KING SAUL AND THE WITCH AT ENDOR, 1 Samuel 28:7-25
The beginning of this sad tale starts at 1 Samuel 28:3 , "Now Samuel was dead...and buried in Ramah..."
When King Saul needed spiritual advice, or a specific answer from God, he was supposed to go to the prophet, Samuel. However, the Bible records that Saul never sought Samuel's advice and counsel. Now that Samuel was dead, and now that King Saul knows David was going to be the new King, Saul panics when faced with an imminent attack from the Philistines. On the day before the battle, King Saul asks his servants where he can find supernatural help. Let us pick up this story in 1 Samuel 28:7 :
“Then said Saul unto his servants, Seek me a woman that hath a familiar spirit, that I may go to her, and inquire of her.” 1 Samuel 28:7 AKJV, and, "Then Saul said to his servants, 'Find me a woman who is a medium (between the living and the dead), that I may go and inquire of her'”.
That King Saul would even think of enlisting the aid of a witch, a medium, for spiritual advice is shocking because he had vigorously rooted out witches from Israel, as the witch's response in 1 Samuel 28:9 so indicates. God had ordered that no one in Israel consult mediums, witches, and sorcerers long before King Saul appeared on the scene (Deuteronomy 18:9-14 ). In fact, God commanded that all witches and those who practice sorcery be put to death, all the way back in Exodus fully 400 years before King Saul.
To reiterate, the response of this Witch at Endor (2 Samuel 28:9 ), shows that King Saul had carried out God's commands regarding witches; HOWEVER, I find it very interesting that, even after a vigorous campaign against witches, King Saul's men knew EXACTLY where one was located! When Saul asked for a witch, they knew exactly where she was living, and were able to take Saul to her. She must have been a very powerful witch to escape the scourge of King Saul, even though his advisors knew exactly where she was located. The immediate response of his servants tells the truth of the story, "Behold, there is a woman that hath a familiar spirit at Endor." (1 Samuel 28:7 )
Once King Saul knew that a witch lived at Endor, he wasted no time going to her, "And Saul disguised himself, and put on other raiment, and he went, and two men with him, and they came to the woman by night: and he said, I pray thee, divine unto me by the familiar spirit, and bring me him up, whom I shall name unto thee." 1 Samuel 28:8
Now, some important points to take note of. The most important thing to notice about Saul's request is that he spoke of this ritual almost routinely, and he certainly knew of the power of a witch to summon a spirit being through the power of the "familiar spirit" living within her; this familiar spirit is a most powerful form of demon possession, for calling up a spirit being into this dimension requires powerful possession, working through an accomplished witch. King Saul knew she could call up a specific spirit, and after assuring her that she would not be killed [1 Samuel 28:10 ]. Invoking God’s name, he asked her for Samuel to be brought back from Upper Sheol, a place the LORD Jesus Christ called Paradise, Luke 16 .
Most Bible scholars DO NOT believe that God actually allowed Samuel's spirit to return to earth, for the simple reason that God would surely not allow the spirit of a righteous prophet to return to earth using a Satanic method condemned by God. God cares as much for the right methods as He does for the right ends, so He would most definitely not allow the actual spirit of Samuel to manifest itself.
The text itself allows this interpretation. At first, it seems as though Samuel himself did appear, as we read in 1 Samuel 28:12 , "And when the woman saw Samuel, she cried with a loud voice: and the woman spake to Saul, saying, why hast thou deceived me? For thou art Saul." However, the very next verse casts doubt on whether this was actually Samuel's spirit, take note of what King Saul actually says here, "And the king said unto her, Be not afraid: for what sawest thou?" For Saul to have phrased this question in this manner indicates that the witch did not identify the spirit being whom she saw as Samuel.
Let us continue on with 1` Samuel 28:13, “And the woman said unto Saul, I saw gods ascending out of the earth.” The King James Version seems to indicate that she saw more than one spirit appearing in this dimension. Again the KJV rendering, "And the woman said unto Saul, I saw gods ascending out of the earth." However, the witch must have spoken in the singular, because Saul forms his next question in the singular.
"What form is he of?" 1 Samuel 28:14 . The witch saw this spirit being before Saul did, and she was terrified by its countenance. However, this fact still does NOT mean that this spirit was actually Samuel. The answer this witch gives next is very insightful. She described what she saw, "An old man cometh up; and he is covered with a mantle." 1 Samuel 28:14 .
Notice the witch did not say that it was actually Samuel, but only that she saw an old man, covered with a mantle. Then, the Holy Spirit’s next sentence reveals the truth. "And Saul perceived that it was Samuel" 1 Samuel 28:14 . Saul PERCEIVED that the "old man…covered with a mantle" was Samuel. The King then bowed down on the earth before the spirit being and made obeisance. In other words, King Saul acknowledged that he recognized the superior spiritual authority of Samuel, something he refused to do when Samuel was alive.
The next question to be asked is…Does God command evil spirits?
In Ephesians 1:13 the Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul declares that men are saved and sealed by hearing and BELIEVING the Word of Truth, the Gospel of your Salvation. Therefore, here, now, is declared unto you the Word of Truth, the Gospel of your Salvation: "that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures" 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 . BELIEVE today. The time is short.
So There You Have it!
Spread this message to everyone you know, far and wide.
Grace be to you and peace, from God: our Father, and The LORD Jesus Christ.
In The LORD Jesus Christ,
The Lion and Lamb Ministry
Pastor David Picos, D.D.
Minister and Ambassador for Christ in the Ministry of Reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:18-20 )
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