1Samuel 28

 

1Samuel 28:1–24

Saul Consults a Medium


Outline of Chapter 28:

 

       vv.    1–2        Achish Expects David to Assist him in a War Against Israel

       vv.    3–5        The Stage is Set—the Philistine Army Gathers to War Against Israel

       vv.    6–7        God Will Not Answer Saul, so Saul Seeks out a Medium

       vv.    8–10      Saul Locates a Medium and Assures Her that She Will Not be Punished

       vv.   11–19      The Spiritist Conjures up Samuel from the Dead

       vv.   20–25      Saul Collapses, Understanding His Fate and is Strengthened with Food


Charts, Short Doctrines and Maps:

 

       v.      1           The Wars Between Israel and Philistia up to the Death of Saul

       v.      3           Potential Spiritual Atlas’s for Israel

       v.      4           The Chronological Order of 1Samuel 28–29

       v.      4           How Mount Gilboa Fits into the History of Israel

       v.      6           Various Explanations of Saul and Urim

       v.      6           Has Saul Inquired of Jehovah or Not?

       v.      6           A few Points on a Personal Priest

       v.      6           Various Explanations of Saul and Urim

       v.     12           Why did God allow Samuel to be brought up from the dead?

       v.     14           Should Elohim be Understood as Singular or Plural Here?

       v.     15           Matthew Henry and John Gill’s Position: This is not Samuel; it is a Demon

       v.     15           Why Does God Speak to Saul Through Samuel?

       v.     15           Why Doesn’t Saul Mention Urim or the Priests?

       v.     16           1Samuel 28:16c from the Greek Septuagint

       v.     19           What Can We Learn from Saul’s Mistakes?

       v.     19           Gill Continues to Misinterpret 1Samuel 28

       v.     19           Clarke Presents the Correct Understanding of these Events

       v.     19           The Correct View of These Events

       v.     19           Why We Know this is Really Samuel

       v.     24           Why God the Holy Spirit does not Generally Reveal Historical Facts Otherwise Unknown to the Human Author


Doctrines Covered

Doctrines Alluded To

 

 

Urim and Thummim

Sheol

 

 

Amalekites

 


I ntroduction: History is a very difficult subject because nothing occurs in a vacuum. You cannot simply look at what is happening in this city or that; in this country or that country, and really get a full picture of what is really going on. 1Sam. 28 pulls things together. We have Saul, still not mentally sound, running the country of Israel. We have the natural animosity between the Israelites and the Philistines. We have David estranged from Israel and living in Philistia, 15 miles outside of Gath. We have an allied relationship between David and Achish, king of Gath, occurring. We have the natural suspicions of Philistine soldiers who have fought against David, or at least know of his reputation. We have David outside of Israel, outside of God’s geographical will, marking time while out of fellowship. We might entitle this rest of this book, When Worlds Collide. We simply have a lot of different factors which will come into play and affect everything else.


I would like to issue you a personal challenge at this point: read through this chapter and see what you can pick up on your own. This is a fairly entertaining chapter and one which is fairly easy to understand; so, pick up your favorite translation of this chapter and read away. See what you can get from this chapter. Decide how this chapter can be applied to your life. Decide on what theological points are being made. Determine what God is communicating to you through this chapter. I came up with about 150 pages of exegesis on this chapter, which a buttload of personal application and doctrine. The Hebrew exegesis takes up, perhaps 100 pages of this examination; however, that means that I have an additional 50 pages (or so) or explanatory material, personal application and doctrine. Could you, after reading this chapter, type out 50 pages of notes and application based upon what you read? Could you grasp the theological significance of what is happening in this chapter? Do you grasp even the most basic importance of Samuel being brought back from the dead to speak to Saul? Do you understand the importance of Saul’s final meal? Could you even write 5 pages of explanation, application and theology? God has provided this for you. If your forte is not going to the Word of God and extracting out all that God has for you there, don’t worry. That is not necessarily your job anyway. There are so many churches and pastors who tell their congregation to read their Bibles or to form personal study groups where a dozen or so people get together somewhere and discuss what they think is occurring. Do you know that there is no Biblical authorization to do this? None whatsoever. Now, don’t misunderstand me, the Bible does not list each and every spiritual gift, because, as time goes by, there is a call for additional gifts (some of which are quite the opposite of being spectacular).


Now let me get personal for a moment: I do not have the gift of evangelism; I do not have the gift of witnessing; I do not have the gift of prayer. I have witnessed to others, I do pray, but, I can guarantee you, these gifts are not my forte. This is not a problem for me. I don’t agonize day after day wondering if God will let me witness to more and more people each day—that is simply not my gift. I know the gospel inside and out; I can present the gospel in the most clear and concise way. However, I still do not have the gift of witnessing or evangelism. I know others who know the gospel, can talk to just any person off the street, tell them who Jesus Christ is, and other people will respond to them. I don’t have the gift of being a missionary; even though I love visiting foreign countries, there is nothing in me which would take me to another country, learn their language and customs, and then present the gospel to them in their own language, without imposing the customs I have grown accustomed to. However, what I am good at and what I enjoy doing is carefully Exegeting the Word of God. I enjoy using the many tools at my disposal (which came as a result of hundreds, if not thousands, of men who had diverse gifts) and not only translating the Word of God, but then plumbing the depths of each passage, wringing from it every bit of meaning that I can. God has given me everything that I need in order to do this. I am free of monetary concerns, I am free of logistical concerns; I can simply study and exegete the Word of God and I, quite frankly, enjoy doing it. You may or may not have this gift. However, you have another gift or gifts which is absolutely necessary to the plan of God. Not everyone on a football team is a pulling guard, a blocker, a quarterback, or whatever. If a football team came on the field with 12 place kickers, that coach would be fired so quickly, his head would spin. We all have different positions to play, and figuring out your spiritual gift (if you do not know it) is simply a matter of being filled with God the Holy Spirit and then advancing spiritually.


In mentioning all of that, I have left out the primary story line of this chapter: Saul goes to the witch of Endor for guidance. Even though he has been at odds with Samuel and even though he has been completely outside of God’s will for sometime, he is in a crisis situation and he recognizes just how much of a crisis this situation is. Samuel dies in this chapter, and Saul wants to consult with Samuel. This sets off a series of events along with divine intervention which is both tragic and humorous.

 

Keil and Delitzsch aptly summarize 1Sam. 28: The invasion of Israel by the Philistines, which brought David into so difficult a situation, drove king Saul to despair, so that in utter helplessness he had recourse to ungodly means of inquiring into the future, which he himself had formerly prohibited, and to his horror had to hear the sentence of his own death. Footnote


In the first two verses of this chapter, Achish makes David aware that he must join him war against Israel. The Latin Vulgate, by the way, places these two verses at the end of 1Sam. 27 instead, which is very prudent (however, their division of the rest of this book is a mess).


V. 3 sets us up for this chapter, telling us that Samuel has died and that Saul removed all of the mediums and spiritists from the land. In vv. 4–5, the Philistines gather their army against Israel and Saul is extremely afraid at this point. He tries to contact God, but God will not communicate with Saul (v. 6). Then Saul behaves like a dog returning to his vomit and asks his servants to find him a medium (v. 7).


Saul is apparently recognizable by the garb that he wears, so he slips into a disguise and goes with two men to Endor, where they know of a witch (v. 8). The woman is suspicious and worried for her own safety, but Saul assures her that nothing bad will happen to her for disobeying his law (vv. 9–10). As soon as Saul asks the woman to bring up Samuel, the woman sees Samuel and she screams—also, in a moment of clarity, she recognizes Saul (vv. 11–12). Saul tries to calm her, assuming that she brings dead people back all of the time, while she is scream that she sees God coming out of the earth (v. 13). Saul asks for a description of this one coming out of the earth, and she describes an old man which Saul recognizes as Samuel (v. 14). Then Samuel speaks to Saul, and reiterates what he has told Saul in the past: that God has taken the kingdom from him and given it to David (vv. 15–18). Then he adds, “And you and your sons will be with me tomorrow,” telling Saul that Israel will also be defeated by the Philistines in battle (v. 19). At this point, Saul becomes very despondent, falling on the ground from fear, which apparently also seized his strength (v. 20). The woman first tries to insure her own safety and then she and Saul’s men revive Saul (vv. 21–25).


I should mention that the chapters of 1Sam. 27–31 are not exactly in chronological order. They are presented more as vignettes all from a very short period of time (maybe a week). These chapters overlap in time, as well as being out of order. Therefore, in 1Sam. 31, I will lay out a time line; however, you will appreciate the time line more if you know all the events which have occurred and the various characters who played parts in those events.


I will want you to notice what will happen in this chapter: this is a simply narrative, and, if you read through the Bible in a year, you may have read thorough this chapter a dozen times with 2 minutes for each read. I have nothing against you reading the Bible or memorizing Scripture (or particularly Scriptural principles). However, what you will find in this chapter is a number of applications; a number of times when we can stop and look at what is happening and draw conclusions which relate directly to our lives here and now. You will never find that on a simple read-through. Only a pastor or an exegete can unearth this information and present it all to you.


Another fact of importance when it comes to exegesis: sometimes, the word-by-word, verse-by-verse study of a book may seem tedious. It takes you 5 one-hour classes to get through this chapter or that, when you can read that same chapter in 3 minutes. When it comes to learning the Word of God, it is not a race. You are not looking to be the first person who has learned every doctrine there is to learn. A pastor can dig and dig and dig into almost every chapter of Scripture and come up with great truths from God. When your pastor does so, just go with him, and enjoy the view. Don’t worry that it might take you 3 years to plow through the book of 1Samuel; just enjoy the experience and learn from it.


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Achish Expects David to Assist him in a War Against Israel


These first two verses are really a part of 1Sam. 29, which actually precedes 1Sam. 28:3–25 in time.


Slavishly literal:

 

Moderately literal:

And so he is in the days the those and so gathers Philistines their camps to the war to engage in war in Israel. And so says Achish unto David, “Understanding you understand that with me you go out in the camps—you and your men.”

1Samuel

28:1

And it happened [or, and it came to pass; lit., and it was] in those days the Philistines congregated their camps for war to fight against Israel. Furthermore [lit., and], Achish said to David, “You fully understand that you will go out with me in the camps—you and your soldiers.”

And it came to pass in those days that the Philistines congregated their forces to go to war against Israel. Furthermore, Achish said to David, “Please understand that you and your soldiers will go out with me to where my army is.”


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so he is in the days the those and so gathers Philistines their camps to the war to engage in war in Israel. And so says Achish unto David, “Understanding you understand that with me you go out in the camps—you and your men.”

Septuagint                             And it came to pass in those days that the Philistines gathered themselves together with their armies to go out to fight with Israel. And Anchus said to David, “Know surely that you will go forth to battle with me; and your men.”

 

Significant differences:          No significant differences.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       Samuel had died some time earlier, and people from all over Israel had attended his funeral in his hometown of Ramah. Meanwhile, Saul had been trying to get rid of everyone who spoke with the spirits of the dead. But one day the Philistines brought their soldiers together to attack Israel. Achish told David, "Of course, you know that you and your men must fight as part of our Philistine army." David answered, "That will give you a chance to see for yourself just how well we can fight!" "In that case," Achish said, "you and your men will always be my bodyguards.” [vv. 1–3].

The Message                         During this time the Philistines mustered their troops to make war on Israel. Achish said to David, "You can count on this: You're marching with my troops, you and your men.”

NLT                                        About that time the Philistines mustered their armies for another war with Israel. King Achish told David, “You and your men will be expected to join me in battle.”

TEV                                       Some time later the Philistines gathered their troops to fight Israel, and Achish said to David, “Of course you understand that you and your men are to fight on my side.”


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         At that time the Philistines had gathered their army to fight against Israel. Then Achish said to David, "You need to know that you and your men will be going with me into battle.”

JPS (Tanakh)                        At that time the Philistines mustered their forces for war, to take the fiel against Israel. Achish said to David, “You know, of course, that you and your men must march out with my forces.”


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

ESV                                       In those days the Philistines gathered their forces for war, to fight against Israel. And Achish said to David, "Understand that you and your men are to go out with me in the army.”

HCSB                                    At that time, the Philistines brought their military units together into one army to fight against Israel. So Achish said to David, "You know, of course, that you and your men must march out in the army with me.”

WEB                                      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.

Young's Updated LT              And it comes to pass in those days, that the Philistines gather their camps for the war, to fight against Israel, and Achish says unto David, “You do certainly know that with me you do go out into the camp, you and your men.”


What is the gist of this verse? The Philistines decided to make another move against Israel. Achish tells David that he is expected to be allied with the Philistine army.


These first couple verses seem oddly out of place in this chapter. These are the only two verses which will deal with David and Achish; the rest of this chapter is all about Saul and the witch of Endor. The Latin Bible places these two verses with the previous chapter (which is reasonable and logical—however the Latin Bible then makes a mess out of the chapter divisions which follow).


1Samuel 28:1a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa or va (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

hâyâh (ה ָי ָה) [pronounced haw-YAW]

to be, is, was, are; to become, to come into being; to come to pass

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #1961 BDB #224

Without a specific subject and object, the verb hâyâh often means and it will come to be, and it will come to pass, then it came to pass (with the wâw consecutive). Generally, the verb does not match the gender whatever nearby noun could be the subject (and, as often, there is no noun nearby which would fulfill the conditions of being a subject).

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, at, by, near, on, with, before, in the presence of, upon, against, by means of, among, within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

yâmîym (םי.מָי) [pronounced yaw-MEEM]

days, time of life, lifetime; a specific time period, a year

masculine plural noun with a definite article

Strong’s #3117 BDB #398

hêmmâh (ה ָ ֵה) [pronounced haym-mawh]

they, those; themselves; these [with the definite article]

3rd person masculine plural personal pronoun

Strong’s #1992 BDB #241


Translation: And it happened [or, and it came to pass; lit., and it was] in those days... The author of this book is making certain that it is clear that the events of this chapter fall during the same time period that David is living with his men in Philistia. In fact, we may, simply because of these words (and also because of some other things which will be stated in the next chapter), that this falls within the time frame of the year and four months that David is living in Philistia (1Sam. 27:7). David has made raids on Gentile encampments in that general area, but he has told Achish that he is raiding Israel and Israel’s allies.


This phrase is often used to begin a series of events, related in time to what has just occurred. This helps to explain why we have a chapter division at this point in the Masoretic text.


1Samuel 28:1b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

qâbats (ץ ַב ָק) [pronounced kaw-BATS]

to take, to grasp with the hand; to collect; to congregate

3rd person masculine plural, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #6908 BDB #867

Pelishetîy (י. ש ̣ל) [pronounced pe-lish-TEE]

transliterated Philistines

masculine plural gentilic adjective (acts like a proper noun)

Strong’s #6430 BDB #814

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

machăneh (ה נ ֲח ַמ) [pronounced mah-khuh-NEH]

camp, encampment; the courts [of Jehovah]; the heavenly host

masculine plural noun with the 3rd person masculine plural suffix

Strong’s #4264 BDB #334

lâmed (ל) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

tsâbâ (א ָב ָצ) [pronounced tsawb-VAW]

army, war, or warfare

masculine singular noun with the definite article

Strong's #6635 DB #838

lâmed (ל) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

lâcham (ם ַח ָל) [pronounced law-KHAHM]

engage in battle, engage in war, to wage war; to fight, to battle

Niphal infinitive construct

Strong’s #3898 BDB #535

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, at, by, near, on, with, before, in the presence of, upon, against, by means of, among, within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

Yiserâêl (לֵאָר ׃̣י) [pronounced yis-raw-ALE]

transliterated Israel

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #3478 BDB #975


Translation: ...the Philistines congregated their camps for war to fight against Israel.... The fact that we have a congregation of Philistines means that the five main cities of the Philistines had gathered together to fight against Israel. This suggests that there will be a commanding general from each city (like Achish of Gath) and under them would be additional commanders. This helps to explain what otherwise might appear to be a breakdown in the command structure in 1Sam. 29. Footnote


The Philistines were always looking to break out of their area and to claim more territory for themselves. They continually moved against Israel, to take away land for themselves. This was a typical time when the Philistine armies were gathered to attack Israel. What we don’t find in Scripture is whether there was much of an exchange of land in these wars. Israel did not seem to take Philistine territory; that is, Israel rarely is the aggressor in these skirmishes. However, we have seen many times when Philistia moves against Israel.


I have mentioned just how messy the border between Israel and Philistia was. The Philistines apparently had owned Beth shan for much of its history, even though that is right in the midst of Manasseh. We have a hard time grasping that, as our borders tend to be quite clear, well-marked, and contiguous. However, what we find here is not unlike Israel in modern history. There are a few streets which are considered Palestinian, a few which are considered Israeli; and there are people of the wrong type living in each. The borders of Israel at the time of this writing are relatively fluid, and so it was in the days of Saul and before. In fact, there were apparently whole cities within Israel’s borders which were essentially controlled by heathen (Judges 1:27, for instance).


Philistia’s attacks against Israel appear to be almost an ongoing process without but a few breathing places in the Old Testament. It is very similar to the situation between the Israelis and the Palestinians today. In fact, the word Palestine is derived from the ancient name Philistia.

Now might be a good time to summarize the wars between Israel and Philistia. Bear in mind, these are wars and skirmishes which are recorded in Scripture; there is no reason to assume this is a comprehensive historical list.

The Wars Between Israel and Philistia up to the Death of Saul

Scripture

Time Period

Incident

Outcome

Ex. 13:17

1440 b.c.

This is actually a non-aggression. God specifically led Israel so that they would not come in contact with the Philistines.

God did not want Israel to go to war against the Philistines and become discouraged. The implication is, they were the toughest and meanest peoples in the land.

Judges 3:31

1250 b.c.

We know very little about the first battle between the Jews and the Philistines, except that it seems to be a relatively small skirmish.

Shamgar ben Anath strikes down 600 Philistines with an ox-goad, delivering Israel.

Judges 10:6–7, 13:1 14:1–20

1108–1076 b.c.

There appears to be some intermingling between Israel and the Philistines; the Israelites began to worship the gods of the Philistines. God allows Israel to fall into the hands of the Philistines for 40 years.

God raised up Samson, who was an irritant to the Philistines. Woman easily swayed him (he becomes involved with the Philistine woman early on—Judges 14). These skirmishes escalated until Samson killed 1000 Philistine with the jawbone of an ass (Judges 15:15–16). As a result, Samson functions as a judge in Israel during the time of Philistine rule.

Judges 16

1076–1074 b.c.

What occurred at this time tended to be more of a war between Samson and the Philistines. Delilah coaxed the secret of Sampson’s strength from him, cut his hair, bound him, and took him to Gaza.

At Gaza, Samson’s hair grew back, God the Holy Spirit again empowered him, and he killed thousands of Philistines. This apparently ended Philistine rule (although that is not made clear to us—1Sam. 4:9).

1Sam. 4

1050 b.c.

The Philistines appear to be the aggressors, as their troops are parked in Ephraim near the Manasseh border.

The Israelites go and fetch the Ark as a last ditch effort—sort of as a good luck charm, and the Philistines take this from them.

1Sam. 5–6

1050 b.c.

God makes war against the Philistines.

The Philistines return the Ark to Israel. God also kills some Israelites who treat the Ark in a trivial manner.

1Sam. 7

1048 b.c.

The Israelites gather in Mizpah against the Philistines.

God routes the Philistines and Israel takes backs all of the cities which the Philistines had previously captured.

1Sam. 13:3–7

1045 b.c.

Jonathan strikes a Philistine outpost in Geba.

This act of aggression sets up a war between Israel and the Philistines. Many of the Jews hid themselves because of this.

1Sam. 13:11–14

1045 b.c.

Saul acts foolishly in response to the Philistine troops.

Saul loses his kingdom positionally.

1Sam. 13:15–23

1045-1040 b.c.

The Philistines set up outposts in Israel and strike Israel at will with raiding parties.

Like Jonathan’s strike, these seem to be minor skirmishes, as opposed to an all-out war. They are living on Israel’s land, and taking what they need to live. Israel’s army does not possess weapons with which they can really fight with the Philistines.

1Sam. 14:1–23

1040 b.c.

Jonathan and a young man strike the Philistine camp in Michmash on their own.

Jonathan and this young man miraculously defeat an entire Philistine outpost. God also brought a great earthquake to this area, sending them on the run. Israel’s army then pursued them to the border.

1Sam. 14:47–52

1050–1010 b.c.

During Saul’s era, there apparently were many skirmishes with the Philistines.

It is not clear who was victorious overall. I suspect that this was a give and take situation throughout Saul’s reign.

1Sam. 17

1030 b.c.

The Philistines gather in Socoh of Judah; Goliath, a huge man, challenges any Israelite to fight him—winner take all.

While Saul and all of his men are in a panic, David offers to fight this “uncircumcised Philistine who defies the armies of the living God.” David kills him and the army of Israel is pumped, and they chase the Philistines back to Gath and Ekron.

1Sam. 23:1–13

1025 b.c.

The Philistines besiege the city of Keilah. David takes his refugees down there in response to God’s urging.

David and his men, in their first military endeavor, defeat the Philistines, and deliver Keilah. However, Saul brings his army down, not to assist, but to get David and David flees (finding out that the people of Keilah will turn him in to Saul).

1Sam. 23:15–29

1020 b.c.

Saul is pursuing David in the wilderness of Maon. When he is just about to catch up to him, he hears that the Philistines have made a raid against Israel.

Saul takes his army to deal with this raid. We are not told the outcome of Saul versus the Philistines here; however, it is obvious that it was resolved and Saul was still alive.

1Sam. 28, 31

1005 b.c.

The Philistines gathered in Shunem to fight Israel. Saul is in a panic and he goes to a medium and Saul asks to talk to Samuel. Samuel tells Saul that he will join him the next day.

We pick this battle up in 1Sam. 31 and the Philistines have the army of Israel on the run. They killed Saul and his sons. Israel fled the cities in that area and the Philistines moved into them. The Philistines also hung the bodies of Saul and his sons and the walls of Beth shan (some valiant Jews did take the bodies and burned them).

These dates are given only by way of approximation. Just to get a rough idea when these battles took place. There are many opinions as to the actual time periods here.

Although this may seem like a lot of wars, remember that we are dealing with God’s people and those who are absolutely negative towards the gospel. Therefore, we would expect as many fights between the Philistines and the Jews as we have between the Palestinians and the Jews today. I suspect there were several wars left out of this history.


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1Samuel 28:1c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

âmar (ר ַמ ָא) [pronounced aw-MARH]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

âkîysh (שי.כָא) [pronounced aw-KEESH]

transliterated Achish

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #397 BDB #37

el (לא) [pronounced el]

unto, in, into, toward, to, regarding, against

directional preposition (respect or deference may be implied)

Strong's #413 BDB #39

Dâvid (ד̣וָ); also Dâvîyd (די.וָ) [pronounced daw-VEED]

beloved and is transliterated David

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #1732 BDB #187

yâda׳ (עַדָי) [pronounced yaw-DAHĢ]

to know, to perceive, to acquire knowledge, to become acquainted, to know by experience, to have a knowledge of something; to see

Qal infinitive construct

Strong’s #3045 BDB #393

yâda׳ (עַדָי) [pronounced yaw-DAHĢ]

to know, to perceive, to acquire knowledge, to become acquainted, to know by experience, to have a knowledge of something; to see

2nd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #3045 BDB #393

kîy (י̣) [pronounced kee]

for, that, because; when, at that time, which, what time

conjunction; preposition

Strong's #3588 BDB #471

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

with, at, near, by, among, directly from

preposition (which is identical to the sign of the direct object) with the 1st person singular suffix

Strong's #854 BDB #85

yâtsâ (אָצָי) [pronounced yaw-TZAWH]

to go out, to come out, to come forth; to rise; to flow, to gush up [out]

2nd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #3318 BDB #422

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, at, by, near, on, with, before, in the presence of, upon, against, by means of, among, within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

machăneh (ה נ ֲח ַמ) [pronounced mah-khuh-NEH]

camp, encampment; the courts [of Jehovah]; the heavenly host

masculine plural noun with the definite article

Strong’s #4264 BDB #334


Translation: ...Furthermore [lit., and], Achish said to David, “You fully understand that you will go out with me in the camps... Achish calls David in (which is more likely than Achish going to David directly) and tells him, “You understand that, as a part of this country, you must take part in our military maneuvers.” The idea is, it did not matter whether these attacks were against Israel or anyone else. Furthermore, since Achish thought that David was attacking southern Judah anyway, that expecting David to join him was an easy thing to ask. This obviously puts David in a very tough spot. He is beholden to Achish; it appears as though he has already spent much of his time attacking Israel; and, as an adult male, he has an obligation to defend the country in which he has chosen to live.

 

Gill writes: David, and whereby he was like to be drawn into a dilemma; either to fight against his country, which he could not do conscientiously; or be guilty of ingratitude to Achish, and incur his displeasure, and be liable to be turned out of his country, or treated in a worse manner, even he and his men, to be seized on and cut to pieces by the forces of the Philistines, should he refuse. Footnote Do you see the moral dilemmas which result when you move a little out of God’s will and direction for your life? David went to Philistia originally just to escape Saul’s constant hounding; now he finds himself in the compromised position of being expected to go to war against his own country.


1Samuel 28:1d

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

attâh (הָ-א) [pronounced aht-TAW]

you (often, the verb to be is implied)

2nd person masculine singular, personal pronoun

Strong’s #859 BDB #61

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

îysh (שי ̣א) [pronounced eesh]

men; inhabitants, citizens; companions, soldiers, companions

masculine plural noun with the 2nd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #376 BDB #35


Translation: ...—you and your soldiers.” It is not just David that Achish expect to join him; he expects for David to bring his army with him. At this point, Achish is possibly testing the waters. He expects David to function in a support role; however, it is not clear yet exactly what that role will be. To some, this may appear to be an uneasy alliance between these two. Achish trusts David, as we have been told; but he is not necessarily a fool. Some may think, Achish has come to David and exactly what part David will play in his assault will depend upon David’s reaction. One might assert that Achish is not 100% certain as to how David will react. Achish has presented David with what would normally be expected under the conditions of becoming a part of Philistia.


On the other hand, given David’s response, and what Achish says after that (in the next verse), Achish seems very willing to place a great deal of faith in David. It is more likely that Achish is not feeling David out here, but simply including him in what would be seen as one’s normal duties to one’s country. Recall the last thing that Achish said at the end of 1Sam. 27: “He has made himself odious among his people Israel; therefore, he will become my servant forever.” The same verse tells us that Achish trusts David. So, I don’t think that Achish’s approach is tentative in the least. I think he expects a positive reaction from David and is willing to place great trust in David.


When it comes to authorship, notice that we know David’s motivations in 1Sam. 27:11; we receive no similar peek into the mind of Achish (which results in some speculation on my part).


And so says David unto Achish, “For so you [even] you know [that] which does your servant.”


And so says Achish unto David, “For so a keeper to my head I make you all the days.”

1Samuel

28:2

David answered Achish, “Certainly you [even] you will know that which your servant will [can?] do.”


Then Achish said to David, “Certainly I will make you my bodyguard [lit., a guard with reference to my head] perpetually.”

David answered Achish, “Now you will see what your servant can do.”


Then David said to David, “I will make you my permanent bodyguard from now on.”


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Latin Vulgate                         And David said to Achis, “Now you will know what your servant will do.” And Achis said to David, “And I will appoint you to guard my life forever.”

Masoretic Text                       And so says David unto Achish, “For so you [even] you know [that] which does your servant.” And so says Achish unto David, “For so a keeper to my head I make you all the days.”

Septuagint                             And David said the Anchus, “Thus now you will know what your servant will do.” And Anchus said to David, “So I will make you captain of my body guard continually.”

 

Significant differences:          In the MT, the you is emphatic; in the LXX and the Vulgate, we have now instead. The Hebrew word for you cannot be mistaken for any Hebrew word translated now. It is not completely clear whether there are any actual differences in the second line of this verse. The LXX appears to be an interpretation of the MT.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       David answered, "That will give you a chance to see for yourself just how well we can fight!" "In that case," Achish said, "you and your men will always be my bodyguards.” [a portion of vv. 1–3, which were mixed together].

NAB                                       David answered Achish, “Good! Now you shall learn what your servant can do.” Then Achish said to David, “I shall appoint you my permanent bodyguard.”


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

JPS (Tanakh)                        David answered Achish, “You sure know what your servant will do.” “In that case,” Achish replied to David, “I will appoint you my bodyguard for life.”


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

ESV                                       David said to Achish, "Very well, you shall know what your servant can do." And Achish said to David, "Very well, I will make you my bodyguard for life.”

HCSB                                    David replied to Achish, "Good, you will find out what your servant can do." So Achish said to David, "Very well, I will appoint you as my permanent bodyguard.”

Young's Updated LT              And David says unto Achish, “Therefore—you do know that which your servant does.” And Achish says unto David, “Therefore—keeper of my head I appoint you all the days.”


What is the gist of this verse? David appears to agree to join forces with Achish against the Jews. Achish makes David his permanent bodyguard.


1Samuel 28:2a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

âmar (ר ַמ ָא) [pronounced aw-MARH]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

Dâvid (ד̣וָ); also Dâvîyd (די.וָ) [pronounced daw-VEED]

beloved and is transliterated David

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #1732 BDB #187

el (לא) [pronounced el]

unto, in, into, toward, to, regarding, against

directional preposition (respect or deference may be implied)

Strong's #413 BDB #39

âkîysh (שי.כָא) [pronounced aw-KEESH]

transliterated Achish

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #397 BDB #37

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to, with reference to, as to, with regards to, belonging to

preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

kên (ן ֵ) [pronounced kane]

so, thus; upright, honest; rightly, well; [it is] so, such, so constituted;

properly, an active participle; used primarily as an adverb

Strong's #3651 BDB #485

Together, the lâmed preposition and kên mean therefore, according to such conditions, that being so; certainly, truly.

attâh (הָ-א) [pronounced aht-TAW]

you (often, the verb to be is implied)

2nd person masculine singular, personal pronoun

Strong’s #859 BDB #61

In the Greek and Latin, we have now instead of you.

yâda׳ (עַדָי) [pronounced yaw-DAHĢ]

to know, to perceive, to acquire knowledge, to become acquainted, to know by experience, to have a knowledge of something; to see

2nd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #3045 BDB #393

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

ăsher (ר ש ֲא) [pronounced ash-ER]

that, which, when, who

relative pronoun

Strong's #834 BDB #81

These possibly mean that which; what.

׳âsâh (הָָע) [pronounced ģaw-SAWH]

to do, to make, to construct, to fashion, to form, to prepare

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #6213 BDB #793

׳ebed (ד ב ע) [pronounced ĢEB-ved]

slave, servant

masculine singular noun with a 2nd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #5650 BDB #713


Translation: David answered Achish, “Certainly you [even] you will know that which your servant will [can?] do.” David’s answer appears to be vague and somewhat ambiguous; I assume that this allows the listener to take it in whatever way he chooses to take it. “You certainly know what your servant does.” Now, I base my assessment on this sentence alone. It is my opinion that David really does not know exactly what he will do; he is being plunged further and further into a morally ambiguous situation.


Despite David’s ambiguous response, most theologians to whom I refer roughly agree upon David’s thinking behind his response. Their interpretations differ, at most, by just a shade. Barnes suggests that David is thinking God will somehow bail him out of this mess—that God will keep him from having to fight against his own people. Footnote Matthew Henry supposes Footnote that David is essentially keeping his options open, giving Achish an ambiguous response while he himself tries to figure out his own next move. This way he makes no direct promise to Achish, and keeps his next move dependent upon what Achish says. Keil and Delitzsch tell us Footnote that David has made no distinct promise and that the words your servant are simply a periphrasis for the word I. Keil and Delitzsch further tell us that David is no doubt engaged in a frantic personal prayer with God to help him determine what he should do next. Gill writes: It seems best of all to consider David as quite undetermined, and at a loss what to do, hoping that God in his providence would extricate him out of this difficulty, and direct him what he should do. Footnote I doubt that David is awaiting direction from God; David does not consider God’s will until 1Sam. 30.

 

Clarke and I are most closely aligned; he remarks: This was an equivocal answer; and could only be understood by his succeeding conduct. It might imply what he could do in favor of the Philistines against Israel; or in favor of Israel against the Philistines. Achish understood it in the former sense. Footnote I think that David is certainly buying time with his answer, but the purpose is so that he can figure out what to do next; not so that God can guide him into doing what is proper and right.


Achish does not take this response as vague or noncommital, regardless of the way that David meant it. Achish takes this as an unqualified affirmative response. Achish now has great trust in David, which will be made clear by what he says next.


1Samuel 28:2b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

âmar (ר ַמ ָא) [pronounced aw-MARH]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

âkîysh (שי.כָא) [pronounced aw-KEESH]

transliterated Achish

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #397 BDB #37

el (לא) [pronounced el]

unto, in, into, toward, to, regarding, against

directional preposition (respect or deference may be implied)

Strong's #413 BDB #39

Dâvid (ד̣וָ); also Dâvîyd (די.וָ) [pronounced daw-VEED]

beloved and is transliterated David

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #1732 BDB #187

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to, with reference to, as to, with regards to, belonging to

preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

kên (ן ֵ) [pronounced kane]

so, thus; upright, honest; rightly, well; [it is] so, such, so constituted;

properly, an active participle; used primarily as an adverb

Strong's #3651 BDB #485

Together, the lâmed preposition and kên mean therefore, according to such conditions, that being so; certainly, truly.

shâmar (ר ַמ ָש) [pronounced shaw-MAR]

a keeper of, a guard of, a watcher of, a preserver of

Qal active participle

Strong's #8104 BDB #1036

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to, with reference to, as to, with regards to, belonging to

preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

rôsh (שאֹר) [pronounced rohsh]

head, top, chief, front, choicest

masculine singular noun with the 1st person singular suffix

Strong's #7218 BDB #910

Keeper of my head appears to be euphemistic for personal bodyguard.

sîym (םי ̣) [pronounced seem]

to put, to place, to set, to make

1st person singular, Qal imperfect with the 2nd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #7760 BDB #962

kôl (לֹ) [pronounced kohl]

with a plural noun, it is rendered all of; any of

masculine singular construct with a masculine plural noun

Strong’s #3605 BDB #481

yâmîym (םי.מָי) [pronounced yaw-MEEM]

days, time of life, lifetime; a specific time period, a year

masculine plural noun with the definite article

Strong’s #3117 BDB #398

Together, kôl + yâmîym mean in all time, all the time, perpetually, forever, always.


Translation: ...Then Achish said to David, “Certainly I will make you my bodyguard [lit., a guard with reference to my head] perpetually.” Achish was apparently satisfied with David’s response, even though it sounds noncommital to me; and assigns David probably the most important job he could assign him: he made David his personal bodyguard. This indicates that Achish had great trust in David. Achish will be one of the leaders in this war against Israel (it is not clear if he is the head of this attack or not). We also know that the Philistines have before been routed when their leader is killed (as with Goliath). So Achish has a tremendous amount of trust in David. He is trusting David with his very life. It is unlikely that he suspects David of anything, given the position which he awards him.


You have got to think that this gets David to thinking. He is out of God’s geographical will. He is often out of fellowship. His anointment to become king of Israel was a long, long time ago. This man Achish is putting a great deal of trust in him. He treats David in he way that Saul should have treated him. He trusts David in the way that Saul should have trusted him. Perhaps David is thinking to himself, “Maybe this is where I should be.” David’s ambiguous response may not have been an attempt on his part to do anything but to think this situation through while talking to Achish. One can only imagine the confusion that must be in David’s soul. Saul could have trusted him completely, yet did not; here is a traditional enemy of the Jew, and he trusts David implicitly—with his very own life.


If I was going to teach this chronologically, I would move immediately to 1Sam. 29 and teach that first; and then come back and complete this chapter. The remainder of this chapter chronologically follows 1Sam. 29.


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The Stage is Set—the Philistine Army Gathers to War Against Israel


And Samuel died and so lament for him all Israel. And so they bury him in Ramah and [or, even] in his city. And Saul removed the mediums and the necromancers from the land.

1Samuel

28:3

Samuel had died and all Israel mourned for him. They buried him in Ramah—even his [own] city. Also, Saul had removed the mediums and the necromancers from the land [of Israel].

Saul had died and Israel mourned for him. They had buried him in Ramah, his hometown. Also, Saul had removed the mediums and necromancers from Israel.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And Samuel died and so lament for him all Israel. And so they bury him in Ramah and [or, even] in his city. And Saul removed the mediums and the necromancers from the land.

Peshitta                                 Now Samuel was dead, and all Israel had mourned over him and buried him in Ramtha, in his own sepulchre. And Saul had put away the diviners and the wizards out of the land.

Septuagint                             And Samuel died, and all Israel lamented for him, and they bury him in his city, in Armathaim. And Saul had removed those who had in them diving spirits, and the wizards, out of the land

 

Significant differences:          The Vulgate and Septuagint omit even. The Aramaic has Samuel being buried in his own sepulcher instead of his own city. Although it is possible the one might be confounded with the other in the Hebrew, it is highly unlikely. Those rendering he Peshitta probably were dealing with a faulty or damaged Hebrew manuscript.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       Samuel had died some time earlier, and people from all over Israel had attended his funeral in his hometown of Ramah. Meanwhile, Saul had been trying to get rid of everyone who spoke with the spirits of the dead. [The CEV combined vv. 1–3; primarily to list this verse first].

The Message                         Samuel was now dead. All Israel had mourned his death and buried him in Ramah, his hometown. Saul had long since cleaned out all those who held seances with the dead.

NAB                                       Now Samuel had died and, after being mourned by all Israel, was buried in his city, Ramah. Meanwhile Saul had driven mediums and fortune-tellers out of the land.

NLT                                        Meanwhile, Samuel had died, and all Israel had mourned for him. He was buried in Ramah, his hometown. And Saul had banned all mediums and psychics from the land of Israel.

REB                                       By this time Samuel was dead, and all Israel had mourned for him and buried him in Ramah, his own town; and Saul had banished from the land all who trafficked with ghosts and spirits.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         Meanwhile, Samuel had died, and all Israel had mourned for him and buried him in his hometown Ramah. (Saul had rid the land of mediums and psychics.)


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

ESV                                       Now Samuel had died, and all Israel had mourned for him and buried him in Ramah, his own city. And Saul had put the mediums and the necromancers out of the land.

MKJV                                     And Samuel was dead, and all Israel had mourned him and buried him in Ramah, even in his own city. And Saul had put away the mediums and the spirit-knowers out of the land.

Young's Updated LT              And Samuel has died, and all Israel mourn for him, and bury him in Ramah, even in his city, and Saul has turned aside those having familiar spirits, and the wizards, out of the land.


What is the gist of this verse? We are reminded that Samuel had died and was buried. We are also told that Saul removed all of the necromancers and psychics from the land. This sets us up for what is to come.


1Samuel 28:3a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

Shemûwêl (ל̤אמש) [pronounced she-moo-ALE]

which means heard of El; it is transliterated Samuel

proper masculine noun

Strong’s #8050 BDB #1028

mûwth (תמ) [pronounced mooth]

to die

3rd person masculine singular, Qal perfect

Strong's #4191 BDB #559


Translation: Samuel had died... This is an interesting statement. We know from 1Sam. 25:1 that Samuel had died and was buried in his hometown of Ramah. First of all, even though the wording in these two passages are very similar, they are not so close as to think that one was copied from the other. In other words, we could have two different authors here and we could have the same author. The fact that this information is almost precisely what we find in 1Sam. 25:1 is indicative of two possibilities: (1) we have a different author who is picking up this narrative from Samuel’s death; or (2) Samuel’s death is directly related to what will follow—what Saul has done and what he will do is a result or a natural consequence of Samuel’s death. If we do not find a reasonable connection between Samuel’s death and what follows, then it becomes more likely that the original source is a different author than the original source of the previous chapter (and possibly different from the previous two verses). For those who have read ahead, Samuel’s death and the lack of spiritists in the land is directly related to what is to follow.


In 1Sam. 25:1, Samuel’s death is stated in the imperfect tense, meaning that it probably occurred very close to the time period of the writing of 1Sam. 25. The author is not looking back on something which happened 50 years ago (which would call for a perfect tense); but it is almost as though that passage is written immediately following Samuel’s death, even before the 30 day mourning period is completed. Interestingly enough, the verb for mourning (or grieving) will be in the imperfect tense in both passages. This also implies an ongoing process among the people of Israel. This does not have to occur during the 30 day mourning period. Samuel was a very public figure and he was, in his day, the spiritual atlas for Israel. That is, through his life and his teaching, he provided Israel with an example of righteousness and grace as well as the teaching of righteousness and grace. The people of Israel learned from him and grew spiritually because of him. His life made the spiritual difference for thousands of people.


1Samuel 28:3b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

çâphad (דַפ ָס) [pronounced saw-FAHD]

to lament, to grieve, to wail, to bewail

3rd person masculine plural, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #5594 BDB #704

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to, with reference to, as to, with regards to, belonging to

preposition with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510

kôl (לֹ) [pronounced kohl]

every, each, all of, all; any of

masculine singular construct not followed by a definite article

Strong’s #3605 BDB #481

Yiserâêl (לֵאָר ׃̣י) [pronounced yis-raw-ALE]

transliterated Israel

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #3478 BDB #975


Translation: ...and all Israel mourned for him. There appears to be a 30 day mourning period for any public figure in Israel. This does not mean that at day 31, everyone stops mourning. What happens at this point is, there is a spiritual gap, insofar as most people of Israel are aware. Their spiritual atlas is Samuel and he has gone to be with Jesus Christ; therefore, the people of Israel will continue to grieve his passing simply because there appears to be no replacement for him.


I want to you recognize what has happened in Israel. Saul has killed off all of the priests save one; therefore, we would not expect to see any Tabernacle worship during this time period or any properly offered sacrifices. Although Samuel had established a prophet’s college, we do not seem to find any spiritual atlas who has come out of that college (apart from David, who appears to have observed there for a day or so). No one is aware of anyone writing Scripture, even though their position on divinely inspired writing is difficult to determine (it is safe to assume that almost all Israel saw the books of Moses and Genesis as being of a divine nature—perhaps not as well-defined as our seminaries define Scriptural inspiration today); yet it is unclear whether the other extant writings were viewed in the same way (Joshua, Judges and Ruth; as well as Job). Furthermore, God’s Word was not as ubiquitous then as it is now. The king and the Tent of God probably both had copies of the first five books of Scripture. For this reason, those who have a spiritual stake in Israel will be concerned at the death of Samuel. They are not aware of anyone who can replace him. For his generation—in fact, for several generations—Samuel was the only spiritual leader they had known. Realize that to Israel, a spiritual leader was more important to them than the Word of God. This may be one of the defining characteristic differences between the Age of Israel and the Church Age (as the canon of Scripture had not been completed in the Age of Israel; however, half of it had been).


There are three, maybe four men who are potential spiritual Atlas’s for Israel

Potential Spiritual Atlas’s for Israel

The Man

Why he is not a Spiritual Atlas at this Time

Samuel

Samuel is dead, therefore he no longer has a ministry in Israel. He was the spiritual Atlas of Israel up until his death.

King Saul

Saul would have been an ideal man to lead Israel, politically and spiritually; but he continually disobeyed direct, unequivocal orders from God—not the kind of person who could ever be a spiritual Atlas. Furthermore, Saul, as he got older, was eaten up by mental attitude sins.

David

David is not in Israel, and his spiritual example at this point in time is rather suspect. He is leading his men to attack other groups of people, apart from God’s guidance, and then he lies to Achish king of Gath about it. He is not ready to be a spiritual Atlas.

Abiathar the Priest

Abiathar is under David’s care, and without a public ministry.

Gad the Seer

Gad is actually our best candidate at this time. However, we have only seen him advise David one time in 1Sam. 22:5. He is apparently a writer of history of David and Israel at this time (1Chron. 29:29). He will also figure prominently into David’s life as David’s primary link to guidance from God. However, he never appears to have a very public ministry. He is one of the great unsung heroes of his time; but his interaction, apart from writing history of this time period, was primarily with David rather than with the people of Israel.

Nathan the Prophet

Nathan will not come on the scene until 2Samuel.

Therefore, at this time in history, Israel has no spiritual Atlas. The people mourned for Samuel’s death because they recognized to some degree that his death was a tremendous loss for Israel.


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1Samuel 28:3c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

qâbar (רַבָק) [pronounced kaw-BAHR]

to bury, to heap up a mound

3rd person masculine plural, Qal imperfect with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #6912 BDB #868

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, at, by, near, on, with, before, in the presence of, upon, against, by means of, among, within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

Râmâh (הָמָר) [pronounced raw-MAW]

height, high place; transliterated Ramah

feminine noun used primarily as a proper noun

Strong’s #7413 BDB #928


Translation: ...They buried him in Ramah... Again, this is in the imperfect tense, and my first thought was that this indicates that Samuel was probably very recently buried, with respect to the time frame of the writing of this passage. The perfect tense looks upon an action from the standpoint of being completed; the imperfect tense sees the action as a process. We would tie Samuel’s burial to his death and to the mourning of Israel. Because they are mourning still, his death and burial also seem current. On the other hand, since the loss of Samuel was felt for decades to follow, and because the burial of Samuel is part of the grieving process; this could indicate grief in the soul of the writer of this passage. In either case, the time between Samuel’s death and the recording of this portion of Scripture is probably brief—my guess is less than 30 years (the final form of this passage may have been completed later, however).


1Samuel 28:3d

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, at, by, near, on, with, before, in the presence of, upon, against, by means of, among, within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

׳îyr (רי ̣ע) [pronounced ģeer]

encampment, city, town

feminine singular noun with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #5892 BDB #746


Translation: ...—even his [own] city. Samuel had a group of cities which he traveled to, as a circuit judge; however, he was born in Ramah and eventually made his home in Ramah (recall that he was raised by Eli in the Tabernacle of God). Because he chose Ramah as his home city, he was buried there as well.


1Samuel 28:3e

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

Shâûwl (לאָש) [pronounced shaw-OOL]

which is transliterated Saul; it means asked for

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #7586 BDB #982

çûwr (רס) [pronounced soor]

to cause to depart, to remove, to cause to go away; to turn away from

3rd person masculine singular, Hiphil perfect

Strong's #5493 (and #5494) BDB #693

ôwb (בא) [pronounced ohbv]

a water bottle or a skin-bottle; a medium, ventriloquist demon, familiar spirit, demon spirit, one who speaks through a person

masculine plural noun with the definite article

Strong's #178 BDB #15

You may wonder what’s the connection between a water bottle and a medium? The connection is that one thing is filled up with another. A wine skin is filled with wine; a medium is filled with a demonic spirit. Now, you may wonder about this ventriloquist demon thing, so let me quote directly from Gesenius: Footnote [the] LXX almost always render by ἐγγαστριμύθοι, ventriloquists, and correctly; because ventriloquists among the ancients commonly abused this art of inward speaking for magical purposes. Footnote

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

yîdde׳ônîy (י̣נֹע ׃̣י) [pronounced yid-de-ģoh-NEE]

demon-possessed person, necromancer, psychic, spiritist; the demon that possesses a person

masculine plural noun with the definite article

Strong’s #3049 BDB #396

min (ן ̣מ) [pronounced min]

from, off, out from, out of, away from, on account of, since, than, more than, greater than

preposition of separation

Strong's #4480 BDB #577

erets (ץ ר א) [pronounced EH-rets]

earth (all or a portion thereof), land

feminine singular noun with the definite article

Strong's #776 BDB #75


Translation: ...Also, Saul had removed the mediums and the necromancers from the land [of Israel]. This is quite interesting, as this portion of v. 3 appears to be tied to what has already been found. Samuel has died, and Saul, as it will appear to be clear, is sort of lost. He has no one to guide him in anyway. This will also become more clear as this chapter unfolds. However, one thing that Saul has done is he has removed all of those who were demon-possessed or demon-influenced from the land. We are not given a time frame for this, and it is possible and reasonable that Saul chose to do this when Samuel died—perhaps as a tribute, perhaps in the mistaken notion that he had become Israel’s spiritual leader. Another possible motivation is that Saul was bribing God to some degree. In any case, Saul did remove anyone who claimed to have a connection with the spirit world from Israel; and it is going to be clear that this is a decision that he will regret to some degree, as he will desire some guidance for himself.

 

We have two categories of spiritists in this verse. The first is the ôbôwth (תבֹא) [pronounced ohb-VOHTH], known as the ventriloquist-demon. In case you have any doubts about this, read through the Hebrew exegesis above, where you will be given documentation. Strong's #178 BDB #15. This appears to be a person who allows a demon to speak through them; to use their vocal cords to speak. I would not be too surprised if there are a number of those in the tongues movement who allow this—and very likely, this is true of some of their leaders. We are not persuaded in Scripture to fall into any sort of a trance state nor to allow our voices to be used by anyone other than ourselves.

 

The second category of spiritist is called yîdde׳ônîy (י̣נֹע ׃̣י) [pronounced yid-de-ģoh-NEE]. Whereas the owb demon has some control over the vocal chords of the spiritist, this person seems to have an even more intimate relationship with a demon—his mind and/or his body is controlled or partially controlled by a demon. Saul removed all spiritists from Israel, which are summed up by these two categories. In making that statement, I should say that all does not really mean all. There were probably a handful of real spiritists and fakers who remained in Israel. The removal of these types is mandated in Ex. 22:18 Lev. 19:31 20:6, 27 Deu. 18:10–11 (actually, their execution is what is mandated).


With regards to psychics and necromancers, it appears that in those days, as well as today, there are those who were fakers; those who knew how to manipulate others. These pick up subtle clues from their marks and manage to give them what they want to hear. There also appear to be those who have some actual contact with the demon world—something which was allowed to come to a head during the time of our Lord. I think that it is reasonable today that most of these are fakers; however, there are possibly some who do have some limited contact with the demon world. I hesitate to offer any sort of mechanics here as to the manner of communication between a spiritist and a demon. There are possibly those who allow their vocal cords to be used by demons, or their entire bodies to be used by demons. I don’t pretend to even have a clue as to the percentages involved here or to even to make the unqualified statement that there must be these kinds of possessed people out there. People commit crimes in a state of mental illness that certainly sounds like demon possession or demon influence (e.g., the woman who killed her five children here in Houston). However, one must be careful not to take what we observe and superimpose it upon Bible doctrine.


Application: Does this mean that we need to run all of the fortune tellers and palm readers out of town? No, as we have no such mandate for this dispensation. This was what was expected of Israel when Israel was a theocracy. However, those days are gone now; Israel is not a theocracy and neither are we. We cannot get God’s plan for Israel mixed up with God’s plan for the United States (or whatever country you reside in). There are parallels, to be sure; but not everything is a direct carryover.


I have, on several occasions, made mention of the Jewish way of thinking—that they would write with reference to topics rather than with reference to chronology. That is, a topical approach would trump a chronological approach. This is what we find here. Samuel’s death was mentioned sometime ago; however, it is pertinent to this chapter—to the events which take place. That Saul removed the spiritists from Israel—this probably took place over several years early in his reign—we can only speculate as to the time that this took place—but that he did remove the spiritists is topically related to this chapter. That the Philistines were ready to war against Israel and that Israel is in a dire situation—that is topically relevant. So, the beginning of this chapter sets us up for all that is going to come to pass in 1Sam. 28. This appears to be a separate literary unit. That is, the writer of this portion of Scripture inserts important pieces of information, some of which we are already aware from what we have read, and some things that we are not aware of. However, this information is presented to us as if we do not have a complete background to the events which are going to take place. That being said, bear in mind, as these events unfold, who would be the person who actually observed these events. Samuel is dead, so he did not record these events. David is miles away, so he did not record these events. The remaining priest is with David at this time, so he did not record these events. Saul and Jonathan and Saul’s other sons will all die, so they could not have recorded these events (besides which, Saul’s sons did not witness any of these events). So, what we have in this chapter is a fascinating bit of history, but recorded probably as a separate literary unit by someone who probably did not record much else by way of Scripture. The most logical person to record this information is one of Saul’s trusted aides who goes with him. In any case, bear this in mind as we continue examining this particular series of events.


And so are gathered Philistines and so they come in and so they encamp in Shunem. And so collects Saul all Israel and so they encamp in the Gilboa.

1Samuel

28:4

The Philistines are gathered; they enter [Israel] and they bivouac in Shunem. Saul also gathers all Israel and they bivouac in Gilboa.

Achish gathers the Philistines and they enter into Israel and bivouac in Shunem. Saul also gathered all Israel and they bivouacked in Gilboa.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so are gathered Philistines and so they come in and so they encamp in Shunem. And so collects Saul all Israel and so they encamp in the Gilboa.

Peshitta                                 And the Philistines gathered themselves together and came and encamped in Shechem; and Saul gathered all Israel together, and they encamped in Gilgal.

Septuagint                             And the Philistines assemble themselves and they come and encamp in Sonam; and Saul gathers all the men of Israel and they encamp in Gelbue.

 

Significant differences:          Very minor differences. The LXX adds in ...the men of..., which could be for clarification. The Peshitta has the Philistines gathering in Shechem, rather than Shunem.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       The Philistines went to Shunem and set up camp. Saul called the army of Israel together, and they set up their camp in Gilboa.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         The Philistines assembled and camped in Shunem. Saul also assembled the whole Israelite army, and they camped at Gilboa.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

HCSB                                    The Philistines came together and camped at Shunem. So Saul gathered all Israel, and they camped at Gilboa.

Young's Updated LT              And the Philistines are gathered, and come in, and encamp in Shunem, and Saul gathers all Israel, and they encamp in Gilboa,...


What is the gist of this verse? The Philistines gathered all of their troops in Shunem and the Israelites gathered their troops in Gilboa.


1Samuel 28:4a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

qâbats (ץ ַב ָק) [pronounced kaw-BATS]

to be gathered, to be collected, to be congregated, to congregate selves

3rd person masculine plural, Niphal imperfect

Strong’s #6908 BDB #867

Pelishetîy (י. ש ̣ל) [pronounced pe-lish-TEE]

transliterated Philistines

masculine plural gentilic adjective (acts like a proper noun)

Strong’s #6430 BDB #814


Translation: The Philistines are gathered;... We probably have a gathering of Philistines from all Philistine cities and territories; therefore, Achish is there with his equals from the other four Philistine cities. Each leader gathered a huge army to devastate Israel.


The language in this particular verse is very specific. The Philistine armies will originally gather in Aphek (1Sam. 29:1). From there, they will come in to Shunem and make camp there before their assault against Israel. So, to put some of these events in order:

The Chronological Order of 1Samuel 28–29

1.    Achish elicits David’s aid in 1Sam. 28:1–2.

2.    David goes with Achish to Aphek, where the Philistine armies first gather (1Sam. 29:1–2).

3.    The Philistine generals reject David as an ally (1Sam. 29:3–10).

4.    David and his men return to their camp in Ziklag (1Sam. 29:11).

5.    Simultaneously, the Philistine armies gather together in Shunem (1Sam. 28:4). David goes south while the Philistine armies go north.

6.    Saul goes to the witch of Endor (1Sam. 28:7–25).

When we get to 1Sam. 31, I will become more specific, following the armies of David, Saul and the Philistines along a time line.


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1Samuel 28:4b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

bôw (א) [pronounced boh]

to come in, to come, to go in, to go, to enter

3rd person masculine plural, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #935 BDB #97

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

chânah (ה ָנ ָח) [pronounced khaw-NAW]

to bivouac, to camp, to encamp in [or, against], to set up camp

3rd person masculine plural, Qal imperfect

Strong's #2583 BDB #333

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, at, by, near, on, with, before, in the presence of, upon, against, by means of, among, within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

Shûwnêm (ם̤נש) [pronounced shoo-NAYM]

transliterated Shunem

proper noun; location

Strong’s #7766 BDB #1002


Translation: ...they enter [Israel] and they bivouac in Shunem. When it says that this Philistine army goes in; they are going into Israel; they are crossing over the border from Philistia and they set up camp in Shunem. This appears to be the typical way that the Philistines functioned. They would move into a city in Israel or a city near Israel and bivouac. They may have gone up along the sea coast and come in the valley of Jezreel from the west, or there is a road they may have used, which begins at Aphek (see 1Sam. 29:1). Footnote When the Philistines moved their armies to a point to the deep interior of Israel, this indicated to all of Israel that they were ready to attack.


Shunem is the generally accepted reading; however, the Aramaic has Shechem. Shunem is a city in Issachar (Joshua 19:18), whose name is also found on a list of cities conquered by Thutmose III (1490–1436 b.c.) as well as in the Amarna letters. This is the first mention of Shunem since its listing in the book of Joshua. We will find it named two more times in Scripture. David has a nurse, Abishag, a Shunammite (which is the feminine form of Shunem). Adonijah makes an unsuccessful attempt to marry her, in order to give more validity to his claim to the throne (1Kings 2:13–22). Elisha also will stay in Shunem (2Kings 4:8). Footnote In roughly the same spot is the modern village of Sulem, which is along a mountain range known as Little Hermon.


What I have found interesting about the Philistine attacks is, they usually move northward into northern Israel, rather than westward across Judah (which is closer to the primary Philistine cities). It is possible that the Philistines found those in the north easier prey than those in Judah. It is very likely that they already dominated certain cities in northern central Israel as well.

 

Edersheim writes: The reason why the scene of battle was laid so far north, distant alike from the cities of the Philistine princes and from the residence of Saul, was, in all probability, that the Philistines now wished to obtain such undoubted supremacy in the north of Palestine as they seem to have virtually possessed in the south. A great victory in Jezreel would not only cut the land, so to speak, in two, but give them the key both to the south and to the north. With this view, then, the Philistines chose their gourd. Where the great plain of Esdraelon shelves down to the Jordan it is broken in the east by two mountain-ranges. On the southern side of the valley, which is here about three miles wide, are the mountains of Gilboa, and at their foot, or rather spur, lies Jezreel, where the spring which gushes down is gathered into a pool of considerable size. On the northern side of the valley is Little Hermon, and at its foot the rich village of Shunem (the “twin rest”). Behind and to the north of Little Hermon runs another narrow branch of the plain. On its other side is the mountain where Endor lay amidst most desolate scenery; and in one of its many limestone caves was the scene of Saul’s last interview with Samuel. Footnote


1Samuel 28:4c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

qâbats (ץ ַב ָק) [pronounced kaw-BATS]

to take, to grasp with the hand; to collect; to congregate

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #6908 BDB #867

Shâûwl (לאָש) [pronounced shaw-OOL]

which is transliterated Saul; it means asked for

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #7586 BDB #982

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

kôl (לֹ) [pronounced kohl]

every, each, all of, all; any of

masculine singular construct not followed by a definite article

Strong’s #3605 BDB #481

Yiserâêl (לֵאָר ׃̣י) [pronounced yis-raw-ALE]

transliterated Israel

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #3478 BDB #975


Translation: Saul also gathers all Israel... As king, Saul’s primary duty is to protect Israel. That means, when it comes to aggressive actions on the part of other nations, it was up to Saul to gather an army and respond to these actions. Therefore, Saul had no choice but to gather his army (here, called all Israel) and set up camp opposite the Philistines.


You may wonder what it means when Saul gathers all Israel. This does not mean that he gathers up every man, woman and child and moves next to the Philistines. However, what is implied is, Saul gathers up as many men as he possibly can. This apparently is not just his standing army; and it is not his standing army plus some of their friends. Saul gathered as many men as he could possibly gather. Given this action and what is to follow indicates that he is more fearful in this battle than in any of those which preceded.


1Samuel 28:4d

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

qâbats (ץ ַב ָק) [pronounced kaw-BATS]

to take, to grasp with the hand; to collect; to congregate

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #6908 BDB #867

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, at, by, near, on, with, before, in the presence of, upon, against, by means of, among, within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

Gilebbô׳a (-עֹל̣) [pronounced gil-BOH-ahģ]

transliterated Gilboa

proper noun; location

Strong’s #1533 BDB #162


Translation: ...and they bivouac in Gilboa. Saul needs to move his army into place as well. So he takes them to Gilboa. Interestingly enough, Gilboa is only mentioned with respect to this battle and its aftermath, and nowhere else. (1Sam. 28:4 31:1, 8 2Sam. 1:6, 21 21:12 1Chron. 10:1, 8). One of my maps places Mount Gilboa in northern Manasseh, which borders Issachar. Mount Gilboa and Shunem would be approximately 5 or so miles apart (Keil and Delitzsch have the two villages as being 2 hours apart Footnote ), which is in keeping with the positioning of the troops. They are clearly visible to one another (1Sam. 28:5). The deep valley of Jezreel lies between them. Footnote ZPEB tells us Footnote that this mountain range is 8 miles long and from 3 to 5 miles wide, south-southwest of the Sea of Galilee. Its highest point is listed as 1696 ft. above sea level, although there is a relatively steep 2000 ft. drop on its eastern side, toward the Jordan River. On the western side, we have a more gradual drop to the Plain of Esdraelon, which is 300 ft. above sea level. It is on this western side where Saul and his sons will lose their lives (which we will cover in greater detail in 1Sam. 31). The modern name for Mount Gilboa today is Jebel Fukuak; however, its name is preserved in the village of Jelbon. Footnote


There were actually a number of famous battles and incidents which took place near Mount Gilboa, none of which actually name Mount Gilboa. I will list these below: Footnote

How Mount Gilboa Fits into the History of Israel

Scripture

Incident

From secular sources

Thutmose III of Egypt fought the Canaanites in nearby Megiddo. Circa 1460 b.c.

Judges 4–5

The Torrent of Kidron, which flows down from Mount Gilboa, was instrumental in Deborah’s defeat of Sisera.

Judges 6:33

The Midianites, the Amalekites and others gathered themselves in the valley of Jezreel to meet Gideon. Jezreel is on the western spur of Gilboa.

1Kings 18:45

2Kings 9:15

Jezreel was the summer capital of the house of Omri. Jezreel was about 200 ft. above the plane and overlooked the Way of the Sea (the trade route between Egypt and Damascus) as well as the highway which ran between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River.

2Kings 9

Jehu murdered Joram of Israel and his mother Jezebel, and he pursued and murdered Ahaziah of Judah as well.

2Kings 23:29

2Chron. 35:20–27

Pharaoh Neco came through nearby plain of Megiddo, with intentions of attacking the Assyrians. King Josiah took it into his own hands to meet Neco and was killed by Neco’s archers. 608 b.c.

So even though Mount Gilboa is not mentioned by name in these battles, there is a lot of history which takes place at its foot.


If you read these last few chapters in 1Samuel carefully, you might become confused—Saul is said to gather the troops by a spring in Jezreel (1Sam. 29:1b) and he is also said to be at the foot of Mount Gilboa (1Sam. 31:1a). Achish and the Philistines are said to gather in Aphek (1Sam. 29:1a) but they are also said to gather in Shunem (1Sam. 28:4). These accounts, if you read them carefully, sound as though they might be histories recorded by different people simply because, even though we are dealing with the same series of incidents, each chapter seems to be a separate, almost isolated, incident. Jezreel is at the foot of Mount Gilboa, so Saul calls for his troops to gather there. The Philistines initially begin to gather their troops in Aphek, in order to see what they were working with. Once they were organized, then they marched into Israel and encamped in Shunem. When we get to 1Sam. 31, I will put all of the incidents of the final few chapters of 1Samuel into chronological order (which they are not as they stand).


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And so sees Saul camp of Philistines and so he is afraid and so trembles his heart greatly.

1Samuel

28:5

Saul saw the camp of the Philistines and he was afraid and his heart greatly trembled.

When Saul saw the encampment of the Philistines, he became afraid and his heart was pounding from anxiety.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so sees Saul camp of Philistines and so he is afraid and so trembles his heart greatly.

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

Septuagint                             And Saul saw the camp of the Philistines, and he was alarmed, and his heart was greatly dismayed.

 

Significant differences:          None.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       Saul took one look at the Philistine army and started shaking with fear.

NLT                                        When Saul saw the vast Philistine army, he became frantic with fear.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         When Saul looked at the Philistine army, he was very afraid-terrified.

JPS (Tanakh)                        When Saul saw the Philistine force, his heart trembled with fear.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

ESV                                       When Saul saw the army of the Philistines, he was afraid, and his heart trembled greatly.

Young's Updated LT              And Saul sees the camp of the Philistines, and fears, and his heart trembles greatly.


What is the gist of this verse? Saul became extremely afraid when he saw the camp of the Philistines.


1Samuel 28:5a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

rââh (ה ָאָר) [pronounced raw-AWH]

to see, to look, to look at, to view, to behold; to perceive, to understand, to learn, to know

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #7200 BDB #906

Shâûwl (לאָש) [pronounced shaw-OOL]

which is transliterated Saul; it means asked for

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #7586 BDB #982

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

machăneh (ה נ ֲח ַמ) [pronounced mah-khuh-NEH]

camp, encampment; the courts [of Jehovah]; the heavenly host

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #4264 BDB #334

Pelishetîy (י. ש ̣ל) [pronounced pe-lish-TEE]

transliterated Philistines

masculine plural gentilic adjective (acts like a proper noun)

Strong’s #6430 BDB #814


Translation: Saul saw the camp of the Philistines... Saul looks out from the mountains of Gilboa across the valley of Jezreel below, to the village of Shunem. He can see the Philistines gather more and more troops. With every few hours, there seem to be more and more Philistine battalions enter into this area and find a spot for themselves and camp.


As you get older, you lose some of your fearlessness. Saul, as a young man, was a fearless warrior and he was a great general. However, as he got older and crazier, he no longer had enough inner strength to deal with this kind of pressure. First, instead of gathering his general fighting force, Saul gathers up all of the men he possibly can. Still, when he looks at the Philistines, he is still taken aback. Apparently, Achish has gathered a significant group of Philistines.


1Samuel 28:5b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

yârê (א ֵר ָי) [pronounced yaw-RAY]

to fear, to fear-respect, to reverence, to have a reverential respect

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #3372 BDB #431


Translation: ...and he was afraid... Saul looks out at these Philistines from afar and he is struck with great fear. It is strong and Saul has no control over it. Some men use this fear to push their adrenalin. However, Saul instead is rendered almost incapable of functioning.


There is an odd thing that occurs in one’s life. Children and even teenagers are fearless. They do not feel as though anything can harm them. However, as a person gets older, his fears tend to increase. Saul is no exception. He began is a very good military leader, exhibiting little or no fear; but in this impending war, Saul will exhibit strong pre-battle jitters.


1Samuel 28:5c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

chârad (ד ַר ָח) [pronounced chaw-rahd]

to tremble, to be terrified, to be frightened

3rd person singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #2729 BDB #353

lêb (בֵל) [pronounced laybv]

heart, inner man, mind, will, thinking

masculine singular noun with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #3820 BDB #524

meôd (דֹא ׃מ) [pronounced me-ODE]

exceedingly, extremely, greatly, very

adverb

Strong’s #3966 BDB #547


Translation: ...and his heart greatly trembled. Today, we might use the phrase, his heart was pounding. The idea is, Saul is unable to think logically through all of this. He had no dying grace; and he knew he was dying. At the end of this chapter, Saul will be struck immobile by his fear.

 

Matthew Henry comments at this point: Had Saul kept close to God, he needed not have been afraid at the sight of an army of Philistines; but now that he had provoked God to forsake him his interest failed, his armies dwindled and looked mean, and, which was worse, his spirits failed him, his heart sunk within him, a guilty conscience made him tremble at the shaking of a leaf. Now he remembered the guilty blood of the Amalekites which he had spared, and the innocent blood of the priests which he had spilt. His sins were set in order before his eyes, which put him into confusion, embarrassed all his counsels, robbed him of all his courage, and produced in him a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation. Note, Troubles are terrors to the children of disobedience. Footnote Although we really do not know what was in Saul’s mind at this point, apart from being afraid for his own life, what Henry suggests here is reasonable. Saul may be doing an inventory of his own shortcomings and personal rebellion against God; and he may be simply paralyzed with fear for his own life.


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God Will Not Answer Saul, so Saul Seeks out a Medium


And so asks Saul in Yehowah and had not answered him Yehowah, either in dreams or in the lights [or, Urim] or in the prophets.

1Samuel

28:6

So Saul inquired of [lit., in, before, in the presence of] Yehowah but Yehowah did not answer him, either by dreams, by Urim or by the prophets.

So Saul inquired of Jehovah, but Jehovah did not answer him—not by dreams, by Urim or by the prophets.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Latin Vulgate                         And he consulted the Lord, and he answered him not, neither by dreams, nor by priests, nor by prophets.

Masoretic Text                       And so asks Saul in Yehowah and had not answered him Yehowah, either in dreams or in the lights [or, Urim] or in the prophets.

Peshitta                                 And when Saul inquired of the Lord, He did not answer him, either by dreams or by fire or by prophets.

Septuagint                             And Saul inquired of the Lord; and the Lord answered him not by dreams, nor by manifestations, nor by prophets.

 

Significant differences:          None, except that those who translated Urim were uncertain as to its meaning. The translation from the Latin Vulgate reads priests, which is really not a bad translation, given that David will consult Abiathar the priest about God’s will in 1Sam. 30:7. You may say that Saul killed all of the priests of Nob, which he certainly did (apart from Abiathar, who is with David). However, this does not mean that Saul has not hired a personal priest to travel with his troops (we find that sort of thing occurring in the final few chapters of the Judges). You may object to this, and say, Saul is against God; he is certainly not going to hire a Levite to act as his personal priest. Saul is irrational. Do not think that everything he does is going to make sense. Saul’s greatest ally is David and Saul has spent years trying to kill David.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       So he asked the LORD what to do. But the LORD would not answer, either in a dream or by a priest or a prophet.

NLT                                        He asked the Lord what he should do, but the Lord refused to answer him, either by dreams or by sacred lots [Hebrew, by Urim] or by the prophets.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         He prayed to the LORD, but the LORD didn't answer him through dreams, the Urim, or prophets.

JPS (Tanakh)                        And Saul inquired of the Lord, but eh Lord did not answer him, either by dreams or by Urim or by prophets.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

The Amplified Bible                When Saul inquired of he Lord, He refused to answer him, either by dreams, or by Urim [a symbol worn by the priest, when seeking the will of God for Israel], or by the prophets. [Prov. 1:24–30.]

Updated Emphasized Bible   Then Saul inquired of Yahweh, but Yahweh did not answer him—not by dreams, nor by the lights [or, Urim], nor by prophets.

HCSB                                    He inquired of the LORD, but the LORD did not answer him in dreams or by the Urim or by the prophets.

Young's Updated LT              And Saul asks at Jehovah, and Jehovah has not answered him, either by dreams, or by Urim, or by prophets.


What is the gist of this verse? Saul did inquire of God what was going to happen and what it was he should do, but God would not answer Saul—not in dreams, not by the Urim, and not by the prophets.


1Samuel 28:6a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

shâal (לַאָש) [pronounced shaw-AHL]

to ask, to petition, to request, to inquire; to demand; to question, to interrogate

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #7592 BDB #981

This is a very common word, and often used to inquire of God (1Sam. 22:13 23:2, 4 30:8) but not exclusively (1Chron. 10:13). This is also the word upon which Saul’s name is based, and the two used together is alliterative (1Sam. 14:37 28:6).

Shâûwl (לאָש) [pronounced shaw-OOL]

which is transliterated Saul; it means asked for

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #7586 BDB #982

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, at, by, near, on, with, before, in the presence of, upon, against, by means of, among, within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

YHWH (הוהי) [pronunciation is possibly yhoh-WAH]

transliterated variously as Jehovah, Yahweh, Yehowah

proper noun

Strong’s #3068 BDB #217

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

lô (אֹל or אל) [pronounced low]

not, no

negates the word or action that follows; the absolute negation

Strong’s #3808 BDB #518

׳ânâh (הָנָע) [pronounced ģaw-NAWH]

to answer, to respond; to speak loudly, to speak up [in a public forum]; to testify; to sing, to chant, to sing responsively

3rd person masculine singular, Qal perfect with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #6030 BDB #772

YHWH (הוהי) [pronunciation is possibly yhoh-WAH]

transliterated variously as Jehovah, Yahweh, Yehowah

proper noun

Strong’s #3068 BDB #217


Translation: So Saul inquired of [lit., in, before, in the presence of] Yehowah but Yehowah did not answer him,... Samuel was no longer there, and had not been with Saul for some time, so Saul apparently gathered some people around him who supposedly spoke for God. That is, he had places to go, or people he could call upon, for this information. Whether he gathered these people to himself or whether he inquired of his troops to see if they knew someone is unknown. As we examine the various types of revelation below, we will go into greater detail.


Before we go on, we should clear up an apparent discrepancy. In 1Chron. 10:13–14, we read: So Saul died for his trespass which he committed against Jehovah, because the word of Jehovah, which he did not keep; and also because he asked counsel of a medium, making an inquiry; and he did not inquire of Jehovah. Therefore, He killed him, and turned the kingdom over to David, the son of Jesse. This should lead us to ask...

Has Saul Inquired of Jehovah or Not?

There are several possible explanations to help explain what this verse means in the light of 1Chron. 10:13–14.

1.    What we have is, for a long time, Saul ignored God, did not seek revelation from God, and, when God revealed His will to Saul, Saul disobeyed God’s will. So, for an extended period of time, Saul did not inquire of God at all. He just did whatever he felt was right. As Matthew Henry put it, Seek the Lord while he may be found; call upon Him while He is near; for there is a time when he will not be found.* There was a time when Saul could have called upon God, but that time is long past.

2.    Matthew Henry offers a second explanation: He had forfeited the benefit of all the methods of enquiry. Could he that hated and persecuted Samuel and David, who were both prophets, expect to be answered by prophets? Could he that had slain the high priest, expect to be answered by Urim? Or could he that had sinned away the Spirit of grace, expect to be answered by dreams? No. Be not deceived, God is not mocked.** When Saul had access to God, he ignored God’s unequivocal directives (e.g., he did not kill all of the Amalekites).

3.    There is another explanation; Saul may have only come to God while out of fellowship, which seems very likely. In fact, Saul has probably been out of fellowship for a decade or more. So, from Saul’s point of view, he was approaching God and asking for guidance. However, from God’s point of view (which is much of what we have in the book of Chronicles), Saul had not approached Him. You cannot approach God out of fellowship. If I have iniquity in my heart, He will not hear me (Psalm 66:18).

4.    Conclusion: even though I believe that #3 is the correct explanation here, that does not mean that there are not elements of the previous two explanations which figure in here.

     Isa. 55:6 is quoted by Matthew Henry, Commentary on the Whole Bible; from e-Sword, 1Sam. 28:1–6.

**     Ibid. Henry is quoted Gal. 6:7.


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1Samuel 28:6b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

gam (ם ַ) [pronounced gahm]

both...and, furthermore...as well as, also...also, that...so; either...or (but not used disjunctively)

when gam is repeated

Strong’s #1571 BDB #168

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, at, by, near, on, with, before, in the presence of, upon, against, by means of, among, within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

chălôwm (םלֲח) [pronounced khuh-LOHM]

dream

masculine plural noun

Strong’s #2472 BDB #321


Translation: ...either by dreams,... When it came to specific responses from God concerning this situation or that, there were several ways which God used to speak to someone. General doctrinal principles could be gotten from Scripture, which was limited in those days, both in size and availability; so God allowed man to communicate with Him in other ways. One method by which God spoke to man was through his dreams, something which we find a great deal of in the book of Genesis, where revelation was limited to some historical records (which make up the book of Genesis). We find revelatory dreams to be rather rare elsewhere in Scripture (although God did use dreams on occasion).


Recall that Saul is out of fellowship, all day long; so that he goes to bed out of fellowship with God. Therefore, there is no reason to think that Saul would hear anything from God by dreams.


1Samuel 28:6c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

gam (ם ַ) [pronounced gahm]

both...and, furthermore...as well as, also...also, that...so; either...or (but not used disjunctively)

when gam is repeated

Strong’s #1571 BDB #168

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, at, by, near, on, with, before, in the presence of, upon, against, by means of, among, within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

ûwrîym [םי .רא) [pronounced oo-REEM]

lights; revelations and is transliterated Urim

masculine plural noun with the definite article

Strong’s #224 BDB #21


Translation: ...by Urim... If you will recall, there was a method by which the priest could determine certain pieces of information from God—he had this vest with stones that represented each tribe of Israel and Urim and Thummim, whose exact nature is disputed (see the Doctrine of Urim and ThummimPDF version, found in Deut. 33:8). I don’t know what Saul did here. I suspect that Saul had a personal priest or a set of personal priests (which is very likely, as this seemed to be common in the book of the Judges). I don’t know if he seized the priest’s vesture or not when he executed the priests in Nob; or if he had a copy made (recall that the one priest who escaped Saul—Abiathar—probably had the Ephod—see the discussion in 1Sam. 23:9). In any case, Saul probably had the real thing or an imitation—this is why Urim is mentioned. In either case, God chose not to answer him by this.


This certain bears a few points of discussion.

A few Points on a Personal Priest

Any man who functions as a personal priest to Saul, similar to what we find at the end of the book of the Judges, can’t really be a man with direct ties to God. Therefore, can’t he just make something up when Saul asks him a question? In other words, it tells us here that Saul received no information by Urim, which implies that he had a personal priest there—why didn’t this priest simply make up an answer for Saul?

1.    Even a priest who is out of fellowship will have his life on the line with Saul.

2.    We do not know exactly the relationship between God and such a priest; although it makes sense that God did not actually communicate directly with a personal priest.

3.    A priest may have offered sacrifices and counseled with Saul, but when asked a direct question about God’s plans for Saul’s future, he could always say, “I’m not getting any information about that.”

4.    Finally, recall the prophet Balaam who was asked to curse Israel. God apparently did not allow him to do this. We do not know whether God had ever actually spoken through Balaam before; but God would not allow Balaam to curse Israel (Num. 22–24).

My point is, even if Saul did have a personal priest and prophet, they were unable to give him any information about this particular war against the Philistines.

This particular verse, where God does not answer Saul by dreams or by Urim indicates that he probably did have a personal priest (or several) whom God would not communicate with.


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Now, it is possible that God has not answered Saul by Urim because this is in the control of Abiathar, who is with David. So Saul does not have access in this way to God. Furthermore, when Saul will complain to Samuel that God is not listening to him, he says that God will not speak to him by dreams or by prophets only; he does not mention priests nor does he mention Urim and Thummim (1Sam. 28:15). This might simply indicate that Saul has no personal access via the Ephod; however, I believe Saul is simply making two groups of God’s access to him—either directly or through a man of God. Prophets would include all men of God, including priests. Although no priest is ever directly alluded to with respect to Saul, apart from this verse, I believe that Saul had a priest who traveled with him, along the lines of those priests from the tribe of Levi that we saw in the book of Judges (for a time, this would have been Ahijah, who apparently did have the Ephod of God—1Sam. 14:3, 18). Whether Ahijah was still with him or not is never told to us; however, the Ephod of God was clearly kept in Nob for awhile, and then taken by the hand of Abiathar to David (1Sam. 21:9 22:20 23:6–9). This suggests to me that this phrase—So Saul inquired of Jehovah, but Jehovah did not answer him—not by dreams, by Urim or by the prophets—is not simply a reference to Saul and his lack of communication with God over the past few days, but really extends back several years if not a decade or two.


Although I have given you what I believe is the correct explanation, there are several other theories about Saul and the Urim.

Various Explanations of Saul and Urim

Explanation

Commentary

Saul had a personal priest—Ahijah—who, apparently, had been unable to guide Saul for some time (say, for at least the previous decade). Although this priest did have the Ephod of God, he returned to Nob with the Ephod at some unspecified time.

The idea is, this verse applies to Saul and his relationship to God over the past decade or so. He had a priest—possibly a legitimate priest—but he never properly utilized the priest, and, at some point in time, the priest was unable to provide him with any direction. In 1Sam. 14:18, Saul calls for Ahijah and the Ephod, but he never asks a question. After this point in time, Saul probably asks the priest about where David is, so that he can kill David—something which the priest could not provide information (as David is God’s anointed). When it became apparent that Ahijah was of no real use to him, Saul sent him back to Nob and probably had him executed later on as well.


If Saul took on another private priest after this time, we are not told.

Saul added a private priest to his entourage who was a yes man just like the rest of those under him. This priest had made his own Ephod.

Many Levites, who had old sin natures just like anyone else, offered themselves out as personal priests. We find this same thing occur at the end of the book of the Judges. The design of the ephod was in Scripture, so a priest would be able to construct another ephod, as Abiathar had the original ephod with him.

Saul did not have a priest, a personal priest or the Ephod; therefore, God could not answer him in that way.

It just seems odd that the author of this portion of Scripture would comment that God had not answered Saul by Urim if that option was not even available to him. That this is mentioned implies that Saul had some sort of access. 1Sam. 14:3, 18 indicate that Saul did have some access to the Ephod of God; at least for awhile.

After killing off all of the priests save one, Saul set up another priesthood to function in the Tabernacle.

However, I don’t see Saul as having done this; furthermore, this sudden influx of Philistine soldiers does not give Saul the luxury to make to many trips away from his camp. Saul was probably frustrated with the priests for two reasons: (1) they did not help him find David (I cannot back this up with Scripture); and (2) he assumed that they were on David’s side and helped him out without informing him (1Sam. 21–22).

The remaining Levites established a priesthood from who remained and resumed the function of the Tabernacle. They also constructed a new Ephod. Footnote

This makes a great deal of sense. You have men dedicated to the ministry of the Tabernacle and suddenly, after a mass execution, they would not all become farmers or ranchers (they have no land which belongs to them). So they established a new priesthood. Now, whether Saul went to them for guidance is questionable. First, he does not have a lot of time; secondly, if Saul went to Nob and killed all of the priests, these new priests are going to extremely wary of Saul and his visits (and Saul might not go back to the priest city himself, given what he had done). This tells us that there was a dual high priesthood for awhile, which is what is suggested by 2Sam. 8:17 15:35 19:11 20:25 1Chron. 6:8, 53 16:39 18:16, early in David’s reign as king (they are actually never called High Priests, as there was only to be one High Priest). What appears to be the case is, a new high priest line was established in the line of Eleazar, beginning with Zadok. This seems to be tentative at first, since no one is referred to during this time period as the High Priest. The priests appear to have congregated in Gibeon (see 1Chron. 16:39) following Saul’s mass execution of them at Nob in 1Sam. 22.


Note, that this explanation appears to make the most sense if we understand God’s non-communication for Saul to be of a recent nature; that is, 1Sam. 28:6 refers to Saul in his final days. However, if we take this verse to apply to Saul over the past decade or so, then we do not need to subscribe to this theory.

Since we are not given the details here, this is simply educated speculation. Given that Saul did wipe out the priesthood, and that there was only one remaining priest who was with David, what is said here must be explained.

I want you to understand that all of this is simply speculation. There are no contradictions here that I am attempting to iron out; there is no real problem with this passage. I am simply trying to fill in some blanks in God’s non-communication with Saul that this passage does not address.


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Saul probably had a personal priest; however, there is no reason to believe that this priest had the ability to hear God. A priest who could speak with God would not work directly for Saul. What we have here, at best, is an illegitimate priest hired by Saul. God certainly would not speak to Saul through this priest.


1Samuel 28:6d

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

gam (ם ַ) [pronounced gahm]

both...and, furthermore...as well as, also...also, that...so; either...or (but not used disjunctively)

when gam is repeated

Strong’s #1571 BDB #168

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, at, by, near, on, with, before, in the presence of, upon, against, by means of, among, within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

nâbîy (אי̣בָנ) [pronounced nawb-VEE]

spokesman, speaker, prophet

masculine plural noun with the definite article

Strong's #5030 BDB #611


Translation: ...or by the prophets. Finally, Saul probably traveled with prophets or was able to get prophets from Samuel’s old school of prophets. There were possibly those who advertised themselves as such and Saul grabbed them up. However, God would not speak to Saul through these prophets. We already know that God can choose to limit His revelation, even through prophets whose spirituality is in question (recall Balaam in Num. 22–24). So, whomever Saul had at his disposal was not revealing any information either because God gave him no information to reveal.


We have talked about this passage in comparison to what we find in 1Chron. 10:13–14. Since God has not answered Saul at all, we may reasonably suppose that Saul is out of fellowship. The reason that God does not answer Saul is, God does not hear Saul. Now you may think, God hears everything that is said; and, in one way, you are correct. However, when it comes to His own, His children, God only listens when we are in fellowship. Therefore, God will only answer Saul when Saul prays to God while in fellowship. The fact that Saul receives no answer from God whatsoever indicates that Saul is out of fellowship and has no intention of getting back into fellowship.


How can I explain this? God hears everything we say and yet does not hear some things. Have you ever called out to your child to come into the house when he is playing and he ignored you? He may have heard your voice; he possibly even heard the words that you said; but, he behaves as though you have said nothing whatsoever.


Application: There are several things to note here: first of all, your prayers and calls for help may go no higher than the ceiling if you are out of fellowship. There is abundant Scripture to document this truth. The second thing to note is, there is a point at which it is too late. Saul has gotten to a point where, it is too late for him. He is playing out the last few moves of a chess game, and he will have few, if any choices. He can lose this way or he can lose that way; but those are his only choices. Finally, why should God speak to someone who does not want to hear Him? Why should God speak to anyone who will not listen to Him? Do you know why so many people pray to God, but apart from that, they have little or no spiritual activity in their lives? That is, they don’t go to church, they don’t give regularly, they don’t study he Bible—but they do pray. They pray because they want God to hear what they have to say, but they aren’t really all that interested in anything that God might have to say to them. “These are my problems, God; these are my difficulties. Now you fix them, okay?” It doesn’t matter if 90% of their problems they caused themselves; they want God to fix them, and then for God to leave them alone until the next set of problems comes along.


And so says Saul to his servants, “Seek for me a woman of a mistress of a [ventriloquist] demon and I would go to her and I would inquire in her.”


And so say his servants unto him, “Behold, a woman of a mistress of a [ventriloquist] demon in Endor.”

1Samuel

28:7

So Saul said to his servants, “Seek out for me a woman [who] possesses [or, a mistress of] a [demonic] spirit that I may go to her and inquire of her.”


His servants said to him, “Listen, [there is] a woman [who] possesses [or, a mistress of] a [demonic] spirit in Endor.”

Saul then said to his servants, “Seek out a woman for me—one who possesses a demonic spirit, that I may go to her and ask her questions.”


His servants answered him, saying, “Look, there is a woman in Endor who possesses and demonic spirit.”


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so says Saul to his servants, “Seek for me a woman of a mistress of a [ventriloquist] demon and I would go to her and I would inquire in her. And so say his servants unto him, “Behold, a woman of a mistress of a [ventriloquist] demon in Endor.”

Peshitta                                 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.” And his servants said to him, “Behold, there is a woman who has a familiar spirit at Endor.”

Septuagint                             Then Saul said to his servants, “Seek for me a woman who has in her a divining spirit, and I will go to her and inquire of her.” And his servants said to him, “Behold, a woman who has in her a diving spirit at Ændor.”

 

Significant differences:          The relationship between the woman and the spirit (or demon) appear to be different; however, I believe that is simply the interpretation given by the translator of both the LXX and the Peshitta. Therefore, there are no significant differences between the Greek and Hebrew here.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       Then Saul told his officers, "Find me a woman who can talk to the spirits of the dead. I'll go to her and find out what's going to happen." His servants told him, "There's a woman at Endor who can talk to spirits of the dead.”


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         Saul told his officers, "Find me a woman who conjures up the dead. Then I'll go to her and ask for her services." His officers told him, "There is a woman at Endor who conjures up the dead.”

JPS (Tanakh)                        Then Saul said to his courtiers, “Find me a woman who consults ghosts, so that I can go to her and inquire through her.” And his courtiers told him that there was a woman in En-dor who consulted ghosts.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

The Amplified Bible                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. His servants said, Behold, there is a woman who is a medium at Endor.

HCSB                                    Saul then said to his servants, "Find me a woman who is a medium, so I can go and consult her." His servants replied, "There is a woman at Endor who is a medium.

MKJV                                     And Saul said to his servants, Seek me a woman who is a medium, so that I may go to her and inquire of her. And his servant said to him, Behold, there is a woman who is a medium, at Endor.

Young's Updated LT              And Saul says to his servants, “Seek for me a woman possessing a familiar spirit, and I go unto her, and inquire of her;” and his servants say unto him, “Lo, a woman possessing a familiar spirit in En-dor.”


What is the gist of this verse? Since Saul was unable to contact God, he decided to contact the dead. He asks his servants if they knew of a medium, and they knew of one who resided in Endor.


1Samuel 28:7a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

âmar (ר ַמ ָא) [pronounced aw-MARH]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

Shâûwl (לאָש) [pronounced shaw-OOL]

which is transliterated Saul; it means asked for

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #7586 BDB #982

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to, with reference to, as to, with regards to, belonging to

preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

׳ebed (ד ב ע) [pronounced ĢEB-ved]

slave, servant

masculine plural noun with a 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #5650 BDB #713


Translation: So Saul said to his servants,... Saul depended upon his men a great deal. In fact, it is amazing that he inspired them to follow him, given his mental state and his neediness. However, we have already seen that Saul could very cleverly put a spin on this situation or that. He was able to either twist the actions that he has done (as he did when he offered animal sacrifices instead of Samuel) or he could twist what others did (he made a convincing argument that David had turned Saul’s own son against him). This would indicate that he could lead, even though he was in a questionable mental state. Furthermore, sometimes such a state can work in favor of a man in a leadership role—his servants assume that he will kill them if he gets mad at them. Not that this is the proper way to wield authority; but it is apparently working for Saul.


One of the popular topics today is putting a spin on this or that event; or giving an interpretation to an event in such a way to give it meaning that it may or may not have. We have newscasters who say they present the news from the no-spin zone. Saul was a man who put a spin on the things which happened. David was seen to be a seditionist who led his own son Jonathan astray, even though these facts are untrue. Saul was able to put a spin on the things which Jonathan and David did in order to make this interpretation of the events reasonable.


Now, earlier, I suggested that Saul had a personal priest, something which was not unknown to those times. His dependence upon his men here supports that viewpoint. That is, Saul does not have to go outside his circle of followers in order to get what he feels he needs to get. Saul has surrounded himself by yes-men. Therefore, their views are going to be clouded and limited. Later on, we will get a list of David’s mighty men, and the first few times I read that I simply assume that this immortalized those men who served under him. However, what strikes me now as I read this list (2Sam. 23:8–39) is that these are men of very different origins and backgrounds. David chose very diverse men to be under him that gave him a broader view of this world. Now, there were times that those under David took matters into their own hands and acted outside of David’s will—on the other hand, there are at least two instances when prophets walked up to David, the King of Israel, poked him in the chest, and said, “King David, you are wrong; you are out of fellowship; you have acted against God.” Can you imagine someone doing that to King Saul? Except for Samuel, for whom Saul had build up a great deal of respect over the man years (and Samuel also installed Saul as king), people could not walk up to Saul and challenge him. Even when his own son Jonathan withstood him over the matter of David’s allegiance, Saul would have none of it. In fact, Saul did not just publicly berate his own son, he almost killed him (1Sam. 20:25–34).


Application: If you have a possession with some authority, and there are people who are under you, cultivate your relationship with those with whom you tend to disagree; or, hire people who have a background which is not the same as the others who are under you. If you are unable to deal with disagreements or differing opinions, then you should not have a position of authority. This, of course, does not mean that every idea verbalized by those of a different viewpoint is right; nor does it mean that every view espoused by your yes men is wrong. However, if you have a position of authority, you should utilize the resources that you have—those under you are not simply extensions of your volition, but they have thoughts and ideas and opinions which may benefit you and the organization for which you all work. You have to get over yourself and you have to have enough humility to honestly listen to others; you need to have enough humility to give some thought to their opinions.


1Samuel 28:7b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

bâqash (שַקָ) [pronounced baw-KAHSH]

seek, search out, desire, strive after, attempt to get, require, demand, ask, seek with desire and diligence

2nd person masculine plural, Piel imperative

Strong’s #1245 BDB #134

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to, with reference to, as to, with regards to, belonging to

preposition with the 1st person singular suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510

îshshâh (ה ָֹ ̣א) [pronounced eesh-SHAWH]

woman, wife

feminine singular construct

Strong's #802 BDB #61

ba׳ălâh (הָלֲע-) [pronounced bah-ģuh-LAW]

mistress; possessed of, endued with [a demonic spirit]

feminine singular construct

Strong’s #1172 BDB #128

Ba׳ălâh is the feminine form of ba׳al (which we may recognize as baal). Ba׳al properly means owner, lord, husband. Strong’s #1167 BDB #127. Therefore, the apparently disparate meanings assigned here to ba׳ălâh are, in fact, reasonable. Footnote

ôwb (בא) [pronounced ohbv]

a water bottle or a skin-bottle; a medium, ventriloquist demon, familiar spirit, demon spirit, one who speaks through a person

masculine singular noun

Strong's #178 BDB #15


Translation: ...“Seek out for me a woman [who] possesses [or, a mistress of] a [demonic] spirit... Saul asks his men about a specific type of woman—a woman who is the mistress of or a possessor of a ventriloquist demon. This means, a demon can speak through the woman.


Saul has no way to tell what is going to happen and he is very apprehensive about the recent events which have taken place. Many people today respond as he does—they seek spiritists, those who read Tarot cards, those who read palms or tea leaves. There are some who seek a modern-day prophet, although, at the time that I write this, there are very few of those.


One of the most humorous aspects of the modern-day tongues movement is, in a Holy Ghost-filled church (I am being facetious here), almost everyone there speaks tongues, but few if any of them are prophets. Despite the fact that they go to 1Cor. 14 and lift out a few verses to support their confused theology, they ignore that Paul urges them to desire the gift of prophecy over the gift of tongues. Instead, all new initiates into their program is encouraged to lean their head back and to start warbling (in order to get the gift of tongues). Nobody corners them and encourages them to start prophesying. Do they really want a new convert, someone they can sort of lead and boss around, start using the gift of prophesy and turn things around—that is, become their boss, their chief? Hell no! They don’t want their new converts to become their leaders! They don’t want their new initiates to start calling the shots from day one. Furthermore, there is the additional problem that, the gift of prophecy is just too damned easy to verify. Someone could stand up and say, “Hey, guys, I’m a prophet.” But when his prophecies did not come to pass, that would pretty much eliminate him from the line of prophets (and, of course, someone might go to the Old Testament and find the passage where such a man should be killed—a charismatic is going to be quite mixed up on dispensations—that automatically is a part of being a charismatic). As you can see, charismatics cannot go along with all of 1Cor. 14—they cannot encourage members of the flock to prophesy, because that opens up a whole set of problems that they are ill equipped to deal with. However, getting their initiates the babble, well, that is much easier to do. First off, their little superiority trip of leading the convert into tongues remains in tact. No matter gibberish the convert spouts out, everyone is going to be excited and praise him for speaking in tongues, since, no matter what it is, automatically they will simply classify it as the tongues of angels—Holy Ghost language. There is no verification that can be done at this point. No one can say, “The guy is just babbling” because babbling from a sincere and earnest believers mouth has to be how angels talk. You see? There can be no room for arguing here. No matter how lame the babbling sounds, no one can dispute it. Prophesy, on the other hand, is just too easy to dispute. “Charley Brown said such-and-such was going to happen, but it die not. Charley Brown must be a false prophet. It says here in the Law of Moses that we have to put these false prophets to death.” A charismatic church is looking to build up its congregation; they can’t be killing them off.


I have digressed. It is interesting that Saul has requested a woman who possesses a spirit. We do not have any particular reason why this is, and we could speculate. There is no reason to think that possessions are confined to women; there is no Biblical basis for that. Maybe Saul wanted to feel like he could handle whatever happened; and going to a woman was easier for him to handle? Maybe going to a woman was more comforting to Saul—sort of like going to a mother figure. Again, all of this is speculation, as we do not get to look inside the mind of Saul for his motivation in this respect. A possible explanation is, those who possessed a spirit were typically women during that time.


1Samuel 28:7c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

hâlake ( ַל ָה) [pronounced haw-LAHKe]

to go, to come, to depart, to walk; to advance

1st person singular, Qal imperfect with the voluntative hê suffix

Strong’s #1980 (and #3212) BDB #229

The voluntative is alluded to in Owen’s, but I can’t find this terminology in any of my Hebrew grammar books, nor in Zodhiates or any other Hebrew source whatsoever. This is probably the jussive. What we have here is the letter hê as a suffix to the verb. I am going to tentatively go with the idea of being compelled by oneself and use the words let, I must, I could, I would. The next verb will also have a voluntative hê suffix.

el (לא) [pronounced el]

unto, in, into, toward, to, regarding, against

directional preposition (respect or deference may be implied); with the 3rd person feminine singular suffix

Strong's #413 BDB #39


Translation: ...that I may go to her... My guess is, to the more discerning of his men, Saul’s apprehension was perspicuous. However, to others, his desire to speak to a medium was not that far out of the ordinary (if you knew someone and they wanted to speak to someone who threw Tarot cards, you would not necessarily blow a gasket). Footnote But Saul is making it clear that he wants to find someone in touch with the spirit world to speak to. As we will see, it is Samuel to whom Saul wants to speak. Since he is dead, Saul hopes to contact him by someone who can speak with the dead.


I should point out, at this time, is there is no end run around God. God has decreed that there is no contact between the living and the dead, apart from Jesus arising from the grave (Luke 16:20–31). Therefore, going to a psychic is not going to allow you to chat with anyone who has passed on. God will allow Samuel to speak to Saul, indicating that such a thing is possible. However, this is only with God’s permission; and note, the end result is not something which Saul will find to be a warm and fuzzy experience. Saul will become extremely despondent as a result of this incident.


1Samuel 28:7d

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

dârash (שַרָ) [pronounced daw-RASH]

to seek, to make inquiries concerning, to consult, to investigate, to study, to follow, to inquire

1st person singular, Qal imperfect with the voluntative hê suffix

Strong’s #1875 BDB #205

This is a different verb that is found in v. 6 and more often used for inquiries made of demon-influenced people (1Sam. 28:7 2Kings 1:2 Isa. 8:19 19:3).

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, at, by, near, on, with, before, in the presence of, upon, against, by means of, among, within

a preposition of proximity with the 3rd person feminine singular suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #88


Translation: ...and inquire by her.” Saul is in a tight spot and he has questions about what is to occur. I suspect that he has this gnawing sense of dread hanging over him. I have been in a couple situations where it feels as though the ceiling is caving in on me, and I have experienced this terrific sense of dread as well. Footnote

 

Jamieson, Fausset and Brown nicely summarize this: Overwhelmed in perplexity and fear, he yet found the common and legitimate channels of communication with Heaven shut against him. And so, under the impulse of that dark, distempered, superstitious spirit which had overmastered him, he resolved, in desperation, to seek the aid of one of those fortune telling impostors whom, in accordance with the divine command (Lev. 19:31 20:6, 27 Deut. 18:11), he had set himself formerly to exterminate from his kingdom. Footnote


What Isaiah said is applicable here: When they say to you, "Consult the spirits of the dead and the spiritists who chirp and mutter," shouldn't a people consult their God? Should they consult the dead on behalf of the living? (Isa. 8:19).


Application: What do we do today? We have a personal problem, we have some decisions to face, we find ourselves at a crossroads. We might pray like crazy, but is God going to speak to us so that we unequivocally hear him? Will it be audible? Will it be clearly spoken to us in our hearts? Will we get an answer in the mail? One thing that should be clear to you is that God does not audibly speak directly anyone today. When someone talks to you about God coming to them in a dream or about Jesus Christ dropping in on them while they are watching Lavern and Shirley, Footnote and then sits down on the couch and chats for a bit; most of us have the sense to reduce the number of social events where we come into contact with such people. Knowing this, what do we do? Knowing that we cannot go to spiritists; knowing that we cannot depend upon the human viewpoint of others; knowing that God is not going to come to us in a dream and speak to us; that we will not audibly hear His voice—what do we do? We have a more certain word of prophecy. We have the Word of God and the filling of the Spirit. My personal experience: I am over 50 years old as I write this; since I have become a Christian, and since I got with doctrine (the daily study of God’s Word) over 20 years ago, I have never faced a decision which I could not make. I have dealt with several life-altering decisions, and, in retrospect, it was surprising how easily everything proceeded and how easily I made whatever decisions needed to be made and how everything fell right into place. Now, don’t misunderstand me—I have not made a series of right decisions and I have not always acted correctly and without sin. I am not some great holy saint who just walks a little closer to God than you do, and, therefore, my life and the decisions pertaining thereto are pretty damned easy. It is quite the opposite. I have made bad decisions. I have sinned knowingly. I have made mistakes. I have made errors in judgment. However, not one time have I ever gone left, when I should have gone right; and been able to point to God and say, “Hey, God, you should have guided me better at this point.” God’s guidance has always been at my disposal. All failures with respect to the decisions I have made rest securely on my own shoulders; every mistake I have made has never once been attributable to God’s unclear guidance. Not one time, can I complain to God, saying, “Why didn’t you guide me more carefully along this path?” And, not one time has God come to me and spoken audibly; not one time has God sent me a telegram from heaven; I have not experienced any other-worldly experiences which guided me in my life. God is the Creator of all things; God rules over the universe. Do you think He finds it difficult to guide you in your day-to-day life? The biggest obstacle in making correct decisions in your life is you. If you name your sins to God, every time that you sin; if you get under a good pastor-teacher who teaches the entire Word of God, line by line, verse by verse; then making choices in your life will not be difficult. Sure, you may choose against God’s plan—we all do—but that will be a choice you knowingly make; you will not make the wrong choice because God’s directives are unclear.


Application: By the way, there is no shortcut here. You don’t get to ignore the teaching of God’s Word day after day after day, and then, when you find yourself in a jam, run to a Christian counselor and ask him to make all of your decisions for you. We believers are not put on this earth to run the lives of other believers. When Onesimus the slave ran away from Philemon his master, Paul did not order Onesimus to return to his master, nor did Paul order Philemon to receive Onesimus as a freeman. Paul asked Onesimus to return to his master Philemon, not knowing what Philemon would do. Paul asked Philemon to free Onesimus but he did not order him to do so. Paul writes: I did not want to do anything without your consent, that your goodness should not be by compulsion, but of your own free will (Philemon 14). This is Paul the Apostle. He had great authority over the churches in the Roman empire. Had he wanted to, he could have given orders to anyone to do just about anything. Instead, Paul put the issues before the slave Onesimus and his owner Philemon, and left it up to them to make the right decisions. Paul could have gotten another believer or two to go along with Onesimus in his return, to make certain that he did return to Philemon. Then these believers could have spiritually intimidated Philemon in order to see that Paul’s wishes were granted (i.e., that Onesimus was freed and returned to Paul). God has given you free will, and God gives you the option of using your free will again and again. Your choices are meaningful. When you learn enough doctrine to guide to, and then when you make the right decision, based upon the doctrine in your soul, without being coerced by members of your church, this is divine good. You have just socked away more retirement money for your eternity. Now, if several members of your church coerce your decisions, and then you make these decisions because you are too embarrassed to do otherwise, this means nothing in eternity—not for you and not for them. You will not be rewarded nor will they.


Application: If you are in a church where the decisions of your life are made because you are coerced by members of your church, then you are in the wrong church. Here is something which very few Christians understand: yes, it is wrong to sin, and you should not sin. However, if you choose not to sin simply because of social coercion, then no one is better off. It is not the job of the church to see that fewer sins are committed, and to do this by any means possible. Let’s say the pastor of your church Xeroxed off a list of sins, handed them to Charley Brown, and then instructed Charley Brown to follow you around to make sure you did not commit these sins, is everyone better off? Hell no! However, we have churches which do this all the time—it’s called discipling; and those churches which are a little more worldly might call it mentoring. Again, it is not the job of any church to reduce the number of sins committed in this world by any means possible.


Application: So you don’t go overboard, there is some behavior which is monitored by the church, by the deacons, at the discretion of the pastor. There are some overt sins which should not be tolerated in the church. For instance, a man openly carried on an incestuous relationship with his father’s wife (it apparently was not his own mother)—Paul heard about this from a long distance away, so the activity was carried on overtly. The Corinthians should have removed the man and his mistress from the church; they did not, so Paul had to deliver them over to Satan for the sin unto death (1Cor. 5:1–5). A church should not tolerate those who commit overt sins in church or whose behavior in church makes it clear that they are embracing teachings which are contrary to the church. To be more particular, a church cannot condone behavior which compromises the learning of doctrine. For instance, there might be a prostitute who quietly shows up and takes in doctrine, and no one really knows her background. However, there might be a prostitute who shows up and hands out business cards—well, that is a problem. There might be a person in church who, outside the church, is very vocal about his own opinions and they are often in opposition to the church. However, in church, he is willing to sit and listen quietly. That is not a problem. However, if this same person is standing up in the middle of the service voicing his opinion, or he harumphs continually when the pastor says something he does not like, or, if he stands out in the foyer handing out literature which is in opposition to the teaching of the church, then this man needs to go. The key to separation is, does this person compromise doctrine? Does this person keep others from learning the Word of God? Now, I may find Charley Brown to be offensive and I may not personally like Charley Brown and I might even be able to find things which Charley Brown does which are sinful (if I follow him around enough). However, if I can sit down next to Charley Brown and, in fellowship, learn the Word of God in church, then I have no reason to ask for him to be removed from the church. Let’s see if I can phrase this in another way—it is not the severity of the sins which this or that person commits when outside of the church; it is a matter of, does that person consistently keep others from learning the Word of God. And, so there is no misunderstanding, you do not get to remove someone from church just because you don’t like him. There are a lot of people I don’t particularly wnat to hang with after church; that does not mean that we cannot attend church together at the same time and all take in a maximum amount of doctrine.


You may question how could Saul outlaw witchcraft, and now he desires to speak with a witch; but there is no consistency in sin. Do not expect Saul to be logical and do not expect him to be consistent. In fact, inconsistency marks Saul’s character. He would realize on one day how wrong he has been to pursue David’s life; and on the next day, he would be urging his men to go out and hunt for David. When a person is out of fellowship, they will lack consistency.


1Samuel 28:7e

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

âmar (ר ַמ ָא) [pronounced aw-MARH]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

3rd person masculine plural, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

׳ebed (ד ב ע) [pronounced ĢEB-ved]

slave, servant

masculine plural noun with a 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #5650 BDB #713

el (לא) [pronounced el]

unto, in, into, toward, to, regarding, against

directional preposition (respect or deference may be implied); with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #413 BDB #39


Translation: ...His servants said to him,... Note the difference in the prepositions. When Saul speaks to his servants, we find the lâmed preposition. When his servants speak to him, we find the el preposition. The latter preposition indicates respect or deference. Now go back to v. 7c: Saul is going to go unto this demon possessed woman. He is expressing respect for this woman, despite the fact that he removed these types from Israel.


Earlier, I spoke of having a diverse group of individuals under you—those who are not yes men. That is, obviously, not the case for Saul. No one speaks up and says, “You outlawed spiritists; you yourself know that it is wrong to go to them.” Saul wants to speak to a spiritist, and his underlings simply want to go along with whatever he wants.


Application: If those who are under you are yes men, then you will have no one to guide you in the proper direction when you go astray.


1Samuel 28:7f

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

hên (ן̤ה) [pronounced hayn]

lo!, behold, observe, look, look here, get this, listen, listen up

interjection

Strong’s #2005 BDB #243

îshshâh (ה ָֹ ̣א) [pronounced eesh-SHAWH]

woman, wife

feminine singular construct

Strong's #802 BDB #61

ba׳ălâh (הָלֲע-) [pronounced bah-ģuh-LAW]

mistress; possessed of, endued with [a demonic spirit]

feminine singular construct

Strong’s #1172 BDB #128

Ba׳ălâh is the feminine form of ba׳al (which we may recognize as baal). Ba׳al properly means owner, lord, husband. Strong’s #1167 BDB #127. Therefore, the apparently disparate meanings assigned here to ba׳ălâh are reasonable.

ôwb (בא) [pronounced ohbv]

a water bottle or a skin-bottle; a medium, ventriloquist demon, familiar spirit, demon, spirit, one who speaks through a person

masculine singular noun

Strong's #178 BDB #15

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, at, by, near, on, with, before, in the presence of, upon, against, by means of, among, within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

׳êyn Dôwr (ר ןי̤ע) [pronounce ģayn-DOHR]

spring [or fountain] of habitation; and is transliterated Endor

proper noun; location

Strong’s #5874 BDB #745

This is a combination of Strong’s #5869 BDB #733 (an eye; a face; a fountain, a spring) and Strong’s #1755 BDB #189 (an age, a generation, a period; an habitation).


Translation: ... “Listen, [there is] a woman [who] possesses [or, a mistress of] a [demonic] spirit in Endor.” People are so eager to find contradictions in Scripture that this would be a reasonable place to go. Saul has removed all the spiritists and mediums from Israel, but right here, we find one in Endor. Isn’t that a glaring contradiction? Of course not! Don’t be ridiculous! Just because a state outlaws prostitution and just because this law is vigorously enforced does not mean that prostitutes do not exist in that state. The difference is, there will be a lot fewer spiritists in business in Israel with a billboard outside their house saying, “Spiritist; Inquire Within.” Some have certainly left Israel—possibly even some were executed—but some would simply go underground, which is the situation we have here.


By the way, one of the poorest arguments against this or that law is, well, some people are not going to obey that law. First of all, Duh!! If no one murdered anyone else, then we would not need a law which outlaws murder; if no one stole from anyone else, then we would not need a law which outlawed stealing. We have laws in place simply because people are going to engage in those activities. The law, ideally, will discourage some; and it will give society options of how to deal with a person who engages in these activities. Most countries outlaw prostitution and drug trafficking—this does not mean that there will not be prostitutes; this does not mean that people will not deal in drugs—this simply gives society a way to deal with these people who do these things. If society moves to a point where these things are no longer viewed as seriously wrong, then these laws may be repealed. At one time, adultery was against the law; homosexual behavior was against the law. In the Bible, these are clearly sins, and, during a period of time in our history, we were willing to outlaw these things. However, that is no longer the case; and the same may happen with prostitution and with drug usage.


Endor is located on the east side of the Hill of Moreh. Israel is camped in Jezreel on the north slopes of Mount Gilboa. The Philistines are encamped on the west side of the Hill of Moreh. The Valley of Jezreel lies, in part, between them. In order for Saul and these two men to get to Endor, roughly ten miles away, Footnote they will have to travel down into the valley and around the Hill of Morel, traveling counterclockwise from south of the hill to Endor. This means that Saul will move dangerously close to the Philistine encampment. He will be disguised and this will be done at the dead of night. When he is in Endor, then we will be on the opposite side of the Hill of Moreh from the Philistine army.


We know about Endor primarily from the events recorded in this chapter. It means fountain (or spring) of habitation, which simply means that there is a spring or fountain there, around which the city is built (or so the name suggests). Endor is named only in three places in Scripture: Joshua 17:11 1Sam. 28:7 Psalm 83:10. In Joshua 17:11, it sounds as though this is a city originally given to Issachar, but that it was later awarded to Manasseh. Another interpretation, which makes more sense, is that these cities were always possessions of West Manasseh and the verbiage of this verse simply indicates that they are along the border of Manasseh (and the other tribes which are named).


The verse in Psalm 83 references Judges 4–5, when Deborah and Barak faced Jabin and Sisera. The Israelite soldiers attacked the Canaanites. They proceeded down the west face of Mount Tabor to route the Canaanites on chariots. The storm caused by God and the attack of the Israelites cause the Canaanites to flee in all directions. One group of them no doubt retreated by Endor, which is at the eastern foot of the Hill of Moreh, which is across the valley from Mount Tabor. The psalmist implies that many Canaanite soldiers were killed in this general area. It is interesting because, even though the geography fits, the city of Endor is not mentioned by name in the book of Judges account.

 

Perhaps what follows should be a footnote—this is from Gill’s commentary: It is a tradition of the Jews that this woman was the mother of Abner, the wife of Zephaniah; some say her name was Zephaniah; but, as Abarbinel observes, if so she would have known Saul, and also Saul would have known her, and what she was, if, as they say, she was spared because of her relation to him; nor needed he to have inquired of his servants for such a woman. Footnote

 

Saul will apparently say, “Okay, then, let’s go to her.” Matthew Henry makes some apt observations at this point: Herein Saul is chargeable [with the following offenses]: 1. With contempt of the God of Israel; as if any creature could do him a kindness when God had left him and frowned upon him. 2. With contradiction to himself. He knew the heinousness of the sin of witchcraft, else he would not have cut off those that had familiar spirits; yet now he had recourse to that as an oracle which he had before condemned as an abomination. It is common for men to inveigh severely against those sins which they are in no temptation to, but afterwards to be themselves overcome by them. Had one told Saul, when he was destroying the witches, that he himself would, ere long, consult with one, he would have said, as Hazael did, “What? Is your servant a dog?” But who knows what mischiefs those will run into that forsake God and are forsaken of him?  Footnote Recall St. Peter’s warning about a dog which returns to his vomit—this is King Saul. He correctly rejected witchcraft and spiritists, and now he goes to one for guidance.


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Saul Locates a Medium and Assures Her that She Will Not be Punished


And so hides himself Saul and so he puts on clothing other and so he goes—he and a pair of men with him—and so they goes into the woman [at] night. And so he says, “Divine please for me in the [ventriloquist] demon and bring up for me who I say unto you.”

1Samuel

28:8

So Saul disguised himself and put on foreign clothing and he went—he and two men with him—and they go to the woman at night. Then he said, “Please contact by the [demon] spirit and bring up for me whomever I say to you.”

So Saul disguised himself by wearing foreign clothing and he and two of his men went to the woman at night. He said to her, “Please bring up for me by your demon spirit whomever I ask for.”


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so hides himself Saul and so he puts on clothing other and so he goes—he and a pair of men with him—and so they goes into the woman [at] night. And so he says, “Divine please for me in the [ventriloquist] demon and bring up for me who I say unto you.”

Septuagint                             And Saul disguised himself, and put on other rainment, and he goes, and two men with him, and they come to the woman by night. And he says to her, “Divine to me, I pray you, by the diving spirit within you, and bring up to me him whom I will name to you.”

 

Significant differences:          No significant differences between the Hebrew and Greek text.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       That night, Saul put on different clothing so nobody would recognize him. Then he and two of his men went to the woman, and asked, "Will you bring up the ghost of someone for us?”

NLT                                        So Saul disguised himself by wearing ordinary clothing instead of his royal robes. Then he went to the woman’s home at night, accompanied by two of his men.

“I have to talk to a man who has died,” he said. “Will you call up his spirit for me?”

REB                                       Saul put oh different clothes and went in disguise with two of his men. He came to the woman by night and said, ‘Tell me my fortune by consulting the dead, and call up the man I name to you.’


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         After disguising himself by putting on other clothes, Saul left with two men and came to the woman that night. He said to her, "Please consult with a dead person for me. Conjure up the person I request.”


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

HCSB                                    Saul disguised himself by putting on different clothes and set out with two of his men. They came to the woman at night, and Saul said, "Consult a spirit for me. Bring up for me the one I tell you.”

Young's Updated LT              And Saul disguises himself and puts on other garments, and goes, he and two of the men with him, and they come in unto the woman by night, and he says, “Divine, I pray you, to me by the familiar spirit, and cause to come up to me him whom I say unto you.”


What is the gist of this verse? Saul changes out of his royal robes into regular street clothes and goes to this psychic at night. He asks her to agree to bring someone up for him.


1Samuel 28:8a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

châphas (-פָח) [pronounced khaw-FAHS]

to allow oneself to be sought for; to hide onself; to pretend to be someone else, to disguise oneself

3rd person masculine singular, Hithpael imperfect

Strong’s #2664 BDB #344

This should help you to grasp how a different stem changes a verb. In the Qal stem, this means to seek out, to search for (not the same word as we find near the beginning of the previous verse, but a synonym). The Hithpael conveys the idea that one puts himself into the state or the action of the verb, which is an achieved state. Seow gives several uses: (1) Its primary use is reflexive—the verb describes action on or for oneself. That is, the subject of the verb is also the object of the verb. However, this does not completely convey the reflexive use, as there are examples where the verb takes on another object. These verbs are known as tolerative—the subject allows an action to affect himself or herself. (2) Reciprocal use: Occasionally, the Hithpael denotes reciprocity; that is, they worked with one another, they looked at one another. (3) The third use is known as iterative, which means that the Hithpael suggests repeated activity (he walked about, he walked to and fro, and turned back and forth). (4) The fourth use is known as estimative: the verb indicates how one shows himself or regards himself, whether in truth or by pretense (he pretended to be sick, they professed to be Jews). Footnote The Hithpael is intensive (and sometimes seen as an accomplished state) and it is something that one does to oneself. Here, Saul does something to himself which would make it difficult to seek him out (i.e., to recognize him).

Shâûwl (לאָש) [pronounced shaw-OOL]

which is transliterated Saul; it means asked for

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #7586 BDB #982


Translation: So Saul disguised himself... Saul was the one who put out the order to get rid of all the spiritists from the land; therefore, him going to a spiritist could be seen as a trap. Furthermore, this would be embarrassing for the king to make a royal proclamation to remove the spiritists from the land, and then for him to go to a spiritist. Therefore, Saul disguises himself. Although the verb used here could refer to several different things, the phrase which follows assures us of its use here.


1Samuel 28:8b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

lâbash (ש-בָל) [pronounced law-BAHSH]

to put on, to clothe, to be clothed, to wear

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #3847 BDB #527

beged (ד∵ג∵) [pronounced BEH-ged]

garments, clothes, clothing, apparel

masculine plural noun

Strong’s #899 BDB #93

achêr (ר̤ח-א) [pronounced ah-KHEHR]

another, following, other as well as foreign, alien, strange

adjective/substantive; masculine plural

Strong’s #312 BDB #29


Translation: ...and put on foreign clothing and he went... Saul puts on clothing which is foreign, alien or strange. He is going undercover, so to speak. As king and as commander-in-chief, Saul had a particular garb which he put together to distinguish himself from all other men (this is an assumption on my part, as he is, more or less, the first king of Israel). Footnote I assume that these would be royal robes and expensive coloration. Whatever it is that he normally wears, Saul puts on clothing which prevents him from being recognized. The spiritist will not know who he is; those on the street will not know who he is; and if there are any stray Philistines roaming about, they won’t know who he is. Furthermore, this allows Saul to slip out of his own camp, unknown to he other soldiers. It seems likely that there might be a great exodus of soldiers if they knew their commander-in-chief was slipping out for awhile. So, Saul, for several reasons, is in disguise.


1Samuel 28:8c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

hâlake ( ַל ָה) [pronounced haw-LAHKe]

to go, to come, to depart, to walk; to advance

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect with the voluntative hê suffix

Strong’s #1980 (and #3212) BDB #229

hûw (אה) [pronounced hoo]

he, it

3rd person masculine singular, personal pronoun

Strong’s #1931 BDB #214

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

shenayim (ם̣י-נש) [pronounced sheNAH-yim]

two of, a pair of, a duo of

masculine plural numeral

Strong’s #8147 BDB #1040

îysh (שי ̣א) [pronounced eesh]

men; inhabitants, citizens; companions, soldiers, companions

masculine plural noun

Strong's #376 BDB #35

׳îm (ם̣ע) [pronounced ģeem]

with, at, by, near

preposition of nearness and vicinity; with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #5973 BDB #767


Translation: ...—he and two men with him—... Saul goes with a very small entourage here. These are, more than likely, his personal bodyguards. Or, perhaps one is a bodyguard and the other knows where this spiritist is. Saul somehow in all of this hopes that he can somehow cheat God and remain king until he dies of natural causes.


You may recall that we have discussed the authorship of this one chapter of Samuel, as there are details found here which only 4 people would know—Saul, the witch and these two men. Some one of them had to write this down. Given that Saul has probably not been in fellowship for years and that the witch is an unbeliever, one of these two men probably authored this chapter.


1Samuel 28:8d

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

bôw (א) [pronounced boh]

to come in, to come, to go in, to go, to enter

3rd person masculine plural, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #935 BDB #97

el (לא) [pronounced el]

unto, in, into, toward, to, regarding, against

directional preposition (respect or deference may be implied)

Strong's #413 BDB #39

îshshâh (ה ָֹ ̣א) [pronounced eesh-SHAWH]

woman, wife

feminine singular noun with the definite article

Strong's #802 BDB #61

layelâh (ה ָל  ׃י ַל) [pronounced LAY-law]

night; nightly, at night, in the night, during the night

masculine singular noun; this word can take on adverbial qualities

Strong’s #3915 BDB #538


Translation: ...and they go to the woman at night.... Not only is Saul disguised, but he goes at night, so he is even less likely to be recognized. He is also moving closer to the Philistine encampment, and he certainly does not want to be caught by them. Besides, men tend to do their most evil deeds at night (however, the old sin nature functions 24 hours a day).


1Samuel 28:8e

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

âmar (ר ַמ ָא) [pronounced aw-MARH]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

qâçam (םַסָק) [pronounced kaw-SAHM]

to divine, to determine by divination, to practice divination; to contact the spirits of the dead [this can be real or faked]

2nd person feminine singular, Qal imperative

Strong’s #7080 BDB #890

nâ (אָנ) [pronounced naw]

please, I pray you, I respectfully implore (ask, or request of) you, I urge you

particle of entreaty

Strong's #4994 BDB #609

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to, with reference to, as to, with regards to, belonging to

preposition with the 1st person singular suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, at, by, near, on, with, before, in the presence of, upon, against, by means of, among, within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

ôwb (בא) [pronounced ohbv]

a water bottle or a skin-bottle; a medium, ventriloquist demon, familiar spirit, demon spirit, one who speaks through a person

masculine singular noun with the definite article

Strong's #178 BDB #15


Translation: Then he said, “Please contact for me by the [demon] spirit... He goes into the woman, gains entrance; and then he tells her what he wants. He wants her to bring someone up for him. The idea is, this is a person who has died and this woman, Saul assumes, can establish contact with the person who has died. Saul really has no idea what is involved here; he simply believes that there are some who can easily communicate with the dead.


1Samuel 28:8f

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

׳âlâh (ה ָל ָע) [pronounced ģaw-LAWH]

to cause to go up, to lead up, to take up, to bring up

2nd person feminine singular, Hiphil imperative

Strong's #5927 BDB #748

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to, with reference to, as to, with regards to, belonging to

preposition with the 1st person singular suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

together, they mean how, that which, what, whatever; whom, whomever

untranslated mark of a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

ăsher (רשֲא) [pronounced uh-SHER]

relative pronoun

Strong's #834 BDB #81

âmar (ר ַמ ָא) [pronounced aw-MARH]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

1st person singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

el (לא) [pronounced el]

unto, in, into, toward, to, regarding, against

directional preposition (respect or deference may be implied); with the 2nd person feminine singular suffix; pausal form

Strong's #413 BDB #39


Translation: ...and bring up for me whomever I say to you.” Saul asks for her to agree to contact via her spirit contact whomever he asks for. Essentially, Saul is simply stating exactly what service he would prefer. “I want you to contact by any means possible someone who has died” is the essence of what he is saying. That is the service he wishes to pay for.


And so says the woman unto him, “Behold, you [even] you have known that which has done Saul; that he has killed [or, cut off] the mediums and the necromancers from the land. And for why are you laying a snare in my soul to kill me?”

1Samuel

28:9

The woman then said to him, “Listen, you [even] you know that which Saul has done—that he has cut off [or, killed] the mediums and the necromancers from the land. So [lit., and] why are you laying a snare for my life to kill me?”

The woman then said to him, “Listen, you know that which Saul has done—how he has cut off and/or killed the mediums and the necromancers from the land. Therefore, why are you laying a snare for my life? Why are you trying to get me killed?”


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so says the woman unto him, “Behold, you [even] you have known that which has done Saul; that he has killed [or, cut off] the mediums and the necromancers from the land. And for why are you laying a snare in my soul to kill me?”

Peshitta                                 And the woman said to him, “Behold, you know what Saul has done—how he has removed those who have familiar spirits and the wizards out of the land. Why then are you laying a snare for my life to cause me to be put to death?”

Septuagint                             And the woman said to him, “Behold now, you know what Saul has done—how he has cut off those who had in them diving spirits [or, ventriloquists]; and the wizards from the land. So why do you spread a snare for my life to destroy it?”

 

Significant differences:          None.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       The woman said, "Why are you trying to trick me and get me killed? You know King Saul has gotten rid of everyone who talks to the spirits of the dead!”

The Message                         The woman said, "Just hold on now! You know what Saul did, how he swept the country clean of mediums. Why are you trying to trap me and get me killed?”

NJB                                        The woman replied, ‘Look, you know what Saul has done, how he has outlawed necromancers and wizards from the country; why are you setting a trap for my life, then, to have me killed?’

NLT                                        “Are you trying to get me killed?” the woman demanded. “You know that Saul has expelled all the mediums and psychics from the land. Why are you setting a trap for me?”


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         The woman told him, "You know that Saul rid the land of mediums and psychics. Why are you trying to trap me and have me killed?”


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

Updated Emphasized Bible   And the woman said to him,

“Listen! ║You║ know what Saul has done: how he has cut off them who have familiar spirits [or, necromancists] and him who is an oracle [or, wizard; Septuagint, Syriac and Vulgate have oracles or wizards] out of the land. Why then are you striking at my life, to put me to death?”

ESV                                       The woman said to him, "Surely you know what Saul has done, how he has cut off the mediums and the necromancers from the land. Why then are you laying a trap for my life to bring about my death?:

HCSB                                    But the woman said to him, "You surely know what Saul has done, how he has killed the mediums and spiritists in the land. Why are you setting a trap for me to get me killed?”

Young's Updated LT              And the woman says unto him, “Lo, you have known that which Saul has done, that he has cut off those having familiar spirits, and the wizards, out of the land; and why are you laying a snare for my soul—to put me to death?”


What is the gist of this verse? Saul had removed the spiritists from the land, so the woman asked Saul, who is disguised, if he is trying to get her in trouble—if he is trying to have her put to death.


1Samuel 28:9a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

âmar (ר ַמ ָא) [pronounced aw-MARH]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

3rd person feminine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

îshshâh (ה ָֹ ̣א) [pronounced eesh-SHAWH]

woman, wife

feminine singular noun with the definite article

Strong's #802 BDB #61

el (לא) [pronounced el]

unto, in, into, toward, to, regarding, against

directional preposition (respect or deference may be implied); with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #413 BDB #39

hinnêh (הֵ ̣ה) [pronounced hin-NAY]

lo, behold, or more freely, observe, look here, look, listen, pay attention, get this, check this out

interjection, demonstrative particle

Strong’s #2009 (and #518, 2006) BDB #243

attâh (הָ-א) [pronounced aht-TAW]

you (often, the verb to be is implied)

2nd person masculine singular, personal pronoun

Strong’s #859 BDB #61

yâda׳ (עַדָי) [pronounced yaw-DAHĢ]

to know, to perceive, to acquire knowledge, to become acquainted, to know by experience, to have a knowledge of something; to see

2nd person masculine singular, Qal perfect

Strong’s #3045 BDB #393

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

together, they mean how, that which, what, whatever; whom, whomever

untranslated mark of a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

ăsher (רשֲא) [pronounced uh-SHER]

relative pronoun

Strong's #834 BDB #81

׳âsâh (הָָע) [pronounced ģaw-SAWH]

to do, to make, to construct, to fashion, to form, to prepare

3rd person masculine singular, Qal perfect

Strong's #6213 BDB #793

Shâûwl (לאָש) [pronounced shaw-OOL]

which is transliterated Saul; it means asked for

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #7586 BDB #982


Translation: The woman then said to him, “Listen, you [even] you know that which Saul has done— ... This woman is practicing something which Saul has outlawed from the land. She is engaging in illegal activity. She tells Saul (not knowing who he is) what Saul has done.


In the Hebrew, she verbally grabs Saul by the collar and says, “Listen here...” She inserts the emphatic personal pronoun you. She is telling Saul, you know what Saul has done. He has just asked her to perform an illegal act and she tells him, you, even you, know what you have asked me to do is illegal! So you understand why she is saying this to Saul—emphatically telling him that he must know this—is that it clear to her that he is an Israelite. Probably it is the Hebrew language that he speaks; but the accent as well as his clothes make it clear that Saul is an Israelite. Therefore, the woman is saying, you definitely know what is going on in Israel. Footnote


We are used to nations with clearly defined boundaries. However, these boundaries were not as well defined in those days. It was more like what we have in Israel and Palestine today. Furthermore, there were apparently men of several nationalities living in various cities. Israel did not remove all the heathen from their land, as we find in the first chapter of Judges, so there could be men coming to this woman from maybe a half dozen different origins.


1Samuel 28:9b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

ăsher (ר ש ֲא) [pronounced ash-ER]

that, which, when, who

relative pronoun

Strong's #834 BDB #81

kârath (תַרָ) [pronounced kaw-RAHTH]

to kill, to destroy [men]; to separate, to remove, to withdraw; to cut off, to cut down; to allow to perish

3rd person masculine singular, Hiphil perfect

Strong's #3772 BDB #503

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

ôwb (בא) [pronounced ohbv]

a water bottle or a skin-bottle; a medium, ventriloquist demon, familiar spirit, demon spirit, one who speaks through a person

masculine plural noun with the definite article

Strong's #178 BDB #15

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

yîdde׳ônîy (י̣נֹע ׃̣י) [pronounced yid-de-ģoh-NEE]

demon-possessed person, necromancer, psychic, spiritist; the demon that possesses a person

masculine plural noun with the definite article

Strong’s #3049 BDB #396

Owen lists this as a masculine singular, but it appears to be in the plural. Rotherham tells us Footnote that the Septuagint, Vulgate and Syriac have this in the plural (which implies it is singular in the Masoretic text).

min (ן ̣מ) [pronounced min]

from, off, out from, out of, away from, on account of, since, than, more than, greater than

preposition of separation

Strong's #4480 BDB #577

erets (ץ ר א) [pronounced EH-rets]

earth (all or a portion thereof), land

feminine singular noun with the definite article

Strong's #776 BDB #75


Translation: ...that he has cut off [or, killed] the mediums and the necromancers from the land. To make certain this man knows what the policy is, she tells him that Saul has cut off or killed all of the mediums and necromancers from the land. Here she is not referring to the demons but to those who harness the demon power; as well as the fakers. As we will find out, this woman is a fake. She did not have any real contact with the spirit world (i.e., she was unable to contact demons for anything).


I believe that the difference between these two types of spiritists is: the first are those through whom demons speak; demons function like ventriloquists, so to speak. The second are those who are demon-possessed; the demon possesses the entire body of the person. This woman, being a fake, falls into neither of these categories.


1Samuel 28:9c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to, with reference to, as to, with regards to, belonging to

preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

mâh (ה ָמ) [pronounced maw]

what, how, why

interrogative; exclamatory particle

Strong’s #4100 BDB #552

Lâmed + mâh can be rendered why, for what reason, to what purpose, for what purpose, indicating an interrogatory sentence.

attâh (הָ-א) [pronounced aht-TAW]

you (often, the verb to be is implied)

2nd person masculine singular, personal pronoun

Strong’s #859 BDB #61

nâqash (שַקָנ) [pronounced naw-KAHSH]

to lay a snare when followed by the bêyth preposition

Hithpael participle

Strong’s #5367 BDB #669

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, at, by, near, on, with, before, in the presence of, upon, against, by means of, among, within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

nephesh (שפ נ) [pronounced NEH-fesh]

soul, life, living being, desire

feminine singular noun with the 1st person singular suffix

Strong’s #5315 BDB #659


Translation: So [lit., and] why are you laying a snare for my life... This woman thinks that Saul is attempting to entrap her; and she knows that she will either be executed or put out of Israel for what he wants her to do. She is apparently one who practices fake divination, but she is also suspicious, of course, of any client; knowing that she could be arrested and executed for committing these acts.


1Samuel 28:9d

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to, with reference to, as to, with regards to, belonging to

preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

mûwth (תמ) [pronounced mooth]

to kill, to cause to die, to put to death, to execute

Hiphil infinitive construct with the 1st person singular suffix

Strong's #4191 BDB #559

The Hiphil is the causative stem; she is accusing Saul of trying to cause her death.


Translation: ...to kill me?” As mentioned, the stem of this verb is the Hiphil, which is the causative stem. She is accusing Saul of causing her to be killed; of causing her to face execution. If King Saul finds out about her business, he will have her executed, is what she tells him. She, of course, does not realize that she is speaking with King Saul.


It appears to be unclear as to whether Saul expelled the necromancers from the land or whether he executed them. Here, the woman clearly shows a fear of being executed; in v. 3, Saul is said to have removed the spiritists from the land. Earlier in this verse, she speaks of Saul cutting off the spiritists from the land, which is inconclusive. My thinking is this: Saul made a proclamation about executing spiritists, then he killed a couple as an example, and the others either went underground (as did this woman) or left Israel altogether. This fits well with Saul’s personality (recall that he did not kill every Amalekite) and easily explains the passages cited.

 

Matthew Henry comments: Observe how sensible she is of danger from the edict of Saul, and what care she is in to guard against it; but not at all apprehensive of the obligations off God's law and the terrors of his wrath. She considered what Saul had done, not what God had done, against such practices, and feared a snare laid for her life more than a snare laid for her soul. It is common for sinners to be more afraid of punishment from men than of God's righteous judgment. Footnote


And so swears to her Saul in Yehowah to say, “Living Yehowah if meets you punishment [or, iniquity] in the word the this.”

1Samuel

28:10

Then Saul swore to her by Yehowah, saying, “[As] Yehowah lives, no punishment will befall you in this matter.”

Then Saul swore to her by Jehovah, saying, “As Jehovah lives, no punishment for this thing will befall you.”


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so swears to her Saul in Yehowah to say, “Living Yehowah if meets you punishment [or, iniquity] in the word the this.”

Peshitta                                 And Saul swore to her by the Lord, saying, “As the Lord lives, there will no harm come upon you for this thing.”

Septuagint                             And Saul swore to her, and said, “The Lord lives, if injury will come upon you on this account.”

 

Significant differences:          Apart from there being an extra reference to Jehovah in the MT, there is no difference between the versions. That is really not a significant difference.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       Saul replied, "I swear by the living LORD that nothing will happen to you because of this.”

The Message                         Saul swore solemnly, "As GOD lives, you won't get in any trouble for this.”

NAB                                       But Saul swore to her by the Lord, “As the Lord lives, you shall incur no blame for this.”

NLT                                        But Saul took an oath in the name of the Lord and promised, “As surely as the Lord lives, nothing bad will happen to you for doing this.”


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         But Saul took an oath in the LORD'S name, "I solemnly swear, as the LORD lives, you will not be harmed if you do this.”

JPS (Tanakh)                        Saul swore to her by the Lord: “As the Lord lives, you won’t get into trouble over this.”


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

HCSB                                    Then Saul swore to her by the LORD: "As surely as the LORD lives, nothing bad will happen to you because of this.”

WEB                                      Saul swore to her by Yahweh, saying, As Yahweh lives, there shall no punishment happen to you for this thing.

Young's Updated LT              And Saul swears to her by Jehovah, saying, “Jehovah lives, punishment does not meet you for this thing.”


What is the gist of this verse? Saul swears by Jehovah that no harm will come upon her for contacting the dead.


1Samuel 28:10a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

shâbva׳ (עַבָש) [pronounced shawb-VAHĢ]

to swear, to imprecate, to curse, to swear an oath, to take a solemn oath, to swear allegiance

3rd person masculine singular, Niphal imperfect

Strong's #7650 BDB #989

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to, with reference to, as to, with regards to, belonging to

preposition with the 2nd person feminine singular suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510

Shâûwl (לאָש) [pronounced shaw-OOL]

which is transliterated Saul; it means asked for

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #7586 BDB #982

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, at, by, near, on, with, before, in the presence of, upon, against, by means of, among, within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

YHWH (הוהי) [pronunciation is possibly yhoh-WAH]

transliterated variously as Jehovah, Yahweh, Yehowah

proper noun

Strong’s #3068 BDB #217

Κύριος (Lord), is not found here in the Greek. You might be thinking, why mention this, as it makes very little difference? This is one of the reasons I mention the slight variations found in the ancient manuscripts—to illustrate just how little difference there is between them.

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to, with reference to, as to, with regards to, belonging to

preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

âmar (ר ַמ ָא) [pronounced aw-MARH]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

Qal infinitive construct

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

chay (י ַח) [pronounced KHAH-ee]

living, alive, active, lively, vigorous [used of man or animals]; green [vegetation]; fresh [used of a plant]; flowing [water]; reviving [of the springtime]; raw [flesh]

adjective

Strong's #2416 BDB #311

YHWH (הוהי) [pronunciation is possibly yhoh-WAH]

transliterated variously as Jehovah, Yahweh, Yehowah

proper noun

Strong’s #3068 BDB #217


Translation: Then Saul swore to her by Yehowah, saying, “[As] Yehowah lives,... This is the first of many tragic/humorous things which are said and done in this chapter. Saul is estranged from God. God will not speak to Saul in any way. So Saul has gone to a woman whom, he hopes, legitimately contact the dead, even if it involves the use of demons. This makes her also against God as well. So, Saul gives her assurances by Jehovah, the God of Israel. Saul is making an oath by the very Person that he and this woman have rejected.


1Samuel 28:10b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

îm (ם ̣א) [pronounced eem]

if, though; lo, behold; oh that, if only; when, since, though when (or, if followed by a perfect tense which refers to a past event)

primarily an hypothetical particle

Strong's #518 BDB #49

When following an oath, either stated or implied, îm, by itself, functions as an emphatic negative.

qârâh (הָרָק) [pronounced kaw-RAWH]

to encounter, to meet, to go to meet [this can be taken in a hostile sense]; to happen, to befall

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect; with the 2nd person feminine singular suffix

Strong's #7136 BDB #899

׳âvôwn (ן ָע) [pronounced ģaw-VOHN]

iniquity, crime, offense, transgression, depraved action, guilt, punishment from wrongdoing

masculine singular noun

Strong’s #5771 BDB #730

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, at, by, near, on, with, before, in the presence of, upon, against, by means of, among, within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

dâbâr (רָבָ) [pronounced dawb-VAWR]

word, saying, doctrine, thing, matter, command

masculine singular noun with the definite article

Strong's #1697 BDB #182

zeh (הז) [pronounced zeh]

here, this, thus

demonstrative adjective with a definite article

Strong’s #2088, 2090 (& 2063) BDB #260


Translation: ...no punishment will befall you in this matter.” The îm particle in this verse is generally translated if; however, in conjunction with an oath, it acts more like a negation. I believe in the original Hebrew, it is still properly an hypothetical particle, but that it was understood in such a way that the outcome of this particle with an oath is best translated for us as a negation. I am guessing that this is somewhat elliptical in the Hebrew, “As God lives, if any harms comes to you...” In the English, we might say, “I oughtta...” meaning, “I ought to knock your block off” (whatever). It is an elliptical oath, which we may best understand be simply inserting an emphatic negative.


Now, see if you can get the humor here—Saul is estranged from God and this woman is estranged from God. Still, he offers his oath by Jehovah and she accepts this oath made by Jehovah, even though both of them are in direct opposition to Jehovah God. Now, it was Saul who made the decree to remove the psychics and necromancers from the land; so Saul could have said, “Look here, sister, I’m Saul; I made the law and I can override the law. That’s what being king is all about.” In other words, it would have been more genuine for Saul to give an oath by himself, as that kind of an oath he could guarantee (okay, well, maybe not—but she does not realize how screwed up Saul is). However, Saul is a man of deception; you realize, there are people out there who are like that. They always have a hidden agenda; they always slant the truth; even when being straightforward will work, they are still deceptive—it is second nature to them. This is Saul. He began by deceiving this woman and sees no reason why he should change from that.


In today’s political world, we call that spin. Not only do politicians do it, but newspaper reporters do it all the time. I recall a criminal whose mother spoke during the punishment phrase of his trial. According to one account, several jury members were moved to tears by what she had to say. Another reporter said that her words had little effect upon most of the jury members. Both reports could be absolutely true, but to the listener/reader, one conveys a completely different perspective than does the other.


At this moment, we are in Iraq. A news service which does not support this can easily find an Iraqi citizen who is fed up with all of the fighting and the killing which take place there. Airing his or her opinion gives one slant to our being there in Iraq. Another person can be found who has lived under terror and persecution for years prior to the US involvement, and have a much different take on the situation. Certainly, there will be many who will vote there, risking their lives, in order to have a say in their future. Any news agency can over-report one side; or simply ignore the other, and still be disseminating accurate information without lying, but simply by not telling the entire story.


Another illustration: when Bush and Kerry were running against one another, a particularly damaging storing came out about Bush and his service in the Texas National Guard. This story was released at a crucial time in the pre-election, and certainly had an effect on voters. However, it also turned out that the source for this story had falsified documents and was a person known to strongly oppose Bush. And, apparently, this information was known well in advance, but it was not released until the election drew near. Those involved in this story had a political agenda; they were not simply reporting the news; they were looking to influence the electorate. The same news services also reported Bush and Kerry as being neck and neck in the polls. However, oddsmakers had the election in favor of Bush 2 to 1 (this does not mean that Bush would win twice as many votes; it meant that, in their estimation, Bush was two times more likely to win than Kerry). These were oddsmakers in Vegas and in Great Britain. Apparently, from what I have read, they are much more accurate when it comes to predicting election results. When they set odds, then that means some betting can occur, whether legal or illegal. No oddsmakers is going to give even odds in that election, because no oddsmaker wanted to lose money. However, a news organization is not looking to win or lose money; many are apparently looking to affect the outcome of the election. If you want to know in advance who will win the next election, don’t listen to a poll; don’t listen to a news service; investigate the gambling odds. They are not looking to influence you one way or the other; they are looking to set accurate odds for the purpose of bettering, which could involve huge amounts of money. That overrides any political agenda which they may have.


Application: Do you see how it is Saul’s nature to lie; to put a spin on the truth; to slant the facts in whatever way is good for him? Now, bear in mind, there are people and there are organizations all around you who are the same way. Saul never stopped doing this to the end of his life; you know people who this is the way that they are; there are news gathering organizations and this is the way that they are. You cannot simply take whatever you hear on television or read in the newspaper as a fact.


There are hundreds of arguments based upon scientific evidence against evolution.

The other evening I was watching Boston Legal, a television show. One of the issues at hand was creationism being taught in the schools. When the arguments were presented, they were presented as though creationists had only faith on their side; while and evolutionists had science and evidence on their side. Even those who argued for the side of the creationists admitted to believing in evolution. The show was presented as though there was no scientific basis for creationism whatsoever apart from intelligent design (something carefully and intricately designed requires a Designer). And at the end of the show, two lawyers are chatting, and one worried that someday, only creationism will be taught in the classroom. This is the view of evolutionists and it is so much bullcrap, it makes my pants tired. Footnote There are hundreds of scientific arguments against evolution. There are hundreds of arguments based upon scientific evidence against evolution. In the 1970's, there were creationists and evolutionists who traveled to college campuses all over the US, and it was generally conceded that the creationists won most of the debates. You cannot win a debate by jumping up and down and saying, “But this is what I believe in!!!” (however, it is stated or implied that this is all creationists have in their arsenal of facts).


There have been classes in some college campuses where creationists and evolutionists both taught. At the beginning, the classes were often split nearly 50-50; that is, the creationists were given almost as much time as the evolutionists to speak. However, as time progressed, the number of sessions given to the creationists was continually decreased. However, the before and after surveys of these classes always yielded the same results: more people exited the class than entered believing in creationism. That is, when debated; when the evidence is presented side by side, people who were once evolutionists sometimes become creationists (and this occurred more often than the reverse).


When I was younger—high school and early college age; I believed in evolution. Sometimes, I believed in God guiding evolution—sort of a halfway choice. I did not become a Christian and suddenly believe in creationism. Like most people who believe in creationism, this was not something I picked up at home from religious indoctrination; it was a conclusion I came to on my own by reading book after book after book on the topic. My conversion, if you will, was not a result of religious indoctrination, but a result of reading books which dealt with the available evidence and the interpretations given to the evidence.


Allow me one more tangent before I return to our topic: almost every rabid evolutionist which I know thinks that we who believe in special creation have come to this conclusion through religious indoctrination, often from our youth. The idea is, it is such a emphatic point of doctrine that was beaten into us from our youth, that we have trouble apprehending an opposing opinion. The idea is, our belief in creationism rests so firmly upon our indoctrinated faith as to be almost unshakable. However, it is actually quite the opposite which is true. First of all, there are only a limited number of churches who mention creationism or evolution; and many pastors hedge on the meaning of Genesis if and when they teach it. I came out of high school believing in evolution. In college, I was taught evolution in a child development class, in a math history course and in an education course, among others. Most people, if they have been brought up in the public school system, naturally assume that the only reasonable and scientific explanation for how things are is evolution. It is a fundamental, indoctrinated point of our education. In the 13 years I spent in public education and in the 8 years I spent in higher education, I never heard a single, disparaging point made about evolution; I never heard a single teacher ever mention creationism and how it might better model the earth that we live on. Most people share that experience with me; and we have exited our public education, fully indoctrinated that evolution is the only reasonable explanation for the way things are. That, my friend, is true religious indoctrination. Evolutionists actually have done in the public school system exactly what they accuse Christianity of doing. They produce believers in evolution who have never heard even a single piece of conflicting evidence. Interestingly enough, much of the evidence presented in schools for evolution is disparaged by most evolutionists (those who are in the field or in a related field). Footnote


Most people will exit the public school system and they will be able to give a half a dozen general reasons why evolution is true—why it is the only scientific explanation. Furthermore, most will be able to explain, to some limited degree, why evolution is not observable (except for observable changes within a species). On the other hand, as I mentioned before, most religious types believe in a mixture of evolution and creationism—that God simply guided evolution through those millions of years. And most of these believers could also cite a half a dozen reasons which support evolution and they could also explain why we cannot observe evolution today (except on the small scale of within a species).


Now that I have vented for awhile, let me return you to our regularly scheduled program: today, especially, you might read this and ask, so what that Saul made this oath? Up until perhaps the 1950's or 1960's, a man’s word was his bond. That is, if you told someone that you were going to do this or that, you meant it. They could depend upon it. Some people transacted agreements verbally and with a handshake, and kept to their agreement. So Saul’s oath, despite the fact that he was sometimes out of touch with reality, was meaningful to this woman. The fact that this stranger swore by Jehovah that no harm would come to her, that was greatly reassuring. Now, if she knew that this was Saul, and realized how little his oaths meant (see 1Sam. 19:6), she may not have felt all that reassured. However, a stranger making such an oath in that time period was meaningful. Now, today, someone can swear on a stack of Bibles and on their mother’s eyes, and it means nothing whatsoever. It simply means, I want you to agree to something; and I am saying whatever I think you might want to hear in order to procure that from you.


Return to Chapter Outline

Return to the Chart and Map Index


The Spiritist Conjures up Samuel from the Dead


And so says the woman, “Whom do I bring up for you?”


And so he says, “Samuel bring up for me.”

1Samuel

28:11

So the woman said, “Whom should I bring up for you?”


And he said, “Bring up Samuel for me.”

So the woman asked, “Whom should I bring up for you?”


And he answered, “Bring up Samuel for me.”


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so says the woman, “Whom do I bring up for you?”

And so he says, “Samuel bring up for me.”

The Septuagint                      And the woman said, “Whom should I bring up to you?” And he said, “Bring up to me Samuel.”

 

Significant differences:          None.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       “Who do you want me to bring up?" she asked. "Bring up the ghost of Samuel," he answered.

NLT                                        Finally, the woman said, “Well, whose spirit do you want me to call up?”

“Call up Samuel,” Saul replied.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         “Whom should I conjure up for you?" the woman asked. "Conjure up Samuel for me," he answered.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

HCSB                                    “Who is it that you want me to bring up for you?” the woman asked. “Bring up Samuel for me," he answered.”

Young's Updated LT              And the woman says, “Whom do I bring up to you?” and he says, “Samuel—bring up to me.”


What is the gist of this verse? The woman finally asks Saul whom from the dead should she bring up, and he answers, “Samuel.”


1Samuel 28:11a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

âmar (ר ַמ ָא) [pronounced aw-MARH]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

3rd person feminine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

îshshâh (ה ָֹ ̣א) [pronounced eesh-SHAWH]

woman, wife

feminine singular noun with the definite article

Strong's #802 BDB #61

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

mîy (י ̣מ) [pronounced mee]

who; occasionally rendered how, in what way

pronominal interrogative

Strong’s #4310 BDB #566

׳âlâh (ה ָל ָע) [pronounced ģaw-LAWH]

to cause to go up, to lead up, to take up, to bring up

1st person singular, Hiphil imperfect

Strong's #5927 BDB #748

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to, with reference to, as to, with regards to, belonging to

preposition with the 2nd person masculine singular suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510


Translation: So the woman said, “Whom should I bring up for you?” The woman is assured, as well as she can be, that Saul will not have her arrested for bringing up the dead. So she now asks him, “Just exactly who is it from the dead that you want to talk to?” Saul had asked her in v. 8 to bring up whomever he named; now she wants to know who it is he wants to speak to.


1Samuel 28:11b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

âmar (ר ַמ ָא) [pronounced aw-MARH]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

Shemûwêl (ל̤אמש) [pronounced she-moo-ALE]

which means heard of El; it is transliterated Samuel

proper masculine noun

Strong’s #8050 BDB #1028

׳âlâh (ה ָל ָע) [pronounced ģaw-LAWH]

to cause to go up, to lead up, to take up, to bring up

2nd person feminine singular, Hiphil imperative

Strong's #5927 BDB #748

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to, with reference to, as to, with regards to, belonging to

preposition with the 1st person singular suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510


Translation: ...And he said, “Bring up Samuel for me.” Saul immediately blurts out Samuel’s name. In the Hebrew, Samuel’s name occurs first in what Saul says. Now, this was quite interesting for Saul to go to Samuel. I guess he had figured enough time had passed and that maybe Samuel would not be so pissy as he was the last time they spoke. Saul has no clue as to how things work. Generally speaking, when someone dies, that ends their contact with this world. They don’t hang around in some sort of spirit form hoping that someone will want to talk with them. They don’t wander about aimlessly, searching for the light (or avoiding the light). And they certainly do not hang out near the houses of mediums hoping that Charlie Brown Jr. will drop by and ask to visit with them.


I want you to recognize the colossal arrogance of Saul in this request. Even if Saul had no idea exactly where Samuel was, this does not mean that Samuel is just hanging around just waiting for a word from Saul. Samuel had no interest in speaking to Saul when he was alive (1Sam. 15:26–35); why should Samuel want to speak to Saul now from the grave? Saul does not know a single person who has ever spoken to anyone beyond the grave; still, he thinks this will all come together just as he expects it to.


Now, Saul has little or no doctrine in his soul. Time and time again he has failed; and in this instance, it is clear that he does not know how things work. Insofar as this world is concerned, when Samuel died, he was out the picture (except for God’s grace in this instance).


And so sees the woman Samuel and so she cries out in a voice great and so says the woman unto Saul, to say, “For why you have deceived me? And you [are] Saul!”

1Samuel

28:12

Then the woman saw Samuel and she cried out in a loud [lit, great] voice. So the woman says to Saul, “Why have you deceived me? You [are] Saul!”

When the woman saw Samuel, she screamed, and then she said to Saul, “Why have you deceived me! You’re Saul!”


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so sees the woman Samuel and so she cries out in a voice great and so says the woman unto Saul, to say, “For why you have deceived me? And you [are] Saul!”

Septuagint                             And the woman saw Samuel, and cried out with a loud voice; and the woman said to Saul, “Why have you deceived me? For you are Saul.”

 

Significant differences:          None.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       When the woman saw Samuel, she screamed. Then she turned to Saul and said, "You've tricked me! You're the king!”

NAB                                       When the woman saw Samuel, she shrieked at the top of her voice and said to Saul, ”Why have you deceived me? You are Saul!”


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         When the woman saw Samuel, she cried out loudly and asked, "Why did you deceive me? You're Saul!”

JPS (Tanakh)                        Then the woman recognized Samuel [Some Septuagint manuscripts read Saul], and she shrieked loudly, and said to Saul, “Why have you deceived me? You are Saul!”


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

HCSB                                    When the woman saw Samuel, she screamed, and then she asked Saul, "Why did you deceive me? You are Saul!”

Young's Updated LT              And the woman sees Samuel, and cries with a loud voice, and the woman speaks unto Saul, saying, “Why have you deceived me—and you Saul?”


What is the gist of this verse? Several things happen all at once. The woman sees Samuel, something she did not expect, and shrieked. Then she turns to Saul, suddenly knows who he is, and asks him why he has deceived her.


1Samuel 28:12a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

rââh (ה ָאָר) [pronounced raw-AWH]

to see, to look, to look at, to view, to behold; to perceive, to understand, to learn, to know

3rd person feminine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #7200 BDB #906

îshshâh (ה ָֹ ̣א) [pronounced eesh-SHAWH]

woman, wife

feminine singular noun with the definite article

Strong's #802 BDB #61

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

Shemûwêl (ל̤אמש) [pronounced she-moo-ALE]

which means heard of El; it is transliterated Samuel

proper masculine noun

Strong’s #8050 BDB #1028

According to the JPS, some LXX manuscripts read Saul here. Footnote This would not necessarily cause this woman to scream.


Translation: Then the woman saw Samuel... Okay, I hope you realize that most psychics (possibly not all) are complete fakes. Sometimes they are very perceptive and sensitive to others, and this particular woman is a fake. She cannot call up the dead. She has no such power. The best she can do is read the people in the room with her. However, when she calls up Samuel, there he is, and she freaks out. See, this isn’t supposed to happen. She isn’t supposed to call out for Samuel to come back from the dead and suddenly, there’s Samuel. This falls outside of this woman’s abilities.


1Samuel 28:12b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

zâ׳aq (ק ַע ָז) [pronounced zaw-ĢAHK]

to cry out, to call, to cry

3rd person feminine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #2199 BDB #277

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, at, by, near, on, with, before, in the presence of, upon, against, by means of, among, within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

qôwl (לק) [pronounced kohl]

sound, voice, noise; loud noise, thundering

masculine singular noun

Strong’s #6963 BDB #876

gâdôwl (לד ָ) [pronounced gaw-DOHL]

great in quantity, great in magnitude and extent, mighty, vast, unyielding, immutable, significant, astonishing

masculine singular adjective

Strong’s #1419 BDB #152


Translation: ...and she cried out in a loud [lit, great] voice. This means, she screamed. She is freaked out. She is used to running the show and deceiving the client into thinking that she has called up the dead; she is just a scam artist. But when she actually sees Samuel, the man she is supposed to bring up from the dead, she is totally freaked out. Hey, if you started seeing dead people, you’d be freaked out as well. Seeing Samuel causes this woman to scream at the top of her lungs.

 

Barnes succinct comment: It is manifest both that the apparition of Samuel was real, and also that the woman was utterly unprepared for it. Footnote Keil and Delitzsch: It is an uncontrovertable fact that the woman saw an apparition which she did not anticipate, and therefore that she was not really able to conjure up departed spirits or persons who had died, but that she either merely pretended to do so, or if her witchcraft was not mere trickery and delusion, but had a certain demoniacal background, that the appearance of Samuel differed essentially from everything she had experienced and effected before, and therefore filled her with alarm and horror. The very fact, whoever, that she recognized Saul as soon as Samuel appeared, precludes us from declaring her art to have been nothing more than jugglery and deception; for she said to him, “Why hast thou cheated me, as thou art certainly Saul?”  Footnote Clarke’s comments: That Samuel did appear on this occasion, is most evident from the text; nor can this be denied from any legitimate mode of interpretation: and it is as evident that he was neither raised by the power of the devil nor the incantations of the witch, for the appearances which took place at this time were such as she was wholly unacquainted with. Her familiar did not appear; and from the confused description she gives, it is fully evident that she was both surprised and alarmed at what she saw, being so widely different from what she expected to see. Footnote In other words, the reaction of this woman indicates that she did not regularly bring up the dead, despite her vocation, and to see that this had occurred was more of shock to her than to Saul. However, her recognition of Saul (which follows in this verse) indicates that she was not a complete phoney. She was likely in league with demons, and she may even channel demons through her vocal cords, but she typically did not raise the dead.


Even though I quoted three exegetes above who testify to the validity of this apparition, Gill and Henry do not agree. I honestly don’t give much weight to their opinions here and will cover them in a footnote in v. 14.


As you must realize, I examine over a dozen commentaries when I prepare this. So far, no exegete that I have read answers the simple question...

Why did God allow Samuel to be brought up from the dead?

God has the power over Sheol (the place of the dead). He is able to bring men out of Sheol. You will recall from 1Sam. 2 that Samuel is a type of Christ; he is a shadow of Jesus Christ (1Sam. 2:36 and 7:3 is where we studied this). Therefore, God has brought Samuel up from the grave to complete the parallelism. After all, in 1Sam. 2:6b, did not Samuel’s mother testify to God’s power? “He brings [men] down to Sheol and He raises [some] up [from Sheol].” Since God will bring Jesus Christ up from the dead, He will also bring Samuel up from the dead. God has power over the grave.

I realize that this is a very short point to make, but I don’t think anyone has made it before.


Return to Chapter Outline

Return to Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines


1Samuel 28:12c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

âmar (ר ַמ ָא) [pronounced aw-MARH]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

3rd person feminine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

îshshâh (ה ָֹ ̣א) [pronounced eesh-SHAWH]

woman, wife

feminine singular noun with the definite article

Strong's #802 BDB #61

el (לא) [pronounced el]

unto, in, into, toward, to, regarding, against

directional preposition (respect or deference may be implied)

Strong's #413 BDB #39

Shâûwl (לאָש) [pronounced shaw-OOL]

which is transliterated Saul; it means asked for

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #7586 BDB #982

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to, with reference to, as to, with regards to, belonging to

preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

âmar (ר ַמ ָא) [pronounced aw-MARH]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

Qal infinitive construct

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to, with reference to, as to, with regards to, belonging to

preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

mâh (ה ָמ) [pronounced maw]

what, how, why

interrogative; exclamatory particle

Strong’s #4100 BDB #552

Lâmed + mâh can be rendered why, for what reason, to what purpose, for what purpose, indicating an interrogatory sentence.

râmâh (הָמָר) [pronounced raw-MAW]

to beguile, to deceive, to mislead, to deal treacherously with, to betray

2nd person masculine singular, Piel perfect; with the 1st person singular suffix

Strong’s #7411 BDB #941


Translation: ...So the woman says to Saul, “Why have you deceived me? This woman actually, for whatever reason, can see very clearly now. Her powers of perception have been greatly increased all of a sudden. Before she thought this was just some mark that she could play for money; and now she realizes that it is she who has been deceived. The first area of deception is, she is speaking to Saul, the king—the one who had removed all psychics from Israel. We are never told exactly how she recognized Saul. My assumption is, God the Holy Spirit had a hand in bringing up Samuel’s spirit from the dead; and He also made Saul’s identity known to the woman. However, that is simply a guess. God has a sense of humor, and His revealing of Saul’s identity may be seen as humorous. After all, this is a psychic, a woman who is ostensibly able to see beyond the great beyond, yet she does not even know that it is King Saul who is speaking to her until God reveals this to her.


Only Gordon, of the exegetes I read, ventures a guess here. He also suggests that the identity of Saul is made known to the woman by God. In addition, he mentions that some Greek manuscripts read Saul for Samuel, which does not solve the problem or answer the question. He also suggests that no one but King Saul could really be a part of conjuring up the prophet Samuel and he quotes Hamlet, Act I, Scene I to support this notion. Footnote


1Samuel 28:12d

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

attâh (הָ-א) [pronounced aht-TAW]

you (often, the verb to be is implied)

2nd person masculine singular, personal pronoun

Strong’s #859 BDB #61

Shâûwl (לאָש) [pronounced shaw-OOL]

which is transliterated Saul; it means asked for

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #7586 BDB #982


Translation: ...You [are] Saul!” For some reason, this psychic has a moment of psychic clarity and she realizes that the man sitting before her is Saul. We are not told much about why this is the case—why she has the ability to know who Saul is; but apparently, God the Holy Spirit (I am assuming) has allowed her to recognize Saul.


Another explanation is, this woman is not a complete fake. She has some connection to the demonic world. The demon spirits know this is Saul, and in whatever way, even in speaking through her voice, they make his identity known. Footnote Remember, this woman may or may not have actually known what Saul looked like; much less that he would actually travel to her specifically. If the president of the United States showed up at my doorstep in a good disguise, even if I knew he was disguised, it is highly unlikely that I would guess, hey, this is the president. This woman is shocked both to see Samuel, and to suddenly realize that the one petitioning her to bring Samuel up is Saul.


And so says to her the king, “Do not fear. For what do you see?”


And says the woman unto Saul, “Elohim I have seen coming up from the earth.”

1Samuel

28:13

So the king says to her, “Do not fear. What do you see?”


And the woman says to Saul, “I saw Elohim coming up from out of the earth.”

So the king says to her, “Don’t be afraid. Now, what do you see?”


And the woman answers Saul, saying, “I saw God coming up from out of the earth.”


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so says to her the king, “Do not fear. For what do you see?” And says the woman unto Saul, “Elohim I have seen coming up from the earth.”

Septuagint                             And the king said to her, “Fear not; tell me whom you have seen.” And the woman said to him, “I saw gods ascending out of the earth.”

 

Significant differences:          Apart from referring to Saul with a pronoun, there is no difference between the texts.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       “Don't be afraid," Saul replied. "Just tell me what you see." She answered, "I see a spirit rising up out of the ground.”

The Message                         The king told her, "You have nothing to fear . . . but what do you see?" "I see a spirit ascending from the underground.”

NAB                                       But the king said to her, “Have no fear. What do you see?” The woman answered Saul, “I see a preternatural being rising from the earth.”

REB                                       The king said to her, ‘Do not be afraid. What do you see?’ The woman answered, ‘I see a ghostly form coming up from the earth.’


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         “Don't be afraid," the king said to her. "What do you see?" "I see a god rising from the ground," the woman answered.

JPS (Tanakh)                        The king answered her, “Don’t be afraid. What do you see?” And the woman said to Saul, “I see a divine being coming up from the earth.”


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

The Amplified Bible                The king said to her, Be not afraid; what do you see? The woman said to Saul, I see a god [terrorizing superhuman being] coming up out of the earth!

ESV                                       The king said to her, "Do not be afraid. What do you see?" And the woman said to Saul, "I see a god coming up out of the earth.”

HCSB                                    But the king said to her, "Don't be afraid. What do you see?" "I see a spirit form coming up out of the earth," the woman answered.

Young's Updated LT              And the king saith to her, “Do not fear; for what hast thou seen?” and the woman saith unto Saul, “Gods I have seen coming up out of the earth.”


What is the gist of this verse? Saul calms the woman, telling her not to be afraid; and then asks what she sees. She tells Saul that she sees God coming up out of the earth.


1Samuel 28:13a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

âmar (ר ַמ ָא) [pronounced aw-MARH]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to, with reference to, as to, with regards to, belonging to

preposition with the 3rd person feminine singular suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510

meleke ( ל מ) [pronounced MEH-lek]

king, ruler, prince

masculine singular noun with the definite article

Strong’s #4428 BDB #572

al (ל-א) [pronounced al]

not; nothing; none

adverb of negation; conjunction of prohibiting, dehorting, deprecating, desire that something not be done

Strong’s #408 BDB #39.

yârê (א ֵר ָי) [pronounced yaw-RAY]

to fear, to fear-respect, to reverence, to have a reverential respect

2nd person feminine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #3372 BDB #431

There are two primary negatives in the Hebrew and this verse may help us to distinguish between them. If we had used the other negative, lô (אֹל or אל) [pronounced low]; this would read, you will not fear or you are not fearing. However, this is an order here, a command; Saul is profiting the woman from fearing. Therefore, this reads, do not fear or do not be afraid.


Translation: So the king says to her, “Do not fear. To the king, this is routine 6—you go to a psychic, she summons up whomever she is suppose to summon up, and then you ask him questions. It never occurs to Saul that most of these mediums are fakes. He has just assumed the they deliver what they claim to deliver. So he simply tries ot calm this woman down, telling her not to be afraid.


People don’t come back from the dead; their spirits do not talk to us later on. Our dreams of people who have died are not a place where we communicate directly with dead people. This isn’t some dimension that we can go to and communicate with those who have passed on. Subconsciously, we may be working out this or that; or our emotions may be working through the loss of a loved one—but typically, when a person dies, we do not see them again. Well, Saul does not know this. Therefore, when this woman cries out, and obviously sees something, Saul figures, “It’s probably Samuel. Now I can talk to him.” Therefore, he tells the woman not to be afraid.


Now let’s see if I can approach this in a different way: Saul is not afraid, as he expects this to happen; the woman, who is a fake, is totally freaked out, because she does not expect any of this to happen. She doesn’t know what the hell is going on. She was going to do some mumbo jumbo, fake a few things, and then charge Saul some money and send him on his way. The idea that she actually does see something just blows her away.


1Samuel 28:13b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

kîy (י̣) [pronounced kee]

for, that, because; when, at that time, which, what time

conjunction; preposition

Strong's #3588 BDB #471

mâh (ה ָמ) [pronounced maw]

what, how, why

interrogative; exclamatory particle

Strong’s #4100 BDB #552

Not sure yet if there is a meaning which may be assigned to this combination. Literally, for what; possibly, what.

rââh (ה ָאָר) [pronounced raw-AWH]

to see, to look, to look at, to view, to behold; to perceive, to understand, to learn, to know

2nd person feminine singular, Qal perfect

Strong's #7200 BDB #906


Translation: What do you see?” Saul is anxious to know if she sees Samuel, as opposed, say, to someone else who might be hanging about in the netherworld. Or, he just wants to know what is going on. What has happened is, the woman does see Samuel; however, Saul does not. This is how a medium is supposed to work. They see what we cannot, and provide the translation, interpretation or conversation for us. Saul sees this woman hyperventilating and he tells her to calm down and tell him what she is looking at.


Bear in mind that Samuel’s bones are buried and his body is deteriorating in the ground. His soul remains, and his soul is visible in some way to this woman.


1Samuel 28:13c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

âmar (ר ַמ ָא) [pronounced aw-MARH]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

3rd person feminine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

îshshâh (ה ָֹ ̣א) [pronounced eesh-SHAWH]

woman, wife

feminine singular noun with the definite article

Strong's #802 BDB #61

el (לא) [pronounced el]

unto, in, into, toward, to, regarding, against

directional preposition (respect or deference may be implied)

Strong's #413 BDB #39

Shâûwl (לאָש) [pronounced shaw-OOL]

which is transliterated Saul; it means asked for

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #7586 BDB #982

ělôhîym (מי̣הֹלֱא) [pronounced el-o-HEEM]

gods or God; transliterated Elohim

masculine plural noun

Strong's #430 BDB #43

rââh (ה ָאָר) [pronounced raw-AWH]

to see, to look, to look at, to view, to behold; to perceive, to understand, to learn, to know

1st person singular, Qal perfect

Strong's #7200 BDB #906

׳âlâh (ה ָל ָע) [pronounced ģaw-LAWH]

going up, ascending, coming up, climbing

Qal active participle

Strong's #5927 BDB #748

min (ן ̣מ) [pronounced min]

from, off, out from, out of, away from, on account of, since, than, more than, greater than

preposition of separation

Strong's #4480 BDB #577

erets (ץ ר א) [pronounced EH-rets]

earth (all or a portion thereof), land

feminine singular noun with the definite article

Strong's #776 BDB #75


Translation: ...And the woman says to Saul, “I saw Elohim coming up from out of the earth.” This woman is clearly freaking. She has never had a vision or an experience like this. She is good at reading her customers and then telling them things that might soothe or satisfy them. She did not expect to see anything. So, when she sees Samuel, she is so freaked, she figures he is God. The word used here is Elohim. This is the word for God, although it can also be rendered god or gods. She does not see a pantheon of mythological beings coming up out of the earth; she sees one person; so, she is not saying, “I see gods.” She is so totally freaked out at this vision, she assumes this must be God (Samuel, I am sure, in this state, must be unsettling to this woman).


Let me point out that it is interesting that the woman recognizes Saul, in disguise, but does not recognize Samuel. Her moment of clarity with Saul may have been revealed to her through demonic contact, also known, perhaps, as a moment of clairvoyant clarity; but this was actually Samuel, up from the dead—I believe that even the demons were unprepared for that, knowing even more than we the unpassable barrier between life and death.


Allow me, if you will, two tangents. First off, what is happening is real. Therefore, Samuel must come from where Samuel is. Samuel is in a place called Abraham’s bosom; between him and those who are not saved is a great gulf fixed (Jesus tells us about this in the gospels). This is somewhere in the earth; however, we are speaking of a place of spirits—we cannot start digging and find this place. When someone dies, this is apparently where they go. Therefore, when Samuel comes up to speak with this psychic, he is going to come up out of the earth.


The second tangent is this—I have heard several other people tell me (and I used this same excuse)—“I will believe in God as soon as he shows Himself to me.” All God has to do is to pop up and say, “Hey, here I am; I’m God. Check me out.” And then I would believe. This is ridiculous and fallacious for many reasons. The most obvious is what we find here—this woman sees Samuel, after he has died, in essentially a form that God allows her to see him in, and she says, “It’s God.” My point? How does the unbeliever recognize God? What happens that the unbeliever looks at this or that and says, “Okay, I recognize that as God.” Don’t give me this crap, “I’ll know God when I see Him” because you can make the statement based upon nothing in your life experience. It is just a semi-clever way of skirting the issue. Unbelievers observe the work of God’s hands every single day and do not recognize that it is God Who created all that we see. Scientists explore chemistry and biology, and the processes even at the most fundamental level are so infinitesimal and so carefully designed and directed; and yet, they often think to themselves, “This just happened. This is simply a star which exploded and then this stuff all just came about after millions of years.” So, if the unbeliever refuses to recognize a Creator from creation, how will he recognize God?


Furthermore, God cannot be seen, as He is a spirit; and any manifestation of God requires faith to begin with. Jesus was God come in the flesh—only His own sheep recognized Him. The few times Jesus admitted to those who were negative that He is God, they would take up stones to kill Him. They considered it blasphemy for Him to say this. So, these are unbelievers who look directly at God and they do not recognize Him.


At some point in time, you will talk to an unbeliever and they will give you this song and dance, “Well, God just has to show Himself to me, and I will believe.” You can tell them, that is a load of crap (perhaps phrase it differently) and point out that no one automatically identified Jesus as God. Not all believers even recognized this. When Peter confessed Jesus, this was a revelation—it was revealed to Peter that Jesus is the Son of God and he was a believer already. Furthermore, in retrospect, men do not look back to Jesus and recognize, “He is God.” So, when an unbeliever gives you this excuse, go right to Jesus (i.e., use Jesus as an illustration); and tell them that God did walk the earth, that many people saw Him and listened to Him; and not all of them recognized that He was God. In fact, it appears as though the clear majority of people did not believe that He was God. Therefore, this person’s excuse does not hold water. Also, when presenting the gospel and dealing with excuses, the best thing to do is to deal quickly with the excuse and take the conversation back to the gospel and back to Jesus. Using Him as an illustration for this objection accomplishes both of these objectives.


And so he says to her, “What [is] his form?”


And so she says, “A man old coming up and he covers himself [with] a robe.”


And so knows Saul that Samuel [is] he and so he bows [two] nostrils ground-ward and so does obeisance.

1Samuel

28:14

Then he said, “What [is] his form?”


And she says, “An old man coming up; he covers himself [with] a robe.”


Saul knew that this [lit., he] [is] Samuel and he bows his face [lit., nostrils] to the ground and does obeisance [to him].

Then Saul said, “What does he look like?”


And she said, “An old man wearing a robe.”


Saul knew that this was Samuel, so he bowed himself to the ground and did obeisance to him.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so he says to her, “What [is] his form?”

And so she says, “A man old coming up and he covers himself [with] a robe.”

And so knows Saul that Samuel [is] he and so he bows [two] nostrils ground-ward and so does obeisance.

Peshitta                                 And he said to her, “What is their appearance?” And she said to him, “An old man is coming up; and he is covered with a mantle.” And Saul perceived that it was Samuel, and he bowed with his face to the ground and made obeisance.

Septuagint                             And he said to her, “What did you perceive?” And she said to him, “An upright man ascending out of the earth, and he [is] clothed with a mantel.” And Saul knew that this was Samuel, and he stooped with his face to the earth, and did obeisance to him.

 

Significant differences:          The minor differences are noted; none of them are significant (except that the Peshitta has a plural possessive pronoun). The LXX was probably given over to interpretation rather than to possessing a different text.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       "What does it look like?" "It looks like an old man wearing a robe." Saul knew it was Samuel, so he bowed down low.

NLT                                               “What does he look like?” Saul asked.

“He is an old man wrapped in a robe,” she replied. Saul realized that it was Samuel, and he fell to the ground before him.

REB                                       ‘What is it like?’ he asked; she answered, ‘Like an old man coming up, wrapped in a cloak.’ Then Saul knew it was Samuel, and he bowed low with his face ot the ground, an prostrated himself.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         "In what form?" he asked her. She answered, "An old man is coming up, and he's wearing a robe." Then Saul knew it was Samuel. Saul knelt down with his face touching the ground.

JPS (Tanakh)                        “What does he look like?” he asked her. “It is an old man coming up,” she said, “and he is wrapped in a robe.” Then Saul knew that it was Samuel; and he bowed low in homage with his face to the ground.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

HCSB                                    Then Saul asked her, "What does he look like?" "An old man is coming up," she replied. "He's wearing a robe." Then Saul knew that it was Samuel, and he bowed his face to the ground and paid homage.

MKJV                                     And he said to her, What is his form? And she said, An old man comes up, and he is covered with a cloak. And Saul saw that it was Samuel, and he bowed his face to the ground, and prostrated himself.

Young's Updated LT              And he says to her, “What is his form?” And she says, “An aged man is coming up, and he is covered with an upper robe;” and Saul knows that he is Samuel, and bows—face to you earth—and does obeisance.


What is the gist of this verse? Saul asks for a physical description, and she tells him it is an old man coming up wearing a robe. Saul knows this is Samuel (he cannot see him); and he prostrates himself in respect.


1Samuel 28:14a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

âmar (ר ַמ ָא) [pronounced aw-MARH]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to, with reference to, as to, with regards to, belonging to

preposition with the 3rd person feminine singular suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510

mâh (ה ָמ) [pronounced maw]

what, how, why

interrogative; exclamatory particle

Strong’s #4100 BDB #552

tôar (ר ַאֹ) [pronounced TOH-ahr]

a striking figure, an eye-catching form, a form which stands out, which catches your eye, which gets your attention; a form

masculine singular noun with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #8389 BDB #1061


Translation: Then he said, “What [is] his form?” All of this is routine 6 to Saul. He has not been to a psychic before; he has assumed that these are legitimate people who contact the dead, and that God did not allow that (i.e., they were able to contact the dead, but God did not like that). On the other hand, this woman is panicked; she is freaking out, because she actually does see Samuel. Saul is calm as can be, not realizing that God is allowing something pretty wild to occur. Saul, knowing that he has contracted her to contact Samuel, assumes that it is Samuel, and asks about what he looks like.


1Samuel 28:14b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

âmar (ר ַמ ָא) [pronounced aw-MARH]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

3rd person feminine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

îysh (שי ̣א) [pronounced eesh]

a man, a husband; anyone; a certain one; each, each one, everyone

masculine singular noun

Strong's #376 BDB #35

zâkên (ן ֵקָז) [pronounced zaw-KANE]

old, elderly, aged

masculine singular adjective

Strong’s #2205 BDB #278

׳âlâh (ה ָל ָע) [pronounced ģaw-LAWH]

going up, ascending, coming up, climbing

Qal active participle

Strong's #5927 BDB #748


Translation: And she says, “An old man coming up;... If you will recall, the Bible several times refers to Samuel as an old man. He is called an old man in one passage, and then, about 20 years later, he is called an old man. So, this was the way that most people would recall him. As we are in some sort of spirit form at death, whatever physical manifestation there would be to us is unclear. God has apparently allowed Samuel to return looking as he did during the final 20 years of his life. That would not have been my choice for my appearance, but I am a lot more vain than Samuel.


1Samuel 28:14c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

hûw (אה) [pronounced hoo]

he, it

3rd person masculine singular, personal pronoun

Strong’s #1931 BDB #214

׳âţâh (ה ָט ָע) [pronounced ģaw-TAW]

to cover, to cover over; to clothe oneself; to envelop, to wrap oneself; to conceal, to wrap up, to roll up; to become languid, to faint, to faint away

Qal active participle

Strong’s #5844 BDB #741

me׳îyl (לי.עמ) [pronounced meĢEEL]

robe, upper coat or cloak

masculine singular

Strong’s #4598 BDB #591


Translation: ...he covers himself [with] a robe.” Apparently, there was a characteristic robe which Samuel wore, and that is what is being referred to here. Recall that God knows what is going on, that Saul wants to contact Samuel, and therefore, is allowing for his appearance to be as Saul would think of him. Therefore, the barest of descriptions is good for Saul. Now, either we are just getting a small portion of her description of Samuel, or Saul is hearing just what he wants to hear. An old man covered in a robe really could be a description of a large number of people.


1Samuel 28:14d

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

yâda׳ (עַדָי) [pronounced yaw-DAHĢ]

to know, to perceive, to acquire knowledge, to become acquainted, to know by experience, to have a knowledge of something; to see

3rd person masculine singular, Qal perfect

Strong’s #3045 BDB #393

Shâûwl (לאָש) [pronounced shaw-OOL]

which is transliterated Saul; it means asked for

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #7586 BDB #982

kîy (י̣) [pronounced kee]

for, that, because; when, at that time, which, what time

conjunction; preposition

Strong's #3588 BDB #471

Shemûwêl (ל̤אמש) [pronounced she-moo-ALE]

which means heard of El; it is transliterated Samuel

proper masculine noun

Strong’s #8050 BDB #1028

hûw (אה) [pronounced hoo]

he, it

3rd person masculine singular, personal pronoun

Strong’s #1931 BDB #214


Translation: Saul knew that this [lit., he] [is] Samuel... Even though, this description would do little or nothing for us—that is, we’d hear the description and think, “Well, sure, maybe it is just some old Bible guy.” However, this is exactly how Saul pictured Samuel, and this limited description is exactly what Saul expected to hear (or, as mentioned, we might not be getting all of the description). He is positive that it is Samuel (which it is).


Let’s approach this from a slightly different angle. Saul has gone to this woman to bring up Samuel from the dead. She does bring someone up from the dead, but that, of course, freaks her out. Even if a person is in league with demons, this sort of thing is not allowed. So, perhaps Saul is simply looking for a few confirmatory remarks which would indicate, “Yes, that is what Samuel looks like. You’ve called up the right person.” Let me see if I can give you a parallel situation: your secretary calls up the home phone of a male colleague, who has a wife, two daughters and no sons. He answers the phone and she is not sure if it is him. You ask, “What does he sound like?” “It’s a masculine voice,...” “That’s him.” You do not need a full description; the idea of the description is more of a confirmation. That is probably what is happening here. Quite obviously, this means that Saul cannot see Samuel.


In the previous verse, we could have gone in either direction; that is, we could have interpreted what the woman said as god, God or gods. Let delve into this point by point:

Should Elohim be Understood as Singular or Plural Here?

Scripture

Verse/Explanation

1Sam. 28:13b

And the woman says to Saul, “I saw Elohim coming up from out of the earth.” What is in the plural has been underlined.

1Sam. 28:14

Then he said, “What [is] his form?”


And she says, “An old man coming up; he covers himself [with] a robe.”


Saul knew that this [lit., he] [is] Samuel and he bows his face [lit., nostrils] to the ground and does obeisance [to him]. All singular references to Samuel are in boldface. There are no plural references here.

Explanation #1:

Since Elohim is a plural noun, it takes a plural verb. Therefore, the woman used the masculine plural verb coming up with Elohim. The only problem with this is, often Elohim takes a singular verb (Gen. 1:1, for instance).

Explanation #2:

There is an interesting thing about people. People often exaggerate when a situation does do not warrant exaggeration. She may have been saying gods are coming up, even though she saw but one form. She may have exaggerated the vision in her hysteria.

Explanation #3:

This woman may have thought God was coming from the earth; she may have used a plural verb by mistake—because she was so shaken up or because Hebrew is not her native language. However, it is clear by what Saul says and what she then says that we are speaking of one person. I believe that this is the correct interpretation of the situation.

Explanation #4:

Clarke suggests Footnote that there was first an angelic apparition (angels coming out of the ground) followed by Samuel. Although this is possible, I doubt that this explains the situation.

I realize that some of these things may not require discussion in your eyes; I tend to get anal retentive about them, and therefore, I want to explore the possibilities. One might assert that there is a contraction here, but that is certainly not the case. Any of the explanations explain the apparent contradiction of plural vs. singular.


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1Samuel 28:14e

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

qâdad (ד-ד ָק) [pronounced kaw-DAHD]

to bow down, to worship, to prostrate oneself [out of honor or reverence]

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #6915 BDB #869

aphayim (מ̣י-פ ַא) [pronounced ah-fah-YIM]

face; noses, nostrils, but is also translated brows, face; anger, fierce anger

masculine dual noun

Strong’s #639 BDB #60

erets (ץ ר א) [pronounced EH-rets]

earth (all or a portion thereof), land

feminine singular noun with the directional hê suffix

Strong's #776 BDB #75


Translation: ...and he bows his face [lit., nostrils] to the ground... Saul here may or may not be overcome with emotion. However, he feels the proper thing to do is to bow down before Samuel—although, Samuel is not actually there in a physical presence that Saul can see (recall, Saul asked the woman what does he look like).


1Samuel 28:14f

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

shâchah (הָחָש) [pronounced shaw-KHAW]

to bow down, to prostrate oneself, to do obeisance to; to honor [with prayers]; to do homage to, to submit to

3rd person masculine singular, Hithpael imperfect

Strong’s #7812 BDB #1005


Translation: ...and does obeisance [to him]. This is what Saul thinks he should do in a case like this. He is thinking that Samuel is right there looking at him, so he bows down, showing him respect, if not reverence. Gill seems to disparage this notion that Saul is revering Samuel, but instead, getting on the ground to hear better. Footnote The two phrases together are always used for reverence, not for simply laying down on the ground. Furthermore, if anyone is going to know how to do the wrong thing, it is Saul.


It is interesting that the woman allows the woman to see Samuel, but does not let Saul see him.


And so says Samuel unto Saul, “For why have you disturbed me to bring me up?”


And so says Saul, “An adversary to me great and Philistines waging war in me and Elohim has departed from over me and has not answered me yet, both in a hand of the prophets and in dreams; and so I call to you to make me know what I am doing.”

1Samuel

28:15

Then Samuel said to Saul, “Why have you disturbed me, to bring me up?”


And Saul answered [lit., said], “[There is] great distress to me—the Philistines are waging war against me and Elohim has departed from me and still does not answer me, either by the hand of the prophets or by dreams; so I called to you to make me know what I should do.”

Then Samuel said to Saul, “Why have you disturbed me, bringing me up?”


And Saul answered, saying, “I am under great pressure right now—the Philistines are waging war against me and God apparently has departed from me, as He will not answer me, either through the prophets or by dreams; therefore, I call upon you to tell me what I should do.”


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so says Samuel unto Saul, “For why have you disturbed me to bring me up?”

so says Saul, “An adversary to me great and Philistines waging war in me and Elohim has departed from over me and has not answered me yet, both in a hand of the prophets and in dreams; and so I call to you to make me know what I am doing.”

Peshitta                                 And Samuel said to Saul, “Why have you disturbed me to bring me up?” And Saul answered, “I am sore distressed; for the Philistines are making war against me, and God has departed from me, and answers me no more although I have inquired by the prophets and also by dreams. Therefore I have called you, that you ma tell me what I should do.”

Septuagint                             And Samuel said, “Why have you troubled me, that I should come up?” And Saul said, “I am greatly distressed, and the Philistines war against me, and God has departed from me, and He no longer has listened to me, either by the hand of prophets or by dreams. And now I have called you to tell me what I should do.”

 

Significant differences:          No significant differences.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       “Why are you bothering me by bringing me up like this?" Samuel asked. "I'm terribly worried," Saul answered. "The Philistines are about to attack me. God has turned his back on me and won't answer any more by prophets or by dreams. What should I do?”

NLT                                               “Why have you disturbed me by calling me back?” Samuel asked.

“Because I am in deep trouble,” Saul replied. “The Philistines are at war with us, and God has left me and won’t reply by prophets or dreams. So I have called for you to tell me what to do.”

TEV                                              Samuel said to Saul, “Why have you disturbed me? Why did you make me come back?”

Saul answered, “I am in great trouble. The Philistines are at war with me, and God has abandoned me. He doesn’t answer me any more, either by prophets or by dreams. And so I have called you, for you to tell me what I must do.”


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         Samuel asked Saul, "Why did you disturb me by conjuring me up?" Saul answered, "I'm in serious trouble. The Philistines are at war with me, and God has turned against me and doesn't answer me anymore-either by the prophets or in dreams. So I've called on you to tell me what to do.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

HCSB                                    “Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?" Samuel asked Saul. "I'm in serious trouble," replied Saul. "The Philistines are fighting against me and God has turned away from me. He doesn't answer me any more, either through the prophets or in dreams. So I've called on you to tell me what I should do.”

MKJV                                     And Samuel said to Saul, Why have you disturbed me, to bring me up? And Saul answered, I am grievously distressed, for the Philistines are warring against me. And God has left me and does not answer me any more, neither by prophets nor by dreams. And I have called you so that you may make known to me what I should do.

Young's Updated LT              And Samuel says unto Saul, `Why have you troubled me, to bring me up?” And Saul says, “I have great distress, and the Philistines are fighting against me, God has turned aside from me, and has not answered me any more, either by the hand of the prophets, or by dreams; and I call for you to let me know what I do.”


What is the gist of this verse? Samuel asks Saul (apparently directly) why he has brought him up from the dead. Saul tells him that he is under great pressure because the Philistines are going to war against him and God has turned away from him. “God will not answer me, not by prophets or in dreams. Therefore, I have called upon you to tell me what to do.”


1Samuel 28:15a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and StrongR