Saul’s Seance…and the witch of Endor

Saul Endor

Wednesday 06/17/20 

Series: Thru the Bible

Message – Saul’s Seance…and the witch of Endor

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Saul’s Seance…and the witch of Endor

Thru the Bible 1Samuel 26-29

Chapter 26

“(1) Then the Ziphites came to Saul at Gibeah saying, “David is hiding on the hill of Hachilah opposite Jeshimon.” (2) So Saul, accompanied by 3,000 of the choice men of Israel, went to the Wilderness of Ziph to search for David there. (3) Saul camped beside the road at the hill of Hachilah opposite Jeshimon. David was living in the wilderness and discovered Saul had come there after him.”

“(4) So David sent out spies and knew for certain that Saul had come. (5)  Immediately, David went to the place where Saul had camped. He saw the place where Saul and Abner son of Ner, the general of his army, had lain down. Saul was lying inside the inner circle of the camp with the troops camped around him. (6)  Then David asked Ahimelech the Hittite and Joab’s brother Abishai son of Zeruiah, “Who will go with me into the camp to Saul?” “I’ll go with you,” answered Abishai. (7)  That night, David and Abishai came to the troops, and Saul was lying there asleep in the inner circle of the camp with his spear stuck in the ground by his head. Abner and the troops were lying around him.  (8)  Then Abishai said to David, “Today God has handed your enemy over to you. Let me thrust the spear through him into the ground just once. I won’t have to strike him twice!” (9)  But David said to Abishai, “Don’t destroy him, for who can lift a hand against the LORD’s anointed and be blameless?” (10) David added, “As the LORD lives, the LORD will certainly strike him down: either his day will come and he will die, or he will go into battle and perish. (11) However, because of the LORD, I will never lift my hand against the LORD’s anointed. Instead, take the spear and the water jug by his head, and let’s go.” (12) So David took the spear and the water jug by Saul’s head, and they went their way. No one saw them, no one knew, and no one woke up; they all remained asleep because a deep sleep from the LORD came over them. (13) David crossed to the other side and stood on top of the mountain at a distance; there was a considerable space between them. (14) Then David shouted to the troops and to Abner son of Ner: “Aren’t you going to answer, Abner?” 

“Who are you who calls to the king?” Abner asked.  

“(15) David called to Abner, “You’re a man, aren’t you? Who in Israel is your equal? So why didn’t you protect your lord the king when one of the people came to destroy him? (16) What you have done is not good. As the LORD lives, all of you deserve to die since you didn’t protect your lord, the LORD’s anointed. Now look around; where are the king’s spear and water jug that were by his head?”  

(17) Saul recognized David’s voice and asked, “Is that your voice, my son David?” 

“It is my voice, my lord and king,” David said. (18) Then he continued, “Why is my lord pursuing his servant? What have I done? What evil is in my hand? (19) Now, may my lord the king please hear the words of his servant: If it is the LORD who has incited you against me, then may He accept an offering. But if it is people, may they be cursed in the presence of the LORD, for today they have driven me away from sharing in the inheritance of the LORD saying, ‘Go and worship other gods.’ (20) So don’t let my blood fall to the ground far from the LORD’s presence, for the king of Israel has come out to search for a flea, like one who pursues a partridge in the mountains.”  

“(21) Saul responded, “I have sinned. Come back, my son David, I will never harm you again because today you considered my life precious. I have been a fool! I’ve committed a grave error.”  

“(22) David answered, “Here is the king’s spear; have one of the young men come over and get it. (23) May the LORD repay every man for his righteousness and his loyalty. I wasn’t willing to lift my hand against the LORD’s anointed, even though the LORD handed you over to me today.  (24) Just as I considered your life valuable today, so may the LORD consider my life valuable and rescue me from all trouble.” (25) Saul said to him, “You are blessed, my son David. You will certainly do great things and will also prevail.” Then David went on his way, and Saul returned home.”

Chapter 27 David’s Ishmael

“(1) David said to himself, “One of these days I’ll be swept away by Saul. There is nothing better for me than to escape immediately to the land of the Philistines. Then Saul will stop searching for me everywhere in Israel, and I’ll escape from him.”  

This was a statement of a lack of trust. David knew what God had told him regarding his future and being king, yet here David shows more faith in Saul due to his persistence than in God Who had already delivered him countless times.

“(2) So David set out with his 600 men and went to Achish son of Maoch, the king of Gath. (3) David and his men stayed with Achish in Gath. Each man had his family with him, and David had his two wives: Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail of Carmel, Nabal’s widow. (4) When it was reported to Saul that David had fled to Gath, he no longer searched for him. (5) Now David said to Achish, “If I have found favor with you, let me be given a place in one of the outlying towns, so I can live there. Why should your servant live in the royal city with you?”  

“(6) That day Achish gave Ziklag to him, and it still belongs to the kings of Judah today. (7) The time that David stayed in the Philistine territory amounted to a year and four months. (8) David and his men went up and raided the Geshurites, the Girzites, and the Amalekites. From ancient times they had been the inhabitants of the region through Shur as far as the land of Egypt. (9) Whenever David attacked the land, he did not leave a single person alive, either man or woman, but he took flocks, herds, donkeys, camels, and clothing. Then he came back to Achish, (10) who inquired, “Where did you raid today?” David replied, “The south country of Judah,” “The south country of the Jerahmeelites,” or “Against the south country of the Kenites.” (11) David did not let a man or woman live to be brought to Gath, for he said, “Or they will inform on us and say, ‘This is what David did.'” This was David’s custom during the whole time he stayed in the Philistine territory. (12) So Achish trusted David, thinking, “Since he has made himself detestable to his people Israel, he will be my servant forever.”

The wording clarifies that David did not actually kill his fellow Israelites but raided other lands, killed everyone so that his lie would not be exposed to the king. It was a lot of lives David took to cover his lies and protect himself, and this is what always happens. Whenever we seek to protect ourselves as David did by going to the Philistines in the first place, it puts us in a continual pattern of compromise and self-protection until we repent or come to destruction.

Chapter 28

I do not know what to do with this chapter and I am not alone. It is fraught with difficulties. I believe however, that the truth is not seen in the narrative itself, but in understanding that each person in the narrative was being honest about what they experienced as individuals. That does NOT mean that their understanding of what they experienced was accurate and that is an important stipulation.

Here we have a woman who is a necromancer, which is a practice God abhors and forbade. To King Saul’s credit he had driven out all divination from the land, but when he could get no answers any other way he sought out one of the very people he had sought to remove from Israel.

That God hates necromancy hints at the idea that it works – otherwise there seems little to hate but an empty practice – other than the fact that it directs the heart to seek someone for answers or comfort rather than God. It can also be argued that it opens the door for demonic communion as well so there is that possibility.

At face value this witch of Endor summons up the spirit of Samuel for Saul.

That this spirit may have been an evil spirit or no spirit at all since only the witch saw him – is admitted. However, there seemed to be at least some contact and communication from a spirit to this woman since all she said came to pass.

This could be another case like Ahab, where a spirit came and spoke through this woman’s mouth and Samuel never actually appeared to her at all. Who knows? In the end, the results were the same – it was a prophetic word that Saul would die and he did!

Some take exception with the notion that Samuel was disturbed and that he Rose rather than descended from heaven. These are of no issue at all really. The word disturbed could simply mean provoke which is something Saul did regularly to Samuel while he was living so this would not be a stretch, it could also mean to rouse up (as if out of slumber) this may also be appropriate. That he ROSE rather than descended is no issue, since until Jesus came and rescued all those in paradise, they were said to be in the heart of the earth in Abraham’s bosom with a large ravine between they and the damned on the other side.

One thing which implies that this woman at least thought she was truly summoning the dead was her genuine freight at seeing an apparition. The passage does not say she saw an evil spirit who came bearing the appearance of Samuel, just that she saw Samuel – but this is an argument from silence.

One thing which seems to swing contrary to this as a literal happening is that it seems unlikely that the righteous dead could be within the power of an evil practice carried out by a wicked person. That just seems too far beyond the pale for straight-forward acceptance.

In the end, we NEVER want to manipulate scripture to fit within our own preset paradigm. We need to be willing to include in the scope of possible meanings anything that does not in a clear and obvious way break away from the continuity of scripture on any given topic and in this case, regardless of the actual particulars of what occured, it was used as a means to inform Saul of his impending death and it all came true.

“(1) At that time, the Philistines brought their military units together into one army to fight against Israel. So Achish said to David, “You know, of course, that you and your men must march out in the army with me.” (2) David replied to Achish, “Good, you will find out what your servant can do.” So Achish said to David, “Very well, I will appoint you as my permanent bodyguard.” (3) By this time Samuel had died, and all Israel had mourned for him and buried him in Ramah, his city, and Saul had removed the mediums and spiritists from the land. (4) The Philistines came together and camped at Shunem. So Saul gathered all Israel, and they camped at Gilboa. (5) When Saul saw the Philistine camp, he was afraid and trembled violently. (6) He inquired of the LORD, but the LORD did not answer him in dreams or by the Urim or by the prophets. (7) Saul then said to his servants, “Find me a woman who is a medium, so I can go and consult her.” His servants replied, “There is a woman at Endor who is a medium.”  (8) Saul disguised himself by putting on different clothes and set out with two of his men. They came to the woman at night, and Saul said, “Consult a spirit for me. Bring up for me the one I tell you.” (9) But the woman said to him, “You surely know what Saul has done, how he has killed the mediums and spiritists in the land. Why are you setting a trap for me to get me killed?” (10) Then Saul swore to her by the LORD: “As surely as the LORD lives, nothing bad will happen to you because of this.” (11) “Who is it that you want me to bring up for you?” the woman asked. “Bring up Samuel for me,” he answered.  (12)  When the woman saw Samuel, she screamed, and then she asked Saul, “Why did you deceive me? You are Saul!”  (13)  But the king said to her, “Don’t be afraid. What do you see?” “I see a spirit form coming up out of the earth,” the woman answered.  (14)  Then Saul asked her, “What does he look like?” “An old man is coming up,” she replied. “He’s wearing a robe.” Then Saul knew that it was Samuel, and he bowed his face to the ground and paid homage.  (15)  “Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?” Samuel asked Saul. “I’m in serious trouble,” replied Saul. “The Philistines are fighting against me and God has turned away from me. He doesn’t answer me any more, either through the prophets or in dreams. So I’ve called on you to tell me what I should do.”  (16)  Samuel answered, “Since the LORD has turned away from you and has become your enemy, why are you asking me?  (17)  The LORD has done exactly what He said through me: The LORD has torn the kingship out of your hand and given it to your neighbor David.  (18)  You did not obey the LORD and did not carry out His wrath against Amalek; therefore the LORD has done this to you today.  (19)  The LORD will also hand Israel over to the Philistines along with you. Tomorrow you and your sons will be with me, and the LORD will hand Israel’s army over to the Philistines.”  (20)  Immediately, Saul fell flat on the ground. He was terrified by Samuel’s words and was also weak because he hadn’t had any food all day and all night.  (21)  The woman came over to Saul, and she saw that he was terrified and said to him, “Look, your servant has obeyed you. I took my life in my hands and did what you told me to do.  (22)  Now please listen to your servant. Let me set some food in front of you. Eat and it will give you strength so you can go on your way.”  (23)  He refused, saying, “I won’t eat,” but when his servants and the woman urged him, he listened to them. He got up off the ground and sat on the bed.  (24)  The woman had a fattened calf at her house, and she quickly slaughtered it. She also took flour, kneaded it, and baked unleavened bread.  (25)  She served it to Saul and his servants, and they ate. Afterwards, they got up and left that night.”

Chapter 29

“(1) The Philistines brought all their military units together at Aphek while Israel was camped by the spring in Jezreel.  (2)  As the Philistine leaders were passing in review with their units of hundreds and thousands, David and his men were passing in review behind them with Achish.  (3)  Then the Philistine commanders asked, “What are these Hebrews doing here?” Achish answered the Philistine commanders, “That is David, servant of King Saul of Israel. He has been with me a considerable period of time. From the day he defected until today, I’ve found no fault with him.”  (4)  The Philistine commanders, however, were enraged with Achish and told him, “Send that man back and let him return to the place you assigned him. He must not go down with us into battle only to become our adversary during the battle. What better way could he regain his master’s favor than with the heads of our men?  (5)  Isn’t this the David they sing about during their dances: Saul has killed his thousands, but David his tens of thousands?”  (6)  So Achish summoned David and told him, “As the LORD lives, you are an honorable man. I think it is good to have you working with me in the camp, because I have found no fault in you from the day you came to me until today. But the leaders don’t think you are reliable.  (7)  Now go back quietly and you won’t be doing anything the Philistine leaders think is wrong.”  (8)  “But what have I done?” David replied to Achish. “From the first day I was with you until today, what have you found against your servant to keep me from going along to fight against the enemies of my lord the king?”  (9)  Achish answered David, “I’m convinced that you are as reliable as an angel of God. But the Philistine commanders have said, ‘He must not go into battle with us.’  (10)  So get up early in the morning, you and your masters’ servants who came with you. When you’ve all gotten up early, go as soon as it’s light.”  (11)  So David and his men got up early in the morning to return to the land of the Philistines. And the Philistines went up to Jezreel.”

This is another difficult passage, for David seems all but eager to prove his loyalty to this pagan king by going to war against his own brethren. However, the situation bore out a solution which not only kept David back from such an egregious sin, but also placed him back in communion with God once more as we will see resulted from this refusal to allow him to go to war against his own people. 



I hope this teaching will challenge you and encourage you to place your trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.

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Hi my name is Mark and though I am opposed to titles, I am currently the only Pastor (shepherd/elder) serving our assembly right now.

I have been Pastoring in one capacity or another for nearly 30 years now, though never quite like I am today.

Early in 2009 the Lord revealed to me that the way we had structured our assembly (church) was not scriptural in that it was out of sync with what Paul modeled for us in the New Testament. In truth, I (like many pastors I am sure) never even gave this fundamental issue of church structure the first thought. I had always assumed that church structure was largely the same everywhere and had been so from the beginning. While I knew Paul had some very stringent things to say about the local assembly of believers, the point of our gatherings together and who may or may not lead, I never even considered studying these issues but assumed we were all pretty much doing it in numbers right?! Boy, I couldn't have been more wrong!

So needless to say, my discovery that we had been doing it wrong for nearly two decades was a bit of a shock to me! Now, this "revelation" that did not come about all at once but over the course of a few weeks. We were a traditional single pastor led congregation. It was a top-bottom model of ministry which is in part biblical, but not in the form of a monarchy.

The needed change did not come into focus until following 9 very intense months of study and discussions with those who were leaders in our church at the time.

We now understand and believe that the Bible teaches co-leadership with equal authority in each local assembly. Having multiple shepherds with God's heart and equal authority protects both Shepherds and sheep. Equal accountability keep authority and doctrine in check. Multiple shepherds also provides teaching with various styles and giftings with leadership skills which are both different and complementary.

For a while we had two co-pastors (elders) (myself and one other man) who led the church with equal authority, but different giftings. We both taught in our own ways and styles, and our leadership skills were quite different, but complimentary. We were in complete submission to each other and worked side-by-side in the labor of shepherding the flock.

Our other Pastor has since moved on to other ministry which has left us with just myself. While we currently only have one Pastor/Elder, it is our desire that God, in His faithfulness and timing, may bring us more as we grow in maturity and even in numbers.

As to my home, I have been married since 1995 to my wonderful wife Terissa Woodson who is my closest friend and most trusted ally.

As far as my education goes, I grew up in a Christian home, but questioned everything I was ever taught.

I graduated from Bible college in 1990 and continued to question everything I was ever taught (I do not mention my college in order to avoid being labeled).

Perhaps my greatest preparation for ministry has been life and ministry itself. To quote an author I have come to enjoy namely Fredrick Buechner in his writing entitled, Now and Then, "If God speaks to us at all other than through such official channels as the Bible and the church, then I think that He speaks to us largely through what happens to us...if we keep our hearts open as well as our ears, if we listen with patience and hope, if we remember at all deeply and honestly, then I think we come to recognize beyond all doubt, that, however faintly we may hear Him, He is indeed speaking to us, and that, however little we may understand of it, His word to each of us is both recoverable and precious beyond telling." ~ Fredrick Buechner

Well that is about all there is of interest to tell you about me.

I hope our ministry here is a blessing to you and your family. I also hope that it is only a supplement to a local church where you are committed to other believers in a community of grace.

~God Bless!