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1 Samuel 27-28

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No service next Wednesday

Introduction

In chapter 26, we saw what was almost a replay of the events of chapter 24.

There were plenty of differences, but the similarity was that David could have killed Saul, yet spared his life.

He had a conviction not to touch the LORD’s anointed … but to allow the LORD to do what He will with Saul.
God had anointed David to be the next king of Israel.
But that was up to God’s timing … and to some extent, David understood that and was willing to yield to it.
At the same time, it was really hard for David.
He was not only under the threat of being killed by Saul, … he was essentially exiled.
In fact, in the last chapter, David lamented, “For they have driven me out this day from sharing in the inheritance of the Lord, saying, ‘Go, serve other gods.’”
for they have driven me out this day from sharing in the inheritance of the Lord, saying, ‘Go, serve other gods.’
1 Samuel
1 Samuel 26:19 NKJV
Now therefore, please, let my lord the king hear the words of his servant: If the Lord has stirred you up against me, let Him accept an offering. But if it is the children of men, may they be cursed before the Lord, for they have driven me out this day from sharing in the inheritance of the Lord, saying, ‘Go, serve other gods.’
1 Samuel 26:19 NKJV
Now therefore, please, let my lord the king hear the words of his servant: If the Lord has stirred you up against me, let Him accept an offering. But if it is the children of men, may they be cursed before the Lord, for they have driven me out this day from sharing in the inheritance of the Lord, saying, ‘Go, serve other gods.’
The lies of Saul’s men, and Saul’s continual pursuit of David was preventing him from being able to live in his family lands.
1 Samuel 26:
It was also keeping him from being able to worship the Lord at the tabernacle.
And from chapter to chapter, it seemed as if David had resolved himself to dependence on the Lordand now suddenly he’s relying on himself.
When you read through David’s Psalms, He seems to have had extreme moments of exhilaration and extreme moments of doubt and discouragement.
and he seems to have had extreme moments of exhilaration and extreme moments of doubt and discouragement.
And chapter 26 is one of those times when it seems like David would have been on a great spiritual high.
But then in the beginning of chapter 27, we find that he’s in a valley of doubt and acting impulsively.
In his later years, David recorded God saying, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye. Do not be like the horse or like the mule” (, nkjv).
Do not read below:
Psalm 32:8–9 NKJV
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye. Do not be like the horse or like the mule, Which have no understanding, Which must be harnessed with bit and bridle, Else they will not come near you.
Do not be like the horse or like the mule … an interesting instruction from the LORD.
The horse is impulsive and tries to throw it’s driver.
It rushes forward, wants to go where it wants and requires a whip to follow directions.
The mule is stubborn and holds back.
All of us have done both.
God doesn’t want to deal with us as men deal with animals.
He wants to be close to us and guide us with His instruction, the way a parent guides a child.
These chapters record some experiences of David when he was bucking against the Lord, instead of being attentive to God’s loving guidance.
----

In the last chapter, David had kind of strangely alluded to going to the lands of the ungodly.

These chapters record the experiences of David when he was living without that kind of intimate, loving guidance.

And now, in this Chapter, David follows through on that thought … going to the land of the Philistines.

It is an indication of David’s desperation, and unfortunately doubt ... that he was prepared to go to the very enemies he had successfully fought on Israel’s behalf, and offer them his services.
He may have gone over to the Philistines in an act of desperation, but David didn’t have any intention of becoming a traitor.
However, to live in Philistine territory, he would have to appear to be a traitor.
And he does just that … and it works.
But as is always the case, when we
This was not David’s first attempt to enlist Philistine protection, as you may remember.
He had fled to Gath as recorded in chapter 21 … a humbling experience in which he had to act insane in order to get out alive.
This time, however, the situation turned out very different.
Prayer: Lord, this evening we open up Your word desiring to hear from You ... not man's word or wisdom, but Your Words and Wisdom. Please soften our hearts to receive from You. Teach us about Your love for us so that we may also love one another. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

V1-4

Notice that it says David said in his heart.

The heart that the Bible so often speaks of is not the muscle in our chest that pumps blood.

Scripturally, the heart is the seat of the emotions.
This is why in scripture the heart is at times described as "troubled, fearful, joyful, and glad" ... or even "filled with hatred" or "filled with love."
The heart is the location of the intellect, the place where knowledge and understanding reside ... the seat of emotions, the will, and morality.
When we say “Jesus is seated on the throne of my heart” we re not talking about Jesus sitting on a little throne inside your physical heart.
not talking about Jesus sitting on a little throne inside your physical heart.
Instead, it's about handing over your emotions, will, morality, knowledge, understanding and intellect to the LORD to do with as He wishes.
the heart is the location of the intellect, the place where knowledge and understanding reside ... the seat of emotions, the will, and morality
We see this illustrated really well in the language of :
NKJV
Proverbs 4:23 NKJV
Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life.
David’s issue here was not manic depression.
Some would have you believe that David was a Biblical example of manic depression … severe ups and severe downs.
But the true problem was that at times he yielded himself over to the Lord and at other times he himself claimed the seat of his heart.
And so we have this phrasing here … “David said in his heart.”
He was acting not according to what he knew … but according to what he felt.
And our feelings very often lie to us, drawing us away from what is the truth.
What is the truth here?
The truth here is that God had chosen David as the next king of Israel and God’s prophet Samuel had anointed David for that purpose.
God had seen David through all the difficulties up to this point.
And God would see him through whatever was to come.
But David is listening to his feelings and he feels that taking matters into his own hands would be better than waiting on the Lord.
The hide-and-seek existence in the Judean wilderness was getting to him.
I shall now perish one day by the hand of Saul expressed the human fear David had, living like a hunted animal.
I shall now perish one day by the hand of Saul expressed the human fear David had, living like a hunted animal. Though he knew that he had been anointed to be king, and had seen the Lord’s providential ordering of his life, he could not bear indefinitely the hide-and-seek existence in Judah’s barren wilderness, especially now that he had his wives to provide for. The hospitality of Achish at Gath, in welcoming not only an army of six hundred but also wives and children, was remarkable, and demonstrates David’s power to charm even an enemy king. David’s ruse succeeded and Saul sought for him no more.
Saul’s predictable false repentance followed by his renewed hunting of David was taking a severe toll.
What we have recorded for us are the important events … what we don’t have recorded is the day to day struggle for survival.

It was all getting to him.

How much worse could living with the Philistines be?
David couldn’t live in his families land.
He had to stay in hiding in Israel … his own people were revealing his position to Saul.
He couldn’t worship the LORD at the Tabernacle.
He was an exile in the promised land … how much different could it be actually living with the Philistines?
----

Gath was one of five major Philistine cities.

Ashdod and Ashkelon were both coastal cities and Gath was about 10 miles inland in a triangle from them.

Gath is one of the major five Philistine cities. It lies about ten miles inland from Ashdod. and Ashkelon, Ashdod, and Ashkelon both being on the coast, and Gath made sort of a triangle about ten miles inland from these two Philistine cities, down in the southern part, fifty kilometers from Beersheba, this city of Gath.
It was about ten miles inland from Ashdod and Ashkelon.
Ashkelon, Ashdod, and Ashkelon both being on the coast, and Gath made sort of a triangle about ten miles inland from these two Philistine cities, down in the southern part, fifty kilometers from Beersheba, this city of Gath.
The ruins of Gath are still there today and can be visited.
Around the entire site and still visible, are ancient siege fortifications built by king Hazael, who, according to 2 Kings 17, destroyed Gath.
Surprisingly, David would find a welcome from Achish, the king of Gath.
Though he knew that he had been anointed to be king, and had seen the Lord’s providential ordering of his life, he could not bear indefinitely the hide-and-seek existence in Judah’s barren wilderness, especially now that he had his wives to provide for. The hospitality of Achish at Gath, in welcoming not only an army of six hundred but also wives and children, was remarkable, and demonstrates David’s power to charm even an enemy king. David’s ruse succeeded and Saul sought for him no more.
He would provided refuge for David on two occasions and considered him an ally.
Achish first appears in , where David escapes from Saul and seeks refuge with King Achish of Gath, but deceives Achish by pretending to be insane.
The title of refers to this episode but uses the name Abimelech in place of Achish.
The title of refers to this episode but uses the name Abimelech in place of Achish.
This is probably because Abi-Melek was also a title, “Father King.”
It is likely that Achish went by both names … the latter being a more formal title.
David had deceived Achish by pretending to be insane … and this second time, David would deceive him by lying about the location of raids he conducted against neighboring villages.
The hospitality of Achish at Gath, in welcoming not only an army of six hundred but also wives and children, was remarkable, and demonstrates David’s power to charm even an enemy king. David’s ruse succeeded and Saul sought for him no more.
The hospitality of Achish at Gath, in welcoming not only an army of six hundred but also wives and children, was remarkable, and demonstrates David’s power to charm even an enemy king. David’s ruse succeeded and Saul sought for him no more.
We’ll get more into these raids as we study.

The hospitality of Achish at Gath, in welcoming not only an army of six hundred but also wives and children, was remarkable.

It demonstrates a few things … (A) David’s power to charm even an enemy king, and (B) God’s continued care of David.
David’s ruse succeeded and Saul sought for him no more.
V5-8
1 and 2 Samuel: An Introduction and Commentary i. With Achish, King of Gath (27:1–28:2)

I shall now perish one day by the hand of Saul expressed the human fear David had, living like a hunted animal. Though he knew that he had been anointed to be king, and had seen the Lord’s providential ordering of his life, he could not bear indefinitely the hide-and-seek existence in Judah’s barren wilderness, especially now that he had his wives to provide for. The hospitality of Achish at Gath, in welcoming not only an army of six hundred but also wives and children, was remarkable, and demonstrates David’s power to charm even an enemy king. David’s ruse succeeded and Saul sought for him no more.

In fact, even though this was technically a stumble for David, God would use it to shore up David’s eventual kingdom.
---
Verse 4 tells us that with David’s seeming defection, Saul sought David no more.
That could be because of

V5-8

From every point of view it was good that David should move away from Achish’s capital, Gath.

For the king … it must have been the subject of much gossip that he had allowed David and his army to dwell in Gath.

For David, it was good because he needed freedom to operate without being observed too closely by Achish.
but especially because he needed freedom to operate his own independent policy without being observed too closely. Achish, in his role as king of a city-state with dependencies, had the feudal right to bestow land, and his choice of Ziklag for David was particularly suitable. In the first place it was a border-town in the foothills between Philistine and Simeonite territory; though allocated to Simeon (; ), in it is listed among Judah’s towns, but either it was never occupied or it was reconquered by the Philistines. From the time of Achish’s gift, Ziklag belonged to the kings of Judah (v. 6). From David’s point of view Ziklag had the advantage of being well away from Saul’s territory and isolated from the Philistine pentapolis. Its main disadvantage was that it tended to be the target of marauding bands from the desert, Amalekites particularly. Geshurites, mentioned in , lived between southern Philistia and Egypt, and need to be distinguished from people of the same name in northern Transjordan (). Girzites are not otherwise known.
Achish’s choice of Ziklag for David was particularly suitable.
For Achish, it preserved what he must have felt was a profitable trophy relationship with this exiled Israel conquerer.
It provided distance to silence criticism of Achish and it preserved his relationship with David.
With David on his side, he may also have hoped to have won the support of Judah against Saul.
This might have enabled him to take the whole land, as he very nearly did in the battle of Mount Gilboa later on in chapter 31.
For David, it was distance and location.
Ziklag was about 14 miles to the south of Gath, in the foothills between Philistine territory and the land allocated to the Israelite tribe of Simeon.
It was far enough from the major cities of the Philistines for David to operate and it was just far enough from Saul’s territory.
In Ziklag is listed among Judah’s towns, but either it was never occupied or it was reconquered by the Philistines.

Its main disadvantage was that it tended to be the target of marauding bands from the desert.

Perhaps this was another advantage for Achish … David and his men could provide some protection from the Amalekites, Geshurites, and the Girzites.
Amalekites were the same group the came against Israel in Exodus 1.
The Geshurites are also mentioned in among the people that had been left unconquered by Israel in the conquest of Canaan.
They lived between southern Philistia and Egypt
Girzites are not otherwise known.
They may have lived in the Mt. Gerizim area … later associated with the Samaritans.
The text here says that these were groups that had dwelt in this land from ancient days.
The job of conquering all the land of Canaan had been left incomplete by the Israelites.
David, during his reign as king would expand the kingdom, defeating many of the peoples that were left from the original conquest.
He seems to be starting this conquest here.
In fact, he would eventually defeat the Philistines so thoroughly that they were never again a serious threat to the Israelites’ security.
He would start his conquest of the land now.

V9-12

David then and his men began to invade areas around them.

He defeated the Philistines so thoroughly that they were never again a serious threat to the Israelites’ security, and he annexed the coastal region. He went on to establish an empire by becoming the overlord of many small kingdoms bordering on Israel, including Edom, Moab, and Ammon.

They would go out and totally wipe out a city.

They’d kill everybody so that there'd be no one to come back and tell people what was happening.
Verse 10 says that when Achish would ask where David had raided on a given day, David would say he had been fighting against Judah.
A year and four months gives a helpful indication of the time-scale. David was sufficiently long in Ziklag to build up relationships with Israelites living in the far south (cf. ).
V9-12

David then and his men began to invade areas around them.

They would go out and totally wipe out a city.

They’d kill everybody so that there'd be no one to come back and tell people what was happening.
Verse 10 says that Achish would ask where David had raided on a given day.
David would report that he had fought against Judah and Judah’s allies, the Jerahmeelites and the Kenites.
And Achish was thinking that the people of Judah would absolutely hate David, and so he could never return to Israel.
Of course, David was not just blindly raiding for the purpose of raiding.
He was defeating Israel’s enemies and developing relationships with Judahites living in the far south.
David directed his attacks against the plunderers who despoiled Judean as well as Philistine towns.
Verse 7 had told us that David and his men lived there 16 months … plenty of time to really establish strong relationships with the nearby Israelites.
His policy of extermination protected him from informers who might have told Achish that David was playing a double game. David would report that he had fought against Judah or Judah’s allies, the Jerahmeelites (), whom David had protected together with the Kenites (). The latter tribe had entered the wilderness of Judah near Arad, to the east of Beersheba, and settled in that region. In fact he fought only against their common enemies, but Achish trusted David, believing that David was alienating himself from his own people out of loyalty to the Philistines, whose vassal he appeared to be: my servant always (cf. ).

Chapter 28

V1-2

Achish was preparing for war to gain supremacy over Israel.

The text doesn’t say it here, but we know that this would be the battle in which Saul and his sons would be killed.

And so we see here that David found himself in a difficult spot.

Not only had Achish committed his army to fighting against Saul … but Achish had appointed David to become his chief bodyguard.
David’s answer, designed to avoid a straight reply, satisfied Achish but left David wondering how he would escape this dilemma.

V3-7

So, the battle lines are already being drawn, but Saul is frightened.

It seems that he has no heart for the battle.

What was the source of his fear?
He had shown little fear of the Lord to this point.
Perhaps it was the size of the Philistine army?
Or perhaps it was that Saul knew David might be with them?
Well, from the facts here, we might surmise that Saul was fearful because he was boxed in.
You see, Gilboa is up in the area just south of the Sea of Galilee, well inside Israelite territory.
So, the Philistines had really pushed Saul and his army back and taken a lot of Israel’s land.
Now Gilboa is up in the area just south of the Sea of Galilee. So the Philistines had really moved a long way against the Israelites. Gilboa is clear over-actually the one side of Gilboa goes down to the Jordan River. So the Philistines had really taken a lot of the territories at this point. Saul was being boxed in to just a very small area. There he was encamped in Gilboa.
Shunem, in the Valley of Jezreel, where the Philistines were camped was about twenty miles north of Aphek, the most northerly Philistine city.
Their intention was to press further east all the way to the Jordan.
Saul chose Mount Gilboa for the vantage point … to see the movements of the Philistines.
So, encamped in Gilboa, Saul was being cornered.
And he desperately needs someone for counsel.
He desperately needs someone on whom to lean for advice and encouragement, but finds himself totally isolated.
But he finds himself totally isolated.
The reminder of verse 1 that Samuel had died emphasizes for us just how isolated Saul was feeling.
And then the fact that the Lord was not answering his inquiries brings the point home further.
Of course, earlier he had disregarded Samuel altogether and he certainly was not in the habit of listening to the Lord.
And
But there was another mention … not just Samuel … but of mediums and spiritists.
The Hebrew word for “mediums” is Obot and for “spiritists” is Yiddoni.
One practiced channeling the dead and the other practiced divination.
Saul had done well in putting them out of the land … the Law of God spoke against them.
But now Saul is rethinking that.
The repeated mention of Samuel’s death and burial (cf. ) shows Saul deprived of the great prophet’s guidance, which in any case he had earlier disregarded. The illicit substitutes for prophets—mediums (Heb. ʾōbôt), who consulted the dead, and wizards (Heb. yiddĕʿonîm), ‘who chirp and mutter’ () as they speak on behalf of the dead—Saul had banned from Israel. By his own action in obedience to the law (; ; ), Saul had rightly cut himself off from the resort of those who did not know the Lord. The fact that he now regrets this indicates how far he has departed from his early commitment (e.g. ). He had the worst of both worlds.
The fact that he now regrets this indicates how far he has departed from his early commitment.
When he first was anointed king, he had access to the instruction of the LORD through Samuel.
But he had hardened his heart toward those things.
----

Like many other things, Saul had not done a good job of kicking the mediums out of the land.

Saul’s choice of Mount Gilboa, a vantage-point from which to observe the movements of the enemy on the western slopes of the Hill of Moreh across the valley. Saul was afraid with the kind of fear that gnaws physically and incapacitates a person for action. The Lord did not answer him by any of the permitted means that remained: dreams, which could have given him direct guidance, Urim, the priestly oracle, of which he had deprived himself when he killed the priests at Nob (), or by prophets, trained in Samuel’s school (). Despite Saul’s legislation against mediums, the king’s own servants were well aware that they still practised their trade. Endor was only a short distance away, on the north of the Hill of Moreh, and accessible despite the Philistine forces close by.
1 and 2 Samuel: An Introduction and Commentary ii. Saul Consults a Medium (28:3–25)

When this episode opens, the battle lines are already being drawn, but Saul has no heart for the battle. He desperately needs someone on whom to lean for advice and encouragement, but finds himself totally isolated.

In fact, his own servants were well aware that they were still in the land.

And Endor was only a short distance away, on the north of the Hill of Moreh, and accessible despite the Philistine forces close by.

v8-10

Saul disguised himself to go to the witch of Endor.

For one thing, he didn’t want her to be afraid of him.
And for another, he knew what he was doing was wrong.
It’s such a picture of the confusion that seemed to rule Saul’s life.

He misses his connection with the LORD, but is willing to go to a witch … literally a demon possessed woman.

We miss it in the NKJV, but in verse 7, where it says “Medium” it’s a different Hebrew word from before.
It’s Baalah … which means “one with a familiar spirit.”
In other words, she was a demon-possessed woman.
that's what it means, "a familiar spirit," a demon-possessed woman. Going to her for counsel and advice, bringing back a spirit.
Today, many Christians dabble with things that are demonic, thinking it’s just fun and games and not realizing the darkness they are inviting.
Even in some popular Christian literature and teaching we find the introduction of occult things … like praying in circles.
-----

Why was Saul seeking to consult with Samuel’s spirit here?

Maybe he hoped that Samuel would somehow reverse the judgment which he had pronounced against Saul and his kingdom.

He was certainly feeling that prophecy of Samuel nearing fulfillment.
Later, in verse 15, Saul states his reason to Samuel as, “That you may reveal to me what I should do.”
Therefore I have called you, that you may reveal to me what I should do.”
The unsaid part is probably, “So that I can avoid this judgment against me.”
As for the witch, she suspects a trap and fears for her life.
As for the witch, she suspects a trap and fears for her life.
And, inconsistent as ever, Saul swears, “As the Lord lives,” that she will be safe.

v11-12

The implication here is that the woman was surprised when Samuel appeared to her.

It was a moment of revelation for her.

She realized that the person who was consulting her was Saul, the king.
We are not told how it was she became aware of this … only that suddenly she became aware.
What is interesting is that by her reaction we are given the impression that actually having a spirit appear was an extraordinary event for her, and a frightening one!
The incident does not tell us anything about the veracity of claims to consult the dead on the part of mediums, because the indications are that this was an extraordinary event for her, and a frightening one because she was not in control.

v13-15

She said, “I saw a spirit ascending out of the earth.”

A more literal translation is, “I see an (elohim) coming up out of the earth.”
The word ʾĕlōhîm, used with plurals, means ‘judges’, authority figures, in addition to ‘gods.’
I see a god [Heb. ʾĕlōhîm] coming up out of the earth: the word ʾĕlōhîm, used with plurals, means ‘judges’, authority figures, in addition to ‘gods’ (see the commentary on ); the appearance of Samuel clearly impressed upon her his authority and dignity. Saul did not see Samuel, but was dependent on the woman’s description. An old man … wrapped in a robe is a vague description, from which we might think it would be impossible to identify anyone, but the key word may be robe, the prophetic robe, the tearing of which had become the symbol of Saul’s downfall as king (). Moreover, Saul knew intuitively that his request had been granted, and he prostrated himself before Samuel as if before the Lord.
The appearance of Samuel clearly impressed his authority upon her.
And from the text we can discern that Saul did not see Samuel, but was dependent on the woman’s description.
An old man … covered with a mantle” is a vague description, from which we might think it would be impossible to identify anyone.
But the key word may be “mantle.”
His mantle was the robe of a prophet.
The prophet’s mantle was an indication of his authority and responsibility as God’s chosen spokesman
It was probably an animal skin.
You may remember from a few chapters back that the tearing of Samuel’s mantle by Saul had previously been interpreted as the symbol of Saul’s downfall as king.

v15

v15
In verse 15, Samuel’s words are interesting.
They suggest that Samuel had been enjoying where he was and had been reluctant to leave.
----
In regards to Saul’s answer to Samuel …
Saul is asking for guidance when his course of action is obvious: he has to fight the Philistines.
But what Saul really wants is reassurance that all will be well and that he will win the battle.
----
Is this not the whole purpose of prophets and counsellors, to give a reassuring message?

I guess the bigger question here is, “Did Samuel really come back or was this some kind of demonic manifestation?”

Well, I see no reason at all for not believing this happened just as it is written.

As I said this past Sunday, I have found that in the Bible, the obvious interpretation is usually the correct interpretation.
Now did Samuel really come back? Did this witch actually bring back a spirit from the dead? I would like to say I see no reason at all for not believing the story just as it is written. I always feel that the obvious interpretation is the correct interpretation. If you try to force another interpretation into the text, that actually the very fact that you're trying to force something, means that it doesn't fit. I do not understand this whole issue. But I am convinced that even as it is written, so it happened, and that somehow Samuel did come back. That it was indeed Samuel that talked with Saul. The spirit of Samuel was brought back, and that it was a genuine experience of dealing with spirits that have departed and are in the other world.
If something has to be forced on the text, it means it is the wrong explanation.
Now, I do not understand why God would permit this to happen.
But I am convinced that it happened just as it is written … That it was indeed Samuel that talked with Saul.
That it was indeed Samuel that talked with Saul.
The spirit of Samuel was brought back, and that it was a genuine experience of dealing with spirits that have departed and are in the other world.
BUT … that’s not to say it happens often or at all apart from this one time.
Other times it may be a demonic lie.
But when we see the woman’s reaction … her shock at seeing Samuel, it seems that this was a unique experience for her.
Of course, there is another instance in scripture where God allowed 2 people to appear in this world from another world.
That is the Mount of Transfiguration when Moses and Elijah appeared and spoke with Jesus.
So then, yes, I believe this was truly Samuel.
He came not because the medium called for him.
Samuel really came, but not because the medium called for him. Samuel appeared because God had a special purpose for it.
Samuel appeared because God had a special purpose for it.

v16-22

Samuel, does not in any way change the message he had spoken to Saul when he lived at Ramah.

He is still the prophet of the Lord, and he speaks in the name of the Lord.

In fact, Samuel uses “The Lord” seven times over in these four verses.
Whereas Saul hoped that the judgment against him would be reversed, it is instead reinforced.
The word he had spoken back in is about to be fulfilled, and now Saul is told outright that it is David who will receive the throne.
The message of has not been repealed, instead it is now repeated and is about to be fulfilled.

The Philistines, who in Saul’s early days as king had defied the armies of Israel, are about to defeat Saul and his sons.

Samuel says that tomorrow they will be with him.
The Lord will give the army of Israel into the hand of the Philistines, and Saul and his sons will be killed.
The time for Saul to repent had run out … he had had plenty of time, but had refused.
The time for Saul to repent had run out … he had had plenty of time, but had refused.
We can never assume that we will have as much time as we want to repent.
The desire to repent, and the opportunity to repent are gifts from God.
If we have the desire and the opportunity today, we must seize upon it, because it may not be there tomorrow.
----

We may have a question here … When Samuel said you and your sons will be with me, did it mean that Saul was going to Abraham’s Bosom?

ii. When Samuel said you and your sons will be with me, did it mean that Saul was going to heaven, that he would be with the believing dead? Not necessarily. In the story Jesus told in , the blessed dead and the cursed dead were both in the same general area. The believing dead were in the place of comfort knows as the Abraham's bosom, but the cursed dead were in a place or torment. So, Saul would be in the same general area as Samuel, but not the same specific place.

That is the place the Bible says is the paradise where the believing dead are kept.

The answer to that question is, I don’t know.
In the story Jesus told in , the believing dead and the cursed dead were both in the same general area.
The believing dead were in the place of rest, contentment, and peace known as Abraham's bosom, but the cursed dead were in a place of torment.
place of rest, contentment, and peace known as Abraham's bosom, but the cursed dead were in a place of torment.
These 2 places were separated by a divide, but it seems they were close enough for the one to be aware of the other.
So then, Saul would be in the same general area as Samuel, but not necessarily in the same specific place.
v20

Saul, who had not seen Samuel, but had heard the prophet’s words, was as good as finished already.

To hear the truth overwhelmed him with deep fear, so that he fell prostrate, for there was no strength in him.
Why he had not eaten, we do not know.
Perhaps he thought he could earn his way into God’s favor with a fast … he had previously attempted to find favor with God by religious ritual.
And what did Samuel say to him then?
1 Samuel 15:22 NKJV
So Samuel said: “Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, As in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams.
And what does David say in ?
Psalm 51:17 NKJV
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart— These, O God, You will not despise.
Psalm 51:
The Hebrew is emphatic: he was ‘all in’.
The Hebrew is emphatic: he was ‘all in’.
Why he had eaten nothing is unexplained. Some commentators suggest that he needed to go fasting to the medium, others that the exigencies of the war demanded it because food was not easily obtained, but most people in peril of their lives lose their appetite!
David wrote after being confronted by the prophet Nathan over his sin.
Unlike Saul, David repented.
But this time it was out of fear.
But there were still consequences for his sin, and his son died.
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Saul left this encounter sorrowful and resigned to his fate … and with the sympathies of a witch.

All this was the outcome of Saul’s willingness to compromise with evil in order to escape the word of the Lord.
It is hard to imagine a more terrible situation in which to find oneself.

v21-22

And the woman came to Saul, evidently not having been present while Saul received Samuel’s message. It seems likely that she had an inner sanctum where she practised her secret rites, perhaps an inner cave. One look at Saul, and she knew at once that he was terrified (Heb. nibhal), totally exhausted and paralysed with fright. ‘The root of the verb bhl [terrified] can indeed refer to the fright … in which the grip of death on man becomes visible (cf. ; ; ; ; ; (evv, 7); 78:33; 90:7; 104:29).’ Her good sense tells her that what the king needs is a good meal; perhaps then he will feel better able to face the coming battle. Whether she appreciated the seriousness of the situation in the light of the word of the prophet, we cannot know; most likely she was thinking in human terms of some way to boost the morale of the king. Though she could not save him from his fate, she could give him temporary help and comfort to strengthen his fainting spirits. But she was astute enough to realize that Saul was in no mood to eat, hence her reasoned argument that, since she had risked her life for him, he should be willing to do something for her.
But unwittingly she herself has disclosed to him the deepest meaning of her invitation: ‘Hearken to me as I have hearkened to you’ (vv. 21f). In a grieving manner she amplifies the accusation of Samuel: ‘Because you did not hearken to YHWH … therefore YHWH has done this thing to you this day’ (v. 18). Saul realizes he has landed in a situation which resembles a covenant with the medium instead of with YHWH.
All this was the outcome of Saul’s willingness to compromise with evil in order to escape the word of the Lord. It is hard to envisage a more terrible situation in which to find oneself.

v23-25

Saul at first refuses to eat.

He was fasting when he came … and if he had an appetite, he lost it when he learned God’s judgment was about to come to fruition.

But Saul was persuaded to eat.
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In the middle of the night, in the dwelling of a woman who consulted the dead, Saul got up from the earth floor, sat on the bed, and watched all the familiar homely processes of preparing a meal, from the killing of the calf to the kneading of dough for baking (cf. ).
If the meal and its preparation were conducive to a feeling of normality (for it was a dinner fit for a king), that in itself was sinister, because Saul was soon—in a matter of hours—to be king no longer. Saul and his two servants disappeared once more into the night.

Saul had begun well, but stumbled early on.

He had stubbornly resisted the instruction of the Lord through His prophet Samuel.

In the key battle against the Philistines, Saul had not waited for Samuel to perform the pre-battle ritual at Gilgal.
Instead, he had presumed to perform the sacrifices himself.
This earned him the judgment:
1 Samuel 13:14 NKJV
But now your kingdom shall not continue. The Lord has sought for Himself a man after His own heart, and the Lord has commanded him to be commander over His people, because you have not kept what the Lord commanded you.”
Later, instead of following God’s instructions, he spared the Amalekite king Agag, and the best of the sheep, oxen, and lambs and all that was good.
As king he reserved the right to take initiatives himself, regardless of Samuel’s orders, and already he had earned the Lord’s condemnation, and the sentence, ‘But now your kingdom shall not continue’ ().
Samuel confronted Saul but was met with excuses.
To this, Samuel said:
1 Samuel 15:23 NKJV
For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, And stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, He also has rejected you from being king.”
1 Samuel
Is it irony that Saul would later resort to witchcraft, trying to speak with Samuel?
In recent literature a good deal of sympathy has been expressed for Saul. In connection with Samuel’s late arrival (), ‘He appears here starkly as the plaything of fate … Saul’s explanation of his action is brushed aside without even cursory consideration … Nor is the king given any opportunity to beg mercy of God.’ After the battle against the Amalekites, Saul claimed to have listened to the voice of the people in sparing the best of the spoil (, ), contrary to the command of the prophet (), and McCarter comments, ‘Democracy is no more acceptable a replacement for prophetic theocracy than is monarchy!’ But at least in the Western world the voice of the people speaks very loudly and persistently; Saul could therefore appear to have been treated somewhat unsympathetically, but the fact remains that he did not exercise real leadership.
At Endor Saul displays the same basic character as he has in earlier chapters.
On the one hand he wanted the best: he had cleared the land of those who practised witchcraft and sought to make contact with the dead.
With his fast he was still endeavouring to fulfil the externals of religion as he had done in offering the sacrifice back in chapter 13.
With visiting this witch, Saul had again violated God’s instructions.
Yes, Saul had asked for guidance from the Lord.
What he had not fully taken in was the fact that he had already received the guidance that was appropriate in his circumstances.
No amount of further requesting could change things.
And we will see the outcome in a few chapters.
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If Saul could but have realized the fact, he became humiliated as a result of his attempts to take control of events. Samuel’s confrontation with Saul, witnessed by his troops, both at Gibeah and at Gilgal, was profoundly humiliating for the king. Now at Endor, when judgment is about to fall upon him and his family through the defeat by the Philistines, Saul is a nervous wreck, in no fit state to lead the army. The pride of Saul, combined with jealousy of David, had together cost him his throne and his dynasty.

There are wider implications of this incident at Endor.

Through this we learn just how entrenched Canaanite practices were, even among the Israelites.

Though violation of the law carried the death penalty, and necromancers were officially banished from the land, they were still to be found, ready to operate if given an assurance of protection.
People evidently wanted their services and were ready to pay for the privilege.
Whether they were deceived, or whether they genuinely saw and heard the ghosts of the dead, the biblical writers do not say.
But God’s way of speaking to his people, was through His Word and His prophets.
Even after his death, the prophet Samuel speaks, but Saul receives the very message he had already heard.
They lay stress on prophecy, God’s way of speaking to his people, as opposed to necromancy. Even after his death, the prophet Samuel speaks. ‘Neither cavern nor tomb, neither space nor time, limits the effective power of God’s word …’, but Saul receives the very message he had already heard. In the end, he had to do what he would in any case have done—face the enemy. The additional information, that within twenty-four hours he and his sons would be dead, was no help at all to his morale. Indeed he would have been better without it. He did himself no good by doing what he had decreed to be unlawful. God’s word stood and could not be altered. He should have believed it instead of thinking that by further consultation he could reverse its judgment. The Lord did not answer him, because there was no more to be said.
In the end, he had to do what he would in any case have done—face the enemy.
The additional information, that within twenty-four hours he and his sons would be dead, was no help at all to his morale.
In fact, he would have been better without it.
He did himself no good by doing what he had decreed to be unlawful.
God’s word stood and could not be altered.
He should have believed it instead of thinking that by further consultation he could reverse its judgment.
In our chapter, when the Lord did not answer him, it was because there was no more to be said.
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