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THE WITCH OF ENDOR: Part I



SAUL AND THE WITCH OF ENDOR


1 Samuel 28:8-12

So Saul disguised himself, putting on other clothes, and at night he
and two men went to the woman. "Consult a spirit for me," he said,
"and bring up for me the one I name."


But the woman said to him, "Surely you know what Saul has done. He
has cut off the mediums and spiritists from the land. Why have you
set a trap for my life to bring about my death?"


Saul swore to her by the LORD, "As surely as the LORD lives, you
will not be punished for this."


Then the woman asked, "Whom shall I bring up for you?" "Bring up
Samuel," he said.


When the woman saw Samuel, she cried out at the top of her voice
and said to Saul, "Why have you deceived me? You are Saul!"



1 Samuel 28 describes how after King Saul had disobeyed God because Saul had rejected the word of God, that God rejected Saul from being king and the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul. Instead, an evil spirit from the Lord troubled him. Eventually Samuel died and Saul “had put those that had familiar spirits, and the wizards, out of the land.”

When Saul faced a crisis, and “inquired of the Lord, the Lord answered him not, neither by dreams, nor by Urim, nor by prophets.” Saul then sought out a “woman that hath a familiar spirit” to inquire of her.

In Saul’s meeting with the witch of Endor, note that Saul said “... divine unto me by the familiar spirit, and bring me him up, whom I shall name unto thee.”

Divine” is qacam, Strong’s Definition is: a primitive root; properly, to distribute, i.e. determine by lot or magical scroll; by implication, to divine.

Excerpts from Vine’s Expository Dictionary on this word, “qacam–“to divine, practice divination.” ... Divination was a pagan parallel to prophesying: “There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or daughter pass through the fire, one who uses divination.... For those nations, which you shall dispossess, listen to those who practice witchcraft and to diviners, but as for you the Lord your God has not allowed you to do so. The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your countrymen; you shall listen to him” (Deut. 18:10,14-15)—first occurrence. ... Qacam is a seeking after the will of the gods, in an effort to learn their future action or divine blessing on some proposed future action (Josh. 13:22). It seems probable that the diviners conversed with demons (1 Cor. 10:20).

The practice of divination ... might also involve the use of a hole in the ground, through which the diviner spoke to the spirits of the dead (1 Sam. 28:8). At other times, a diviner might shake arrows, consult with household idols, or study the livers of dead animals (Ezek. 21:21).

Divination was one of man’s attempts to know and control the world and the future, apart from the true God. It was the opposite of true prophecy, which essentially is submission to God’s sovereignty (Deut. 18:14).”

Saul knew very well what he was asking for. He also stated “bring me him up”

Strong’s Concordance defines the word “up,” alah, as “a primitive root; to ascend, intransitively (be high) or actively (mount); used in a great variety of senses, primary and secondary, literal and figurative.” A snippet from Vine’s Expository Dictionary on the word, alah, mentions that “Basically, alah suggests movement from a lower to a higher place. That is the emphasis in (Gen. 2:6) (the first occurrence of the word), which reports that Eden was watered by a mist or stream that “went up” over the ground.”

Saul knew that he was invoking a pagan parallel to true prophecy and that when he requested the presence of Samuel that Samuel would not descend from heaven, but would be brought up from the earth.

When the apparition did, in fact, appear to the witch, “... she cried with a loud voice ...” which very strongly emphasizes that she was stunned, and probably terrified at what she then saw. The entity apparently then immediately identified Saul for the witch. When Saul asked her what she saw she replied that “... I saw gods ascending out of the earth.” “Gods” is elohyim, which according to Strong’s Concordance is a plural word for gods in the ordinary sense; but specifically used (in the plural thus, especially with the article) of the supreme God; occasionally applied by way of deference to magistrates; and sometimes as a superlative and translated in the KJV as angels, X exceeding, God (gods)- dess, -ly), X (very) great, judges, X mighty.

Apparently the witch was not expecting to see what she saw come up out of the earth and shrieked in shock and terror and then described the apparition as “gods.”

That Saul saw nothing is clear from the biblical text as he asked the witch “... what form is he of ...” The witch then described what she saw and then Saul “perceived” that it was Saul.

Perceived is yada and an excerpt from Vine’s Expository Dictionary tells us “yada, “to know,” ... Essentially yada means: (1) to know by observing and reflecting (thinking), and (2) to know by experiencing. The first sense appears in (Gen. 8:11), where Noah “knew” the waters had abated as a result of seeing the freshly picked olive leaf in the dove’s mouth; he “knew” it after observing and thinking about what he had seen. He did not actually see or experience the abatement himself.

In contrast to this knowing through reflection is the knowing which comes through experience with the senses, by investigation and proving, by reflection and consideration (firsthand knowing).”

Since Saul had to ask the witch what she saw, it’s clear that Saul “perceived” this by simply thinking that it was Saul, as his visual senses were not involved.

The dialog that followed between Samuel and Saul suggests that they talked directly to each other. However, more probably the witch acted as a proxy for the apparition, however this is conjectural. One statement by “Samuel” is revealing in that he said, “Why hath thou disquieted me, to bring me up?”

The word “disquieted” according to Strong’s Concordance is ragaz; a primitive root; to quiver (with any violent emotion, especially anger or fear). It’s translated in the KJV as be afraid, stand in awe, disquiet, fall out, fret, move, provoke, quake, rage, shake, tremble, trouble, be wroth.

Why would there be a violent emotion, here, of anger? (Fear is not implied anywhere in the biblical text.)

This whole incident, from the reaction of stunned terror by the witch describing a plurality of spiritual beings arising from the earth, Saul’s presumption in assuming the plurality of spiritual beings to be the singular spirit of Samuel to the violent emotional anger expressed by the supernatural entity all suggest that this was not a “normal” happening for the witch.

Instead it strongly suggests that God Himself, in His continuing anger at Saul for having disobeyed Him, intervened in this account to deliver a prophecy to Saul that he had now come full circle in his transgressions of rebellion and doing abominable practices and would now die for them.


SEE:
THE WITCH OF ENDOR: Part II




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