Saul and the soothsayer at Endor (1 Sam 28:3-28:14)

“Saul had expelled the soothsayers and the wizards from the land. The Philistines assembled. They came and encamped at Shunem. Saul gathered all Israel. They encamped at Gilboa. When Saul saw the army of the Philistines, he was afraid. His heart trembled greatly. When Saul inquired of Yahweh, Yahweh did not answer him, not by dreams, or by Urim, or by prophets. Then Saul said to his servants. ‘Seek out for me a woman who is a soothsayer medium, so that I may go to her and inquire of her.’ His servants said to him. ‘There is a medium at Endor.’”

Saul wanted all the soothsayers, the mediums and wizards out of Israel. Saul got ready for the battle but he is afraid of the Philistines.Shunem was in the Issachar territory. Gilboa was a few miles away. Endor was in Issachar but a Manasseh city about 4 miles south of Mount Tabor. Yahweh was not responding to Saul either by dreams or prophets. Thus he wanted a soothsayer medium to tell him what was going to happen to him.

“So Saul disguised himself and put on other clothes. He went there to Endor, he and two men with him. They came to the woman by night. He said. ‘Consult a spirit for me. Bring up for me the one whom I name to you.’ The woman said to him. ‘Surely you know what Saul has done, how he has cut off the soothsayers and the wizards from the land. Why then are you laying a snare for my life to bring about my death?’ But Saul swore to her by Yahweh. ‘As Yahweh lives, no punishment shall come upon you for this thing.’ Then the woman said. ‘Whom shall I bring up for you?’ He answered. ‘Bring up Samuel for me.’”

Saul put on old clothes and went at night with 2 other men to the woman soothsayer at Endor.   Saul wanted her to consult with a dead person. However, she was careful to note that King Saul had said that it was against the law to do that since he had banned all the soothsayers and wizards. She would be putting her life in danger if she did this. However, Saul assured her by Yahweh that he would never report her. She seems reassured and wants to know who she should call up? Saul responds Samuel. Interesting enough, Saul seemed to think that this soothsayer had some value.

“When the woman saw Samuel, she cried out with a loud voice. The woman said to Saul. ‘Why have you deceived me? You are Saul.’ The king said to her. ‘Have no fear. What do you see?’ The woman said to Saul. ‘I see a diving being coming up out of the earth.’ He said to her. ‘What is his appearance?’ She said. ‘An old man is coming up. He is wrapped in a robe.’ So Saul knew that it was Samuel. He bowed with his face to the ground, and did obeisance.”

When the soothsayer saw Samuel, she recognized Saul. She wanted to know why Saul had deceived her. Saul once again reassured her that everything would be all right. She said that a divine being or a god is coming forth. With his death Samuel has become divine or like a god. When Saul say him, he immediately fell on his face and bowed before him.

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