1 Samuel 28 – “Saul’s Ominous Meeting at En-dor”

Hebrew-English Text
I. Summary
The Philistines prepare to attack the Israelite army. Saul travels to En-dor, conjures up Samuel’s ghost, and is told that he is doomed to fail. Although Saul is distraught, he and his men manage to travel back to the camp.

II. Photo
Saul visits a diviner: “At that, the woman asked, ‘Whom shall I bring up for you?’ He answered, ‘Bring up Samuel for me.’” (v. 11)

III. Important Verses
1-2: At that time the Philistines mustered their forces for war, to take the field against Israel. Achish said to David, “You know, of course, that you and your men must march out with my forces.” David answered Achish, “You surely know what your servant will do.” “In that case,” Achish replied to David, “I will appoint you my bodyguard for life.”
5-7: When Saul saw the Philistine force, his heart trembled with fear. And Saul inquired of the LORD, but the LORD did not answer him, either by dreams or by Urim or by prophets. 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.
13-14: 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.”  “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.
16-19: Samuel said, “Why do you ask me, seeing that the LORD has turned away from you and has become your adversary? The LORD has done for Himself as He foretold through me: The LORD has torn the kingship out of your hands and has given it to your fellow, to David, because you did not obey the LORD and did not execute His wrath upon the Amalekites. That is why the LORD has done this to you today. Further, the LORD will deliver the Israelites who are with you into the hands of the Philistines. Tomorrow your sons and you will be with me; and the LORD will also deliver the Israelite forces into the hands of the Philistines.”
20: At once Saul flung himself prone on the ground, terrified by Samuel’s words. Besides, there was no strength in him, for he had not eaten anything all day and all night.

IV. Outline
1-2. David and the Philistines prepare to march against Israel
3a. Retelling of Samuel’s death
3b. Saul’s ban on ghosts and spirits
4-5. Saul fears the Philistines
6. God does not answer him
7-14. Saul employs a diviner from En-dor to bring back Samuel
15-19. Samuel warns of defeat for Saul and kingship for David
20. Saul is overwrought
21-25a. Saul agrees to eat
25b. Saul and his men leave

V. Comment
No comment today. Stay tuned.

VI. Works Used
(see “Commentaries” page)
Campbell, Antony F. “1 Samuel” The Forms of Old Testament Literature vol. 7 (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans, 2003).
Collins, John J. “Introduction to the Hebrew Bible,” (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2004).
Klein, Ralph W. “1 Samuel” Word Biblical Commentary vol. 10 (Waco, Texas: Word Books, 1983).
Photo taken from http://z.about.com/d/healing/1/0/B/9/1/gi_wwcandles.jpg

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