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Bible Commentaries

Arno Gaebelein's Annotated Bible

1 Samuel 28

 

 

Verses 1-23

7. Saul and the Witch at Endor

CHAPTER 28

1. David fully joined to Achish (1 Samuel 28:1-2)

2. Forsaken Saul (1 Samuel 28:3-6)

3. The command to seek a witch (1 Samuel 28:7)

4. Saul’s visit to Endor (1 Samuel 28:8-14)

5. Samuel’s solemn message (1 Samuel 28:15-20)

6. Saul’s despair and departure (1 Samuel 28:21-23)

Saul’s final plunge towards his awful end is the main topic of this chapter. Israel had adopted necromancy, asking the dead, and other occult and wicked practices of the Canaanitish nations. They had those who were possessed by demons; the so-called mediums of spiritism and the modern day Psychical research endeavors follow the same paths. Saul had cleared the land of these necromancers. Saul became frightened by the advancing Philistines. But when he asked the Lord there was no answer. Then in despair he sought the woman with the familiar spirit at Endor. Disguised he sneaked away to the woman. And he swears unto her in the Lord’s name to exempt her from all punishment in breaking the law. What presumption! He demands to see Samuel. The woman no doubt had the power to communicate with wicked spirits, who represented themselves as those who had died. It is the same in spiritualism. The messages which are transmitted through the women mediums in that cult do not emanate from the dead at all, but from lying spirits, who impersonate the dead. More than once has this been practically demonstrated. When this woman at Endor saw Samuel, she cried out in fear and at the same time she recognized the king, who told her not to be afraid. (It has been suggested that the word “Samuel” should be Saul in verse 12. The woman, it is said, recognized Saul, which would explain the second half of that verse. However, there is no reason why such a change should be made.) She had not expected the return of Samuel from the realms of death. Was it really Samuel or only an apparition? There can be no doubt whatever that it was Samuel who came up. It was by God’s own power and permission that he appeared to pronounce the final doom upon Saul. And what a message it was! “The LORD is departed from thee and become thine enemy;”--”the LORD hath rent the kingdom out of thine hand;”--”the LORD will deliver Israel with thee into the hands of the Philistines.” Then came the announcement of his death and the death of his sons. “Tomorrow shalt thou and thy sons be with me.” This means that they were to die. Perhaps the more correct rendering is given in the Septuagint version, which reads: “Tomorrow shalt thou and thy sons with thee be fallen.”

Solemn is the record of Saul as given in 1 Chronicles 10:13. “So Saul died for his transgressions which he committed against the LORD, even against the Word of the LORD, which he kept not, and also for asking counsel of one that had a familiar spirit, to enquire of it.” Such was the condition and doom of the people’s king, before God’s king came into power. Here is a striking and significant type of the conditions on the earth before God’s King, our Lord Jesus Christ, the son of David and Israel’s King is enthroned. The kings of the earth and nominal Christendom are disobedient to the Word of God. They like Saul commit transgressions against the Lord and follow seducing spirits and doctrines of demons (1 Timothy 4:1). It is said that a number of European rulers have their own mediums and necromancers. But the kings of the earth defying God and His laws will be dragged lower still. The spirits of demons, working miracles, will yet go forth, during the closing years of this present age, and possess the kings of the earth and the whole world and gather them together to the battle of that great day of God Almighty, the battle of Armageddon (Revelation 16:13-16). This is foreshadowed in Saul’s apostasy and in Saul’s end.

 


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Bibliography Information
Gaebelein, Arno Clemens. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 28:4". "Gaebelein's Annotated Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/gab/1-samuel-28.html. 1913-1922.

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