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C-ya
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Joined: 2011/6/30
Posts: 2


 Saul and the medium...

At our bible study last night, many questions popped up about Saul and the medium in 1 Sam. 28:7-20.
1. Since God tells us to not seek after mediums (Lev.19:31) or ones who calls up the dead (Deut.18:9-12) why would God allow Samuel to be called up this way?

2. Did the medium actually call Samuel up? In 1 Sam.28:11-14, you do not read of any action taken on her part to call Samuel up. She sees the spirit and cries out afraid, but never called the spirit up. So...was it God who allow Samuel to talk to Saul?

3. Was the spirit actually Samuel or an evil spirit?

4. In that time period, wouldn't people be in Abraham's bosom, and not up in heaven, because Christ had not died on the cross yet. So that could explain,the spirit ascending out of the earth. (remember the rich man and Lazarus, they could see each other)

I would appreciate some input.
Thanks' C-ya

 2011/6/30 10:55Profile









 Re: Saul and the medium...

I believe Saul is among the redeamed, and I believe it was Samuel who appeared to King Saul. Are we to conclude the Bible is lying to us, and it doesn't really mean what it says in this passage.

Here is the best commentary on this on the internet IMHO:

http://www.angelfire.com/ia/BereanInquirer/WasSaulSaved.html

 2011/7/1 12:28
Renoncer
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Joined: 2010/6/26
Posts: 482


 Matthew Henry commentary - Part 1: Vs. 7-14

Here is a commentary by Matthew Henry:

1Sa 28:7-14
Here, I. Saul seeks for a witch, 1Sa_28:7. When God answered him not, if he had humbled himself by repentance and persevered in seeking God, who knows but that at length he might have been entreated for him? but, since he can discern no comfort either from heaven or earth (Isa_8:21, Isa_8:22), he resolves to knock at the gates of hell, and to see if any there will befriend him and give him advice: Seek me a woman that has a familiar spirit, 1Sa_28:7. And his servants were too officious to serve him in this evil affair; they presently recommended one to him at Endor (a city not far off) who had escaped the execution of Saul's edict. To her he resolves to apply. Herein he is chargeable, 1. With contempt of the God of Israel; as if any creature could do him a kindness when God had left him and frowned upon him. 2. With contradiction to himself. He knew the heinousness of the sin of witchcraft, else he would not have cut off those that had familiar spirits; yet now he had recourse to that as an oracle which he had before condemned as an abomination. It is common for men to inveigh severely against those sins which they are in no temptation to, but afterwards to be themselves overcome by them. Had one told Saul, when he was destroying the witches, that he himself would, ere long, consult with one, he would have said, as Hazael did, What? Is thy servant a dog? But who knows what mischiefs those will run into that forsake God and are forsaken of him?
II. Hearing of one he hastens to her, but goes by night, and in disguise, only with two servants, and probably on foot, 1Sa_28:8. See how those that are led captive by Satan are forced, 1. To disparage themselves. Never did Saul look so mean as when he went sneaking to a sorry witch to know his fortune. 2. To dissemble. Evil works are works of darkness, and they hate the light, neither care for coming to it. Saul went to the witch, not in his robes, but in the habit of a common soldier, not only lest the witch herself, if she had known him, should decline to serve him, either fearing he came to trepan her or resolving to be avenged on him for his edict against those of her profession, but lest his own people should know it and abhor him for it. Such is the power of natural conscience that even those who do evil blush and are ashamed to do it.
III. He tells her his errand and promises her impunity. 1. All he desires of her is to bring up one from the dead, whom he had a mind to discourse with. It was necromancy or divination by the dead, that he hoped to serve his purpose by. This was expressly forbidden by the law (Deu_18:11), seeking for the living to the dead, Isa_8:19. Bring me up him whom I shall name, 1Sa_28:8. This supposes that it was generally taken for granted that souls exist after death, and that when men die there is not an end of them: it supposes too that great knowledge was attributed to separate souls. But to think that any good souls would come up at the beck of an evil spirit, or that God, who had denied a man the benefit of his own institutions, would suffer him to reap any real advantage by a cursed diabolical invention, was very absurd. 2. She signifies her fear of the law, and her suspicion that this stranger came to draw her into a snare (1Sa_28:9): Thou knowest what Saul has done. Providence ordered it so that Saul should be told to his face of his edict against witches, at this very time when he was consulting one, for the greater aggravation of his sin. She insists upon the peril of the law, perhaps to raise her price; for, though no mention is made of her fee, no doubt she demanded and had a large one. Observe how sensible she is of danger from the edict of Saul, and what care she is in to guard against it; but not at all apprehensive of the obligations off God's law and the terrors of his wrath. She considered what Saul had done, not what God had done, against such practices, and feared a snare laid for her life more than a snare laid for her soul. It is common for sinners to be more afraid of punishment from men than of God's righteous judgment. But, 3. Saul promises with an oath not to betray her, 1Sa_28:10. It was his duty as a king to punish her and he knew it, yet he swears no to do it; as if he could by his own oath bind himself from doing that which, by the divine command, he was bound to do. But he promised more than he could perform when he said, There shall no punishment happen to thee; for he that could not secure himself could much less secure her from divine vengeance.
IV. Samuel, who was lately dead, is the person whom Saul desired to have some talk with; and the witch, with her enchantments, gratifies his desire, and brings them together. 1. As soon as Saul had given the witch the assurance she desired (that he would not discover her) she applied to her witchcrafts, and asked very confidently, Whom shall I bring up to thee? 1Sa_28:11. Note, Hopes of impunity embolden sinners in their evil ways and harden their hearts. 2. Saul desires to speak with Samuel: Bring me up Samuel. Samuel had anointed him to the kingdom and had formerly been his faithful friend and counsellor, and therefore with him he wished to advise. While Samuel was living at Ramah, not far from Gibeah of Saul, and presided there in the school of the prophets, we never read of Saul's going to him to consult him in any of the difficulties he was in (it would have been well for him if he had); then he slighted him, and perhaps hated him, looking upon him to be in David's interest. But now that he is dead, “O for Samuel again! By all means, bring me up Samuel.” Note, Many that despise and persecute God's saints and ministers when they are living would be glad to have them again when they are gone. Send Lazarus to me, and send Lazarus to my father's house, Luk_16:24-27. The sepulchres of the righteous are garnished. 3. Here is a seeming defector chasm in the story. Saul said, Bring me up Samuel, and the very next words are, When the woman saw Samuel, (1Sa_28:12), whereas one would have expected to be told how she performed the operation, what spells and charms she used, or that some little intimation would be given of what she said or did; but the profound silence of the scripture concerning it forbids our coveting to know the depths of Satan (Rev_2:24) or to have our curiosity gratified with an account of the mysteries of iniquity. It has been said of the books of some of the popish confessors that, by their descriptions of sin, they have taught men to commit it; but the scripture conceals sinful art, that we may be simple concerning evil, Rom_16:19. 4. The witch, upon sight of the apparition, was aware that her client was Saul, her familiar spirit, it is likely, informing her of it (1Sa_28:12): “Why hast thou deceived me with a disguise; for thou art Saul, the very man that I am afraid of above any man?” Thus she gave Saul to understand the power of her art, in that she could discover him through his disguise; and yet she feared lest, hereafter, at least, he should take advantage against her for what she was now doing. Had she believed that it was really Samuel whom she saw, she would have had more reason to be afraid of him, who was a good prophet, than of Saul, who was a wicked king. But the wrath of earthly princes is feared by most more than the wrath of the King of kings. 5. Saul (who, we may suppose, was kept at a distance in the next room) bade her not to be afraid of him, but go on with the operation, and enquired what she saw? 1Sa_28:13. O, says the woman, I saw gods (that is, a spirit) ascending out of the earth; they called angels gods, because spiritual beings. Poor gods that ascend out of the earth! But she speaks the language of the heathen, who had their infernal deities and had them in veneration. If Saul had thought it necessary to his conversation with Samuel that the body of Samuel should be called out of the grave, he would have taken the witch with him to Ramah, where his sepulchre was; but the design was wholly upon his soul, which yet, if it became visible, was expected to appear in the usual resemblance of the body; and God permitted the devil, to answer the design, to put on Samuel's shape, that those who would not receive the love of the truth might be given up to strong delusions and believe a lie. That it could not be the soul of Samuel himself they might easily apprehend when it ascended out of the earth, for the spirit of a man, much more of a good man, goes upward, Ecc_3:21. But, if people will be deceived, it is just with God to say, “Let them be deceived.” That the devil, by the divine permission, should be able to personate Samuel is not strange, since he can transform himself into an angel of light! nor is it strange that he should be permitted to do it upon this occasion, that Saul might be driven to despair, by enquiring of the devil, since he would not, in a right manner, enquire of the Lord, by which he might have had comfort. Saul, being told of gods ascending, was eager to know what was the form of this deity, and in what shape he appeared, so far was he from conceiving any horror at it, his heart being wretchedly hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. Saul, it seems, was not permitted to see any manner of similitude himself, but he must take the woman's word for it, that she saw an old man covered with a mantle, or robe, the habit of a judge, which Samuel had sometimes worn, and some think it was for the sake of that, and the majesty of its aspect, that she called this apparition Elohim, a god or gods; for so magistrates are styled, Psa_82:1. 6. Saul, perceiving, by the woman's description, that it was Samuel, stooped with his face to the ground, either, as it is generally taken, in reverence to Samuel, though he saw him not, or perhaps to listen to that soft and muttering voice which he now expected to hear (for those that had familiar spirits peeped and muttered, Isa_8:19); and it should seem Saul bowed himself (probably by the witch's direction) that he might hear what was whispered and listen carefully to it; for the voice of one that has a familiar spirit is said to come out of the ground, and whisper out of the dust, Isa_29:4. He would stoop to that who would not stoop to the word of God.

 2011/7/1 14:58Profile
Renoncer
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Joined: 2010/6/26
Posts: 482


 Matthew Henry commentary - Part 2: Vs. 15-19

Here is the second part of the commentary by Matthew Henry:

1Sa 28:15-19
We have here the conference between Saul and Satan. Saul came in disguise (1Sa_28:8), but Satan soon discovered him, 1Sa_28:12. Satan comes in disguise, in the disguise of Samuel's mantle, and Saul cannot discover him. Such is the disadvantage we labour under, in wrestling with the rulers of the darkness of this world, that they know us, while we are ignorant of their wiles and devices.
I. The spectre, or apparition, personating Samuel, asks why he is sent for (1Sa_28:15): Why hast thou disquieted me to bring me up? To us this discovers that it was an evil spirit that personated Samuel; for (as bishop Patrick observes) it is not in the power of witches to disturb the rest of good men and to bring them back into the world when they please; nor would the true Samuel have acknowledged such a power in magical arts: but to Saul this was a proper device of Satan's, to draw veneration from him, to possess him with an opinion of the power of divination, and so to rivet him in the devil's interests.
II. Saul makes his complaint to this counterfeit Samuel, mistaking him for the true; and a most doleful complaint it is: “I am sorely distressed, and know not what to do, for the Philistines make war against me; yet I should do well enough with them if I had but the tokens of God's presence with me; but, alas! God has departed from me.” He complained not of God's withdrawings till he fell into trouble, till the Philistines made war against him, and then he began to lament God's departure. He that in his prosperity enquired not after God in his adversity thought it hard that God answered him not, nor took any notice of his enquiries, either by dreams or prophets, neither gave answers immediately himself nor sent them by any of his messengers. He does not, like a penitent, own the righteousness of God in this; but, like a man enraged, flies out against God as unkind and flies off from him: Therefore I have called thee; as if Samuel, a servant of God, would favour those whom God frowned upon, or as if a dead prophet could do him more service than the living ones. One would think, from this, that he really desired to meet with the devil, and expected no other (though under the covert of Samuel's name), for he desires advice otherwise than from God, therefore from the devil, who is a rival with God. “God denies me, therefore I come to thee. Flectere si nequeo superos, Acheronta movebo.” - If I fail with heaven, I will move hell.
III. It is cold comfort which this evil spirit in Samuel's mantle gives to Saul, and is manifestly intended to drive him to despair and self-murder. Had it been the true Samuel, when Saul desired to be told what he should do he would have told him to repent and make his peace with God, and recall David from his banishment, and would then have told him that he might hope in this way to find mercy with God; but, instead of that, he represents his case as helpless and hopeless, serving him as he did Judas, to whom he was first a tempter and then a tormentor, persuading him first to sell his master and then to hang himself. 1. He upbraids him with his present distress (1Sa_28:16), tells him, not only that God had departed from him, but that he had become his enemy, and therefore he must expect no comfortable answer from him: “Wherefore dost thou ask me? How can I be thy friend when God is thy enemy, or thy counsellor when he has left thee?” 2. He upbraids him with the anointing of David to the kingdom, 1Sa_28:17. He could not have touched upon a string that sounded more unpleasant in the ear of Saul than this. Nothing is said to reconcile him to David, but all tends rather to exasperate him against David and widen the breach. Yet, to make him believe that he was Samuel, the apparition affirmed that it was God who spoke by him. The devil knows how to speak with an air of religion, and can teach false apostles to transform themselves into the apostles of Christ and imitate their language. Those who use spells and charms, and plead, in defence of them, that they find nothing in them but what is good, may remember what good words the devil here spoke, and yet with what a malicious design. 3. He upbraids him with his disobedience to the command of God in not destroying the Amalekites, 1Sa_28:18. Satan had helped him to palliate and excuse that sin when Samuel was dealing with him to bring him to repentance, but now he aggravates it, to make him despair of God's mercy. See what those get that hearken to Satan's temptations. He himself will be their accuser, and insult over them. And see whom those resemble that allure others to that which is evil and reproach them for it when they have done. 4. He foretels his approaching ruin, 1Sa_28:19. (1.) That his army should be routed by the Philistines. This is twice mentioned: The Lord shall deliver Israel into the hand of the Philistines. This he might foresee, by considering the superior strength and number of the Philistines, the weakness of the armies of Israel, Saul's terror, and especially God's departure from them. Yet, to personate a prophet, he very gravely ascribes it once and again to God: The Lord shall do it. (2.) That he and his sons should be slain in the battle: Tomorrow, that is, in a little time (and, supposing that it was now after midnight, I see not but it may be taken strictly for the very next day after that which had now begun), thou and thy sons shall be with me, that is, in the state of the dead, separate from the body. Had this been the true Samuel, he could not have foretold the event unless God had revealed it to him; and, though it were an evil spirit, God might by him foretel it; as we read of an evil spirit that foresaw Ahab's fall at Ramoth-Gilead and was instrumental in it (1Ki_22:20, etc.), as perhaps this evil spirit was, by the divine permission, in Saul's destruction. That evil spirit flattered Ahab, this frightened Saul, and both that they might fall; so miserable are those that are under the power of Satan; for, whether he rage or laugh, there is no rest, Pro_29:9.

 2011/7/1 14:59Profile









 Re: Matthew Henry commentary - Part 2: Vs. 15-19

I think Matthew Henry is way too legalistic and judgmental. I also don't think he knows what he's talking about. No one can be an expert at every passage in the Bible. He's also almost way too intellectual to be any Earthly good.

God spoke through a donkey, but he can't speak through a witch?

This is a very interesting story in the OT. And I think King Saul is the most misunderstood figure in the OT.

I guess my point is this. I assume the Bible has no passages that are lies. If it really wasn't Samuel that appeared to King Saul, then wouldn't the Bible be worded something like, "And one like unto Samuel appeared to Saul"?

 2011/7/1 15:36
savedtoserve
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Joined: 2011/4/7
Posts: 255


 Re:

I agree, Endzone, Henry's commentary seems to be reading into the text instead of taking God for what he said. When God says "Then Samuel said," He means just that. SAMUEL talked to Saul. Likewise when Samuel said, "to morrow shalt thou and thy sons be with me" that is what happened. They were WITH SAMUEL, not just "in the state of the dead."

 2011/7/1 15:47Profile
ginnyrose
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Joined: 2004/7/7
Posts: 7470
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 Re: Saul and the medium...

I suggest you do something that may get you closer to an answer rather then relying on others to tell you.

Study carefully the life of Saul. Make lists, track his spiritual life as demonstrated by his obedience and attitudes towards God's commands and his servant Samuel and later David. Stand back and take a long look. At the same time you will want to study the law in regards to its commands about witchcraft in all of its forms. If there are any questions about what they entail, check it out. (I must warn you must be very careful here lest you come under their power.) After doing this, the answer may not be as elusive as you think. But if it still is, just know that to determine ones eternal destiny rests with God. Our opinions, understandings can never change that.

Sometimes questions arise for which there is no clear answer given. In those cases I then assume the answer is not important for us humans. If it were God would have been clear with it. And who knows? perhaps the answer would do more harm then good? Sometimes we just have to say we do not know and leave it at that.

My understanding and opinion, but hope it helps.


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Sandra Miller

 2011/7/1 18:06Profile
Areadymind
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Joined: 2009/5/15
Posts: 1042
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 Re: Saul and the medium...

Quote:
1. Since God tells us to not seek after mediums (Lev.19:31) or ones who calls up the dead (Deut.18:9-12) why would God allow Samuel to be called up this way?



All throughout scripture, hundreds of times, God "allows" men to do things contrary to his commandments (think Balaam). I wonder if you mean something else by this question. Do you suspect that God was putting his seal of approval on the use of the medium and the raising of Samuel? This obviously cannot be so since God made it clear not to consult medium's. Just as He made it clear that his people were not to commit adultery, and yet David, the next king...did. God never forces anyone to keep his commands, although He certainly places buffers in place for those who break them.

If that is not what concerns you, I wonder if this is not what it is. Many people are disturbed when they read this passage, myself included, by the fact that it actually worked (by hook or by crook). I think most modern men come to a passage like this with a very rationalistic world view. We tend to see these kinds of occult activities as antiquated poppycock. What tends to disturb us, (I am speaking for myself here) is the notion that God does not somehow prevent this kind of activity from occurring on a "physic's" level. What I mean by that is, it just should not be possible for a man or woman to summon the dead from another realm. I take the passage at face value. It happened, no use in explaining it away.

Quote:
2. Did the medium actually call Samuel up? In 1 Sam.28:11-14, you do not read of any action taken on her part to call Samuel up. She sees the spirit and cries out afraid, but never called the spirit up. So...was it God who allow Samuel to talk to Saul?



The Old Testament narrative commonly leaves out details. It would seem to me that the context would indicate that the necromancer actually did the raising of the medium. I think God would be guilty by proxy of sin had he been the one who raised the medium within this kind of context. (That may be a blanket statement, but I am not sure how He would not be guilty. I suppose if someone brought a reasonable enough argument to the contrary I would at least consider it.) It is not that God cannot raise the dead, it is that he probably needs to do it in His righteous way. We have to remember that the devil is a thief. God raises the dead (ala the transfiguration, Moses, Elijah), but the devil steals God's power and turns it into necromancy. Some things are to be only the realm of God alone. As he IS the resurrection, AND the life.

Quote:
3. Was the spirit actually Samuel or an evil spirit?



Unless otherwise stated, the passage leads us to believe it was, in fact Samuel. Here are some inductive reasons to believe it was him indeed: 1.) Verse 14, "And Saul knew it was Samuel." 2.) Samuel interacts with Saul on behalf of the Lord, he obviously is on the Lord's side (the devil may not have been), I believe this because Samuel just reiterates what he had told Saul before he died. (Look up chapter 15:28. 3.) As others already pointed out, what Samuel prophecies to Saul, comes true. This has never been something the devil and his evil spirits have been very good at. At best for the devil, predicting the future is a highly educated guessing game. Whereas God and His prophets are always dead on (no pun intended.) (We may not always understand the prophecies, but when the come true they are fulfilled in the sense that God spoke them through the prophets.) 4.) Verse 20, in a narrative sense, says that it was the voice of Samuel. 5.) Since the passage never says Samuel was an evil spirit, to think otherwise is to read that into the text. (If there is another passage anywhere in scripture that says it was an evil spirit, please correct me.)

Quote:
4. In that time period, wouldn't people be in Abraham's bosom, and not up in heaven, because Christ had not died on the cross yet. So that could explain,the spirit ascending out of the earth. (remember the rich man and Lazarus, they could see each other)



My inclination is to agree with this. Good questions C-ya.


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Jeremiah Dusenberry

 2011/7/1 18:10Profile
ginnyrose
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Joined: 2004/7/7
Posts: 7470
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 Re:

A broader application of this question can be: how about all those people who claim to have had visions of hell, of heaven? Are they authentic? how do you explain the pagan's visions? Those that seems to inform him that all is well with him?

When one wants to fully understand this issue, it can lead to more troubling questions, so you better be prepared to deal with it.

I am not saying this to trouble you, it just is troubling!


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Sandra Miller

 2011/7/1 18:20Profile









 Re:

areadymind, I liked your analysis of the passage--especially for somebody that lives in the liberal NW--just kidding.

There isn't any verse in the Bible that says it was an evil spirit that appeared to the witch and to Saul because if there were, you can be sure those who try to claim this can't really be Samuel would pound us over the head with it.

 2011/7/1 23:39





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