So Saul disguised himself and put on other garments and went, he and two men with him. And they came to the woman by night. And he said, “Divine for me by a spirit and bring up for me whomever I shall name to you.” The woman said to him, “Surely you know what Saul has done, how he has cut off the mediums and the necromancers from the land. Why then are you laying a trap for my life to bring about my death?” But Saul swore to her by the LORD, “As the LORD lives, no punishment shall come upon you for this thing.” Then the woman said, “Whom shall I bring up for you?” He said, “Bring up Samuel for me.” When the woman saw Samuel, she cried out with a loud voice. And the woman said to Saul, “Why have you deceived me? You are Saul.” The king said to her, “Do not be afraid. What do you see?” And the woman said to Saul, “I see a god coming up out of the earth.” He said to her, “What is his appearance?” And she said, “An old man is coming up, and he is wrapped in a robe.” And Saul knew that it was Samuel, and he bowed with his face to the ground and paid homage. Then Samuel said to Saul, “Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?” Saul answered, “I am in great distress, for the Philistines are warring against me, and God has turned away from me and answers me no more, either by prophets or by dreams. Therefore I have summoned you to tell me what I shall do.” And Samuel said, “Why then do you ask me, since the LORD has turned from you and become your enemy? The LORD has done to you as he spoke by me, for the LORD has torn the kingdom out of your hand and given it to your neighbour, David.
Comment: The woman was suspicious when the disguised Saul entered her place. She knew that she was illegal and thought that maybe she was being trapped by an Israeli spy. She, still not knowing who the visitor was, and being placated by the visitor’s promise of no prosecution associated with an oath in God’s name, called up Samuel. I don’t understand this sort of thing but the sequence is plain.
- Saul asked for Samuel to be called up from the dead.
- He came, was immediately recognized by Saul who prostrated himself before the apparition, Samuel.
- The woman recognized Saul but continues to give him the interview he wanted with Samuel.
- Saul told Samuel of the coming fight and explained that God was not revealing anything to him.
- Samuel says that Saul should have known that God had rejected him. Without sugar-coating it Samuel reminds Saul that the kingdom will not be his but ‘his neighbour’ (maybe better described as his enemy) David was going to take his place.
How will Saul handle that reply?
Prayer: Help me to steer clear of ways You, O Lord, don’t want me to stray into.