1 Samuel 28:13 MEANING

1 Samuel 28:13
1Sam 28:13

(13) I saw gods ascending out of the earth.--The king at once calms the witch's fears for her life, and impatiently, as it would seem, asks what she saw which called forth the cry of fear and terror. "Gods"--this is the rendering of the Hebrew word Elohim. The English Version, however, follows the majority of the Versions here. The Chaldee translates the word by "angels." Corn, a Lapide and the best modern scholars, however, reasoning from Saul's words which immediately follow--"What is his form?"--suppose the Elohim to signify, not a plurality of appearances, but one God-like form: something majestic and august. The feeling, however, of antiquity seems to have been in favour of more than one supernatural form entering into the En-dor dwelling on that awful night. Besides the testimony of the Versions above referred to, the passage in the Babylonian Talmud treatise Chaggigah, quoted below, speaks of two positively spirit forms-Samuel and another.

Verse 13. - What sawest thou? Thus far Saul had seen nothing; and as the words literally are What seest thou? it is plain that she had not gone into another room, as some have supposed. The vision was entirely unsubstantial, and Saul, hearing her cry, and observing her excitement, and her steady gaze upon some object, asked what that object was. Probably she was at some distance from him, as was no doubt her custom when performing her incantations, in order that what she did might not be too closely observed; probably, too, she burnt odours, and surrounded herself with the smoke of incense. In answer to Saul she says, "I see Elohim ascending out of the earth." As the participle is plural, she does not mean God; nor, as it was a single appearance, is the rendering gods correct. What she means is that she saw some grand supernatural appearance rising out of the ground, which she calls a god in a general way, without attaching any very exact meaning to the term.

28:7-19 When we go from the plain path of duty, every thing draws us further aside, and increases our perplexity and temptation. Saul desires the woman to bring one from the dead, with whom he wished to speak; this was expressly forbidden, De 18:11. All real or pretended witchcraft or conjuration, is a malicious or an ignorant attempt to gain knowledge or help from some creature, when it cannot be had from the Lord in the path of duty. While Samuel was living, we never read of Saul's going to advise with him in any difficulties; it had been well for him if he had. But now he is dead, Bring me up Samuel. Many who despise and persecute God's saints and ministers when living, would be glad to have them again, when they are gone. The whole shows that it was no human fraud or trick. Though the woman could not cause Samuel's being sent, yet Saul's inquiry might be the occasion of it. The woman's surprise and terror proved that it was an unusual and unexpected appearance. Saul had despised Samuel's solemn warnings in his lifetime, yet now that he hoped, as in defiance of God, to obtain some counsel and encouragement from him, might not God permit the soul of his departed prophet to appear to Saul, to confirm his former sentence, and denounce his doom? The expression, Thou and thy sons shall be with me, means no more than that they shall be in the eternal world. There appears much solemnity in God's permitting the soul of a departed prophet to come as a witness from heaven, to confirm the word he had spoken on earth.And the king said unto her, be not afraid,.... Meaning not of the apparition, but of him; since he had sworn no punishment should come upon her, and he should inviolably observe his oath: for what sawest thou? for as yet Saul himself saw not anything, the woman being between him and the apparition; or she might be in another room with her familiar spirit performing the operations when Samuel appeared:

and the woman said unto Saul, I saw gods ascending out of the earth; a great personage, one of a majestic form, like the gods, or judges and civil magistrates, sometimes so called, as Kimchi and R. Isaiah rightly interpret it; and so the Targum,"I saw an angel of the Lord;''a person that looked like one; for not many came up with him, and particularly Moses, as say some Jewish writers (d).

(d) T. Bab. Chagigah, fol. 4. 8. Pirke Eliezer, c. 33.

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