1 Samuel
Chapter 28

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1 And it came to passe in those dayes, that the Philistines gathered their armies together for warfare, to fight with Israel: And Achish said vnto Dauid, Knowe thou assuredly, that thou shalt goe out with me to battell, thou, and thy men.

2 And Dauid said to Achish, Surely thou shalt know what thy seruant can doe. And Achish said to Dauid, Therfore will I make thee keeper of mine head for euer.

3 Now Samuel was dead, and all Israel had lamented him, and buried him in Ramah, euen in his owne citie: and Saul had put away those that had familiar spirits, and the wyzards, out of the land.

4 And the Philistines gathered themselues together, and came and pitched in Shunem: and Saul gathered all Israel together, and they pitched in Gilboa.

5 And when Saul saw the hoste of the Philistines, he was afraid, and his heart greatly trembled.

6 And when Saul enquired of the Lord, the Lord answered him not, neither by dreames, nor by Urim, nor by Prophets.

7 Then said Saul vnto his seruants, Seeke me a woman that hath a familiar spirit, that I may goe to her, and enquire of her. And his seruant said to him, Beholde, there is a woman that hath a familiar spirit at Endor.

8 And Saul disguised himselfe, and put on other raiment, and hee went, and two men with him, and they came to the woman by night, and he said, I pray thee diuine vnto me by the familiar spirit, and bring me him vp whom I shall name vnto thee.

9 And the woman saide vnto him, Beholde, thou knowest what Saul hath done, how hee hath cut off those that haue familiar spirits, and the wyzards out of the land: wherefore then layest thou a snare for my life, to cause me to die?

10 And Saul sware to her by the Lord, saying, As the Lord liueth, there shall no punishment happen to thee for this thing.

11 Then said the woman, Whome shall I bring vp vnto thee? and he said, Bring me vp Samuel.

12 And when the woman saw Samuel, she cried with a lowd voyce; and the woman spake to Saul, saying, Why hast thou deceiued me? for thou art Saul.

13 And the king sayd vnto her, Be not afraid: for what sawest thou? And the woman said vnto Saul, I saw gods ascending out of the earth.

14 And he said vnto her, What forme is he of? And she said, An old man commeth vp, and he is couered with a mantle. And Saul perceiued that it was Samuel, and hee stouped with his face to the ground, and bowed himselfe.

15 And Samuel said to Saul, Why hast thou disquieted me, to bring me vp? And Saul answered, I am sore distressed; for the Philistins make war against me, and God is departed from me, and answereth me no more, neither by Prophets, nor by dreames: therefore I haue called thee, that thou mayst make knowen vnto me, what I shall doe.

16 Then said Samuel, Wherefore then doest thou aske of mee, seeing the Lord is departed from thee, and is become thine enemy?

17 And the Lord hath done to him, as hee spake by mee: for the Lord hath rent the kingdome out of thine hand, and giuen it to thy neighbour, euen to Dauid:

18 Because thou obeiedst not the voice of the Lord, nor executedst his fierce wrath vpon Amalek, therefore hath the Lord done this thing vnto thee this day.

19 Moreouer, the Lord will also deliuer Israel with thee, into the hand of the Philistines: and to morrow shalt thou and thy sonnes bee with mee: the Lord also shall deliuer the hoste of Israel into the hand of the Philistines.

20 Then Saul fell straightway all along on the earth, and was sore afraid, because of the words of Samuel, & there was no strength in him: for he had eaten no bread all the day, nor al the night.

21 And the woman came vnto Saul, and saw that he was sore troubled, and sayd vnto him, Behold, thine handmayd hath obeyed thy voice, and I haue put my life in my hand, and haue hearkened vnto thy words which thou spakest vnto me:

22 Now therefore, I pray thee, hearken thou also vnto the voyce of thine handmaid, & let me set a morsel of bread before thee; & eat, that thou mayest haue strength, when thou goest on thy way.

23 But hee refused, and said, I will not eate. But his seruants together with the woman compelled him, and he hearkened vnto their voyce: so he arose from the earth, & sate vpon the bed.

24 And the woman had a fat calfe in the house, and she hasted, and killed it, and tooke flower and kneaded it, and did bake vnleauened bread thereof.

25 And she brought it before Saul, and before his seruants, and they did eate: then they arose vp, and went away that night.

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Commentary for 1 Samuel 28

Achish puts confidence in David, Saul's fear. (1-6) Saul consults a witch at Endor. (7-19) Saul's terror. (20-25)1-6 David could not refuse Achish without danger. If he promised assistance, and then stood neuter, or went over to the Israelites, he would behave with ingratitude and treachery. If he fought against Israel, he would sin greatly. It seemed impossible that he should get out of this difficulty with a clear conscience; but his evasive answer, intended to gain time, was not consistent with the character of an Israelite indeed. Troubles are terrors to the children of disobedience. In his distress, Saul inquired of the Lord. He did not seek in faith, but with a double, unstable mind. Saul had put the law in force against those that had familiar spirits, #Ex 22:18|. Many seem zealous against, sin, when they are any way hurt by it, who have no concern for the glory of God, nor any dislike of sin as sin. Many seem enemies to sin in others, while they indulge it in themselves. Saul will drive the devil out of his kingdom, yet harbours him in his heart by envy and malice. How foolish to consult those whom, according to God's law, he had endeavoured to root out!

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.

20-25 Those that expect any good counsel or comfort, otherwise than from God, and in the way of his institutions, will be as wretchedly disappointed as Saul. Though terrified even to despair, he was not humbled. He confessed not his sins, offered no sacrifices, and presented no supplications. He does not seem to have cared about his sons or his people, or to have attempted any escape; but in sullen despair he rushed upon his doom. God sets up a few such beacons, to warn men not to stifle convictions, or despise his word. But while one repenting thought remains, let no sinner suppose himself in this case. Let him humble himself before God, determined to live and die beseeching his favour, and he will succeed.

Commentary by Matthew Henry, 1710.

Discussion for 1 Samuel 28

  • KATHY STINE
    I have studied this story many times because I believe it is a warning to those who would become involved in witchcraft to see what happened to King Saul because he believed a witch had power. She screamed when she saw Samuel, so she didn't bring him up from the dead. Only God has power over life and death. On TV and movies actors try to convince people they are powerful.
  • Michael
    Samuel tells u there is life after death. And he is not in heaven. Talking the death is real! So says the book.
  • Gloria Lilly
    The witch cried out and was surprised to see the real Samuel. God did allow Samuel to come and speak to Saul to repeat his message to the disobedient servant. He was able to get the message from the person he sought instead of God. God can make a donkey talk if he wants. This was a rare case but did happen.
  • BSP
    Saul had strayed so far from God that he turned to divination. We must make sure that we trust in God or we may be tempted to turn to uncanny means to find out about a matter.
  • April
    Saul made a BIG BIG mistake, he didn't kill the Amorities, now he's turning to sorcery :-0, Big,Big, No,No!,he was already going to be dealt his consequences, for the Amorities, now Sorcery,in my opinion, NOT very smart, one thing on top of another,I will Admitt here,I at a . fell into thinking if I could do "good" things with Wicca,it'd b ok,I burned all my books and REPENTED,how BLIND I was:(.
  • Irene123
    No, you are being judgmental. It does NOT become 'my' opinion if I don't give scripture - if one takes the time to reference a word or more to find the scriptures. Here are your scriptures: Ps. 68:18; Eph. 4: 8-9. I post to people on here who are concerned with the word of God; not with 'debaters'.

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