I Samuel 28: The Witch of Endor

Meanwhile, back in Gibeah, Saul grew more and more agitated because he couldn’t get God to talk to him–not through dreams, not through prophets, not through cleromancy. He so desperately wanted to talk to God that he wanted to call up Samuel, though dead these several years. Unfortunately for Saul, he had executed or banned all the known necromancers, mediums and sorcerers during his reign. One night, as the Philistines gathered against him, Saul grew so desperate that he offered the fortune to the person who could find him a medium. Soon word came that such a person lived at Endor.

Saul disguised himself as a commoner and went to see this witch-lady of Endor one night. When he asked her for her services, she glared at him suspiciously and barked, King Saul, he’s stoned all the witches and seers. Are you trying to get me killed? Saul swore to do her no harm, he only sought her services. He was persuasive, but surely she must have wondered when he asked her to call up the prophet Samuel. 

Of course, the first thing Samuel told her was just who her customer was. She confronted Saul, but he sweet-talked her down, and the pair–or trio?–settled down to chat, Swayze-Moore-Goldberg-style.

Samuel was all, You. What do you want?

Saul was all, God won’t talk to me! And there’s a huge army of Philistines!

Samuel gazed upon Saul a moment. Quietly, he said. Saul. You angered God. Tomorrow you will die. Your three sons will die.

Samuel left and everyone fainted. When the witch of Endor recovered, she found Saul still prostrate on the floor, as much from hunger as from shock. Eventually she and his servants convinced him to eat. When he had recovered, he returned to Gilboa and the impending battle.

On the Philistines’ side, the five Philistine lords had mustered their captains and bands. Among them numbered David and his men among King Achish’s forces. When the other Philistine lords noticed this, they were wroth. Why is David among us, they growled? Don’t they sing of him that he’s killed thousands of Philsitines? How can we trust him against the Hebrews, his people?

King Achish assured them that David had been a loyal subject for over a year, but the lords would have none of it and refused to march with him. King Achish went sadly to David and said, My boy, though it seems right to me that you should fight by my side, the other Philistine lords will not have it so. So please, depart and return to Ziklag. I am sure many battles yet remain before us.

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