The First Book of Samuel

Chapter 28

Achish puts confidence in David, 1, 2. Saul, having destroyed the witches, 3, and now in his fear is forsaken by God, 4-6, has recourse to a witch, 7; who, encouraged by Saul, raises up Samuel, 8-14. Saul, hearing his ruin, faints, 15-20. The woman and his servants refresh him with meat, 21-25.

1 And it came to pass in those days, that the Philistines collected their armies for warfare to fight with Israel. And Achish said to David, "Know assuredly that you shall go out with me to battle—you and your men." 2 And David said to Achish, "Surely you shall know what your servant can do." And Achish said to David, "Therefore, I will make you keeper of my head forever."

3 Now Samuel was dead, and all Israel had lamented him and buried him in Ramah, even in his own city. And Saul had put away those who had familiar spirits and the wizards out of the land. 4 And the Philistines assembled and came and encamped in Shunem. And Saul collected all Israel and they encamped in Gilboa. 5 And when Saul saw the host of the Philistines, he was afraid and his heart greatly trembled. 6 And when Saul inquired of the LORD, the LORD did not answer him, neither by dreams, nor by Urim, nor by prophets. 7 Then Saul said to his servants, "Seek me a woman who has a familiar spirit so 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 En-dor."

8 And Saul disguised himself and put on other clothing, and he went, and two men with him, and they came to the woman by night. And he said, "I pray you, divine to me by the familiar spirit and bring up for me whom I shall name to you." 9 And the woman said to him, "Behold, you know what Saul has done, how he has cut off those who have familiar spirits and the wizards out of the land. Why then do you lay a snare for my life to cause me to die?" 10 And Saul swore to her by the LORD, saying, "As the LORD lives, no punishment shall happen to you for this thing." 11 Then the woman said, "Whom shall I bring up to you?" And he said, "Bring me up Samuel." 12 And when the woman saw Samuel, she cried with a loud voice. And the woman spoke to Saul, saying, "Why have you deceived me? For you are Saul." 13 And the king said to her, "Do not be afraid. What did you see?" And the woman said to Saul, "I saw gods ascending out of the earth." 14 And he said to her, "What is his form?" And she said, "An old man comes up, and he is covered with a mantle." And Saul perceived that it was Samuel, and he stooped with his face to the ground and bowed himself.

15 And Samuel said to Saul, "Why have you disquieted me to bring me up?" And Saul answered, "I am grievously distressed, for the Philistines make war against me, and God has departed from me and no longer answers me, neither by prophets, nor by dreams. Therefore, I have called you so that you may make known to me what I shall do." 16 Then Samuel said, "Why then do you ask of me, seeing the LORD has departed from you and has become your enemy? 17 And the LORD has done to him, as he spoke by me, for the LORD has rent the kingdom out of your hand and given it to your neighbor, even to David. 18 Because you did not obey the voice of the LORD, nor execute his fierce wrath upon Amalek, therefore the LORD has done this thing to you this day. 19 Moreover, the LORD will also deliver Israel with you into the hand of the Philistines. And tomorrow you and your sons shall be with me. The LORD also shall deliver the host of Israel into the hand of the Philistines."

20 Then Saul immediately fell his full length on the earth and was exceedingly afraid because of the words of Samuel. And there was no strength in him, for he had eaten no bread all day, nor all night. 21 And the woman came to Saul and saw that he was greatly troubled and said to him, "Behold, your servant has obeyed your voice. And I have put my life in my hand and have listened to your words which you spoke. 22 Now therefore, I pray you, listen also to the voice of your servant and let me set a morsel of bread before you. And eat so that you may have strength when you go on your way." 23 But he refused and said, "I will not eat." But his servants, together with the woman, compelled him, and he listened to their voice. So he arose from the earth and sat upon the bed. 24 And the woman had a fattened calf in the house and she hastened and killed it, and took flour, kneaded it, and baked unleavened bread from it. 25 And she brought it before Saul and before his servants, and they ate. Then they arose and went away that night.


Matthew Henry Commentary - 1st Samuel, Chapter 28[➚]


[v.13] - "I saw gods" - The Hebrew word from which "gods" is derived is, אלהים, or elohiym (el-o-heem'), which means gods in the ordinary sense, but specifically used (if in the plural form, especially with the article) of the supreme God. From the Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary: "Elohim does not signify gods here, nor yet God; still less an angel or a ghost, or even a person of superior rank, but a celestial (super-terrestrial), heavenly, or spiritual being."

[v.17] - Reference, 1st Samuel 15:28.

[v.18] - Reference, 1st Samuel 15:9-11, 18-19, 23-25.