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1 Samuel 28


1 Samuel 28 is a pivotal chapter that captures the depths of King Saul’s despair and his turn to forbidden practices as he faces the threat of the Philistine army. This chapter highlights Saul’s spiritual decline and foreshadows the tragic end of his reign. Key aspects include:
Philistine War Preparations and David’s Role: The Philistines gather their forces for war against Israel. Achish, the king of Gath, expects David and his men to join the Philistine army, creating a complicated situation for David.
Saul’s Desperation for Guidance: Saul, troubled by the Philistine threat and abandoned by the LORD (who no longer answers him through dreams, Urim, or prophets), seeks a medium to consult the spirit world for guidance.
Consultation with the Witch of Endor: In disguise, Saul visits a medium at Endor, asking her to conjure up the spirit of Samuel. Despite the ban on necromancy and having driven out mediums and spiritists, Saul is desperate for direction.
The Apparition of Samuel: The medium conjures an apparition resembling Samuel, which frightens her. Saul perceives it to be Samuel and asks for his help.
Samuel’s Prophecy of Doom: The apparition, speaking as Samuel, rebukes Saul for disturbing him and reiterates that the LORD has torn the kingdom out of Saul’s hands because of his disobedience. It foretells Israel’s defeat and Saul’s death along with his sons.
Saul’s Distress and the Medium’s Hospitality: Saul, terrified and weakened by the prophecy, is encouraged by the medium and his servants to eat. After initially refusing, he gives in and eats before departing that night.
1 Samuel 28 serves as a grim reminder of the consequences of turning away from God’s guidance. Saul’s recourse to a medium, in defiance of God’s law, signifies his spiritual and moral decay. The prophecy of doom from the apparition of Samuel sets the stage for the final chapters of Saul’s troubled reign, emphasizing the irrevocable nature of divine judgment when faced with persistent disobedience. This chapter starkly contrasts Saul’s decline with David’s rising fortunes, as the narrative of the first king of Israel heads towards its tragic conclusion.

1 Samuel 28

1  And it came to pass in those days, that the Philistines gathered their armies together for warfare, to fight with Israel. And Achish said unto David, Know thou assuredly, that thou shalt go out with me to battle, thou and thy men.

2  And David said to Achish, Surely thou shalt know what thy servant can do. And Achish said to David, Therefore will I make thee keeper of mine head for ever.

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 that had familiar spirits, and the wizards, out of the land.

4  And the Philistines gathered themselves together, and came and pitched in Shunem: and Saul gathered all Israel together, and they pitched in Gilboa.

5  And when Saul saw the host of the Philistines, he was afraid, and his heart greatly trembled.

6  And when Saul enquired of the LORD, the LORD answered him not, neither by dreams, nor by Urim, nor by prophets.

🔑↑ Pulpit Parallel:  Growing Into Your Spiritual Birthright (Part 1)

7  Then said Saul unto his servants, Seek me a woman that hath a familiar spirit, that I may go to her, and enquire of her. And his servants said to him, Behold, there is a woman that hath a familiar spirit at Endor.

8  And Saul disguised himself, and put on other raiment, and he went, and two men with him, and they came to the woman by night: and he said, I pray thee, divine unto me by the familiar spirit, and bring me him up, whom I shall name unto thee.

9  And the woman said unto him, Behold, thou knowest what Saul hath done, how he hath cut off those that have familiar spirits, and the wizards, out of the land: wherefore then layest thou a snare for my life, to cause me to die?

10  And Saul sware to her by the LORD, saying, As the LORD liveth, there shall no punishment happen to thee for this thing.

11  Then said the woman, Whom shall I bring up unto thee? And he said, Bring me up Samuel.

12  And when the woman saw Samuel, she cried with a loud voice: and the woman spake to Saul, saying, Why hast thou deceived me? for thou art Saul.

13  And the king said unto her, Be not afraid: for what sawest thou? And the woman said unto Saul, I saw gods ascending out of the earth.

14  And he said unto her, What form is he of? And she said, An old man cometh 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 hast thou disquieted me, to bring me up? And Saul answered, I am sore distressed; for the Philistines make war against me, and God is departed from me, and answereth me no more, neither by prophets, nor by dreams: therefore I have called thee, that thou mayest make known unto me what I shall do.

16  Then said Samuel, Wherefore then dost thou ask of me, seeing the LORD is departed from thee, and is become thine enemy?

17  And the LORD hath done to him, as he spake by me: for the LORD hath rent the kingdom out of thine hand, and given it to thy neighbour, even to David:

18  Because thou obeyedst not the voice of the LORD, nor executedst his fierce wrath upon Amalek, therefore hath the LORD done this thing unto thee this day.

19  Moreover the LORD will also deliver Israel with thee into the hand of the Philistines: and to morrow shalt thou and thy sons be with me: the LORD also shall deliver the host of Israel into the hand of the Philistines.

20  Then Saul fell straightway all along on the earth, and was sore afraid, because of the words of Samuel: and there was no strength in him; for he had eaten no bread all the day, nor all the night.

21  And the woman came unto Saul, and saw that he was sore troubled, and said unto him, Behold, thine handmaid hath obeyed thy voice, and I have put my life in my hand, and have hearkened unto thy words which thou spakest unto me.

22  Now therefore, I pray thee, hearken thou also unto the voice of thine handmaid, and let me set a morsel of bread before thee; and eat, that thou mayest have strength, when thou goest on thy way.

23  But he refused, and said, I will not eat. But his servants, together with the woman, compelled him; and he hearkened unto their voice. So he arose from the earth, and sat upon the bed.

24  And the woman had a fat calf in the house; and she hasted, and killed it, and took flour, and kneaded it, and did bake unleavened bread thereof:

25  And she brought it before Saul, and before his servants; and they did eat. Then they rose up, and went away that night.

End of 1 Samuel 28

1 Year Plan:  May 4 - 1 Sa 27, 1 Sa 28,  John 20

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