and inquire of her." His servants said to him, "Behold, there is a woman who has a familiar spirit at Endor." 8 Saul disguised himself, and put on other clothing, and went, he and two men with him, and they came to the woman by night: and he said, "Please divine to me by the familiar spirit, and bring me up whoever I shall name to you." 9 The woman said to him, "Behold, you know what Saul has done, how he has cut off those who have familiar spirits, and the wizards, out of the land. Why then do you lay a snare for my life, to cause me to die?" 10 Saul swore to her by Yahweh, saying, "As Yahweh lives, no punishment shall happen to you for this thing." 11 Then the woman said, "Whom shall I bring up to you?" He said, "Bring Samuel up for me." 12 When the woman saw Samuel, she cried with a loud voice; and the woman spoke to Saul, saying, "Why have you deceived me? For you are Saul!" 13 The king said to her, "Don't be afraid. For what do you see?" The woman said to Saul, "I see a god coming up out of the earth." 14 He said to her, "What does he look like?" She said, "An old man comes up. He is covered with a robe." Saul perceived that it was Samuel, and he bowed with his face to the ground, and did obeisance. 15 Samuel said to Saul, "Why have you disturbed me, to bring me up?" Saul answered, "I am very distressed; for the Philistines make war against me, and God has departed from me, and answers me no more, neither by prophets, nor by dreams. Therefore I have called you, that you may make known to me what I shall do." 16 Samuel said, "Why then do you ask of me, since Yahweh has departed from you and has become your adversary? 17 Yahweh has done to you as he spoke by me. Yahweh has torn the kingdom out of your hand, and given it to your neighbor, even to David. 18 Because you didn't obey the voice of Yahweh, and didn't execute his fierce wrath on Amalek, therefore Yahweh has done this thing to you this day. 19 Moreover Yahweh will deliver Israel also with you into the hand of the Philistines; and tomorrow you and your sons will be with me. Yahweh will deliver the army of Israel also into the hand of the Philistines." 20 Then Saul fell immediately his full length on the earth, and was terrified, because of the words of Samuel. There was no strength in him; for he had eaten no bread all the day, nor all the night. 21 The woman came to Saul, and saw that he was very troubled, and said to him, "Behold, your handmaid has listened to your voice, and I have put my life in my hand, and have listened to your words which you spoke to me. 22 Now therefore, please listen also to the voice of your handmaid, and let me set a morsel of bread before you; and eat, that you may have strength, when you go on your way." 23 But he refused, and said, I will not eat. But his servants, together with the woman, constrained him; and he listened to their voice. So he arose from the earth, and sat on the bed. 24 The woman had a fattened calf in the house. She hurried and killed it; and she took flour, and kneaded it, and baked unleavened bread of it. 25 She brought it before Saul, and before his servants; and they ate. Then they rose up, and went away that night.

Chapter In-Depth

Explanation and meaning of 1-Samuel 28.

Historical Commentaries

Scholarly Analysis and Interpretation.

The Philistines prepare to attack the Israelites, and Achish informs David that he shall accompany him to battle, 1-Samuel 28:1, 1-Samuel 28:2. Saul, unable to obtain any answer from God, applies to a witch at En-dor to bring up Samuel that he may converse with him on the issue of the war, 1-Samuel 28:3-11. Samuel appears, 1-Samuel 28:12-14. He reproaches Saul with his misconduct, and informs him of his approaching ruin, 1-Samuel 28:15-19. He is greatly distressed; but at the solicitations of the woman and his own servants, he takes some food, and departs the same night, 1-Samuel 28:20-25.

The Philistines gathering together, to fight with Israel, Saul trembled at it, not being able to get any answer from the Lord about it in any way whatever, 1-Samuel 28:1; upon which he applies to a woman that had a familiar spirit to bring him up Samuel, which she did, 1-Samuel 28:7; and what passed between Saul and Samuel, or at least the apparition in his form, is recorded, 1-Samuel 28:15; which so struck him, as to make him strengthless, and so melancholy, that he refused to eat until persuaded, or rather compelled, by the woman and his servants, 1-Samuel 28:20.

(1-Samuel 28:1-6) Achish puts confidence in David, Saul's fear.
(1-Samuel 28:7-19) Saul consults a witch at Endor.
(1-Samuel 28:20-25) Saul's terror.

David in the Army of the Philistines. Attack upon Israel. Saul and the Witch of Endor - 1 Samuel 28
The danger into which David had plunged through his flight into the land of the Philistines, and still more through the artifice with which he had deceived the king Achish as to his real feelings, was to be very soon made apparent to him. For example, when the Philistines went to war again with Israel, Achish summoned him to go with his men in the army of the Philistines to the war against his own people and land, and David could not disregard the summons. But even if he had not brought himself into this danger without some fault of his own, he had at any rate only taken refuge with the Philistines in the greatest extremity; and what further he had done, was only done to save his own life. The faithful covenant God helped him therefore out of this trouble, and very soon afterwards put an end to his persecution by the fact that Saul lost his life in the war.

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