1 Samuel 28 and the Witch/Medium: What spirit did she bring up?

Who/What does the Witch of En-dor call up for Saul (1 Sam. 28) [see text below]

  • No one, it was a hoax, she's a fake

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • The Devil, disguised as Samuel

    Votes: 11 16.2%
  • Samuel

    Votes: 54 79.4%
  • Other

    Votes: 3 4.4%

  • Total voters
    68
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Not open for further replies.

larryjf

Puritan Board Senior
Where they legitimate? My opinion is that the incident in 1 Samuel 28 is unlawful and, therefore, illegitimate. The communication from Balaam's donkey, while not normal, was not unlawful; it was therefore legitimate.

I disagree with the presumption that if something isn't illegal it's legitimate.

I didn't say that. I said that the incident in 1 Samuel 28 is UNLAWFUL and, therefore, illegitimate. Saul's seeking out the witch of Endor was an unlawful act.

I wasn't referring to what you said about the unlawful act of speaking to the dead, I was referring to what you said in the bold part of the quote above.
 

Herald

Administrator
Staff member
I disagree with the presumption that if something isn't illegal it's legitimate.

I didn't say that. I said that the incident in 1 Samuel 28 is UNLAWFUL and, therefore, illegitimate. Saul's seeking out the witch of Endor was an unlawful act.

I wasn't referring to what you said about the unlawful act of speaking to the dead, I was referring to what you said in the bold part of the quote above.

God is the one who caused Balaam's donkey to speak; whether through the mouth of God, or an angel. While not a normal act, it was not unlawful. Since it was not unlawful, and it was initiated by God, it was legitimate.
 

larryjf

Puritan Board Senior
I didn't say that. I said that the incident in 1 Samuel 28 is UNLAWFUL and, therefore, illegitimate. Saul's seeking out the witch of Endor was an unlawful act.

I wasn't referring to what you said about the unlawful act of speaking to the dead, I was referring to what you said in the bold part of the quote above.

God is the one who caused Balaam's donkey to speak; whether through the mouth of God, or an angel. While not a normal act, it was not unlawful. Since it was not unlawful, and it was initiated by God, it was legitimate.

Perhaps we're talking past each other.
It is the presumption of your last statement that i don't agree with...that if something is not unlawful it is legitimate. That's what i said originally, so i think that we've come full circle.
 

Herald

Administrator
Staff member
I wasn't referring to what you said about the unlawful act of speaking to the dead, I was referring to what you said in the bold part of the quote above.

God is the one who caused Balaam's donkey to speak; whether through the mouth of God, or an angel. While not a normal act, it was not unlawful. Since it was not unlawful, and it was initiated by God, it was legitimate.

Perhaps we're talking past each other.
It is the presumption of your last statement that i don't agree with...that if something is not unlawful it is legitimate. That's what i said originally, so i think that we've come full circle.

Larry, I am limiting my comment to the Lord speaking through Balaam's donkey. In that specific situation it was legitimatized because it was the Lord that was doing it. To say otherwise is to claim that the Lord had illegitimately spoken through Balaam's donkey. What am I missing here?
 

larryjf

Puritan Board Senior
God is the one who caused Balaam's donkey to speak; whether through the mouth of God, or an angel. While not a normal act, it was not unlawful. Since it was not unlawful, and it was initiated by God, it was legitimate.

Perhaps we're talking past each other.
It is the presumption of your last statement that i don't agree with...that if something is not unlawful it is legitimate. That's what i said originally, so i think that we've come full circle.

Larry, I am limiting my comment to the Lord speaking through Balaam's donkey. In that specific situation it was legitimatized because it was the Lord that was doing it. To say otherwise is to claim that the Lord had illegitimately spoken through Balaam's donkey. What am I missing here?

Yes, i see your clarification there. I was still thinking of your post that didn't reference God...
The communication from Balaam's donkey, while not normal, was not unlawful; it was therefore legitimate.

Would you then say that the Lord was not the one behind Samuel speaking to Saul?
 

Herald

Administrator
Staff member
Would you then say that the Lord was not the one behind Samuel speaking to Saul?

Not directly. It is similar to the permission Satan received to oppress Job.

Job 1:12 12 Then the LORD said to Satan, "Behold, all that he has is in your power, only do not put forth your hand on him." So Satan departed from the presence of the LORD.

Job 2:6 6 So the LORD said to Satan, "Behold, he is in your power, only spare his life."

The LORD certainly knew the incident with Saul and the witch at Endor would take place. I happen to believe He allowed this satanic visitation to take place as part of his judgment on Saul.
 

OPC'n

Puritan Board Doctor
I believe if we start deciding that what the Bible says in one passage isn't really what it means, then those who do it concerning salvific passages cannot be condemned for doing so. I get nervous when ppl start doing this. Others can then turn around and start changing different parts of the Bible bc we feel it's not in line with what God normally does. Many times in the Bible ppl have done things which were forbad and yet God used their sin to accomplish His work. The woman couldn't have been a fake bc what she said would happen really did happen. This woman who made her living doing this type of work was greatly afraid....afraid of what? Well, Saul himself had stated that he would kill sorcerers. Why wasn't she afraid when he asked for Samuel, but instead was afraid only when she saw Samuel? This woman wasn't afraid of seeing spirits since this was her job. She was afraid for her life bc of Saul's decree against her line of work. When she saw that Samuel indeed had come she knew that Samuel would appear for only one person....the king of Israel. To say that it isn't Samuel, is to say that the Bible intensionally lied to us. There is no evidence to show that this Samuel was a demon disguised as Samuel who, btw, prophesied about the future with accuracy and with harsh judgment. Not that God can't use a demon to do His work, but this text doesn't allude to it being a demon and I'd rather not give demons all that credit. She couldn't be a fake bc what she said would happen really did happen. So she couldn't have been pretending to be afraid acting like she saw Saul and then give him accurate info. Besides, if she were a fake she would have been afraid bc of the request of the man wanting to speak to Samuel and would have right then denied being a sorcerer in order to preserve her life.
 

larryjf

Puritan Board Senior
If verse 14 is a reference to Saul worshipping Samuel, and Samuel accepts such worship, then I can see how it could be a devil feigning to be Samuel.
 

OPC'n

Puritan Board Doctor
If verse 14 is a reference to Saul worshipping Samuel, and Samuel accepts such worship, then I can see how it could be a devil feigning to be Samuel.

Not true really. This is more of a sign of Saul giving due honor to Samuel. Saul was used to ppl bowing before him as a sign of respect and honor and as king he knew the significance of such an act and extended that respect to someone he knew deserved it.
 

larryjf

Puritan Board Senior
I find it interesting that verse 14 has Saul both "stooping with his face to the ground" and "bowed himself"

The "bowed" is from translated from "וַיִּשְׁתָּֽחוּ"

The "stooping" is translated from "וַיִּקֹּ֥ד"

It seems to me that it could be speaking of more than a paying of respect to a prophet.
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
I believe if we start deciding that what the Bible says in one passage isn't really what it means, then those who do it concerning salvific passages cannot be condemned for doing so. I get nervous when ppl start doing this. Others can then turn around and start changing different parts of the Bible bc we feel it's not in line with what God normally does. Many times in the Bible ppl have done things which were forbad and yet God used their sin to accomplish His work.
Sarah,
Of course you are right about much of what you say here. But there is just a bit of "begging the question" there. Namely, that the pro-Samuel side has definitely got the "sense" intended by the passage, so the other people must be casting aspersions on the clarity or truthfulness of the text.

Sure, guys like Calvin and Henry could be wrong; they were humans. But we ought to at least consider that those guys--who most certainly trusted the Bible, were good exegetes, and believed in the simplicity of the gospel--could have been faithful to the text as is, without twisting it. Yet came to another conclusion.

WCF 1:7 All things in Scripture are not alike plain in themselves, nor alike clear unto all (2Pe_3:16): yet those things which are necessary to be known, believed, and observed for salvation, are so clearly propounded...

The woman couldn't have been a fake bc what she said would happen really did happen.
This is not a good argument, because it implies that the devil tells the infallible truth when he makes predictions. One big problem with mediums and spiritists is precisely in what they claim they can do with the aid of beings and souls from the "beyond", who have "special insights" that regular people lack.

This woman who made her living doing this type of work was greatly afraid....afraid of what? Well, Saul himself had stated that he would kill sorcerers. Why wasn't she afraid when he asked for Samuel, but instead was afraid only when she saw Samuel? This woman wasn't afraid of seeing spirits since this was her job.
For all we know, this woman was always afraid of the demons she worked with, but kept it hid under her professional demeanor. If she wasn't, she should have been...

The fact that she "saw" anything, actually saw it, might have been what startled her more than anything. Most mediums are complete con artists, but they are very good at drawing out information from their clients, to use in telling their "fortunes".

But assuming that she had occasion to deal directly with the truly demonic, she would have "expected" one thing, and gotten another this time. And anyway, her "line of work" didn't deal in "truth" at all.

She was afraid for her life bc of Saul's decree against her line of work. When she saw that Samuel indeed had come she knew that Samuel would appear for only one person....the king of Israel.
This is pure speculation though, dear, that Samuel would come back for one man, this king. It is just as likely that she expected that one demon would appear when Saul was coming (who had perhaps warned her in the past when Saul was approaching with his soldiers, and that's how she had previously escaped death--just a speculation, but no more fanciful than the other).

The fact is, the text only tells us that when she saw "Samuel" in some way she discerned her client's identity. Perhaps the "shade" told her directly who it was with her.

To say that it isn't Samuel, is to say that the Bible intensionally lied to us. There is no evidence to show that this Samuel was a demon disguised as Samuel who, btw, prophesied about the future with accuracy and with harsh judgment. Not that God can't use a demon to do His work, but this text doesn't allude to it being a demon and I'd rather not give demons all that credit.
But your statement that there's no evidence is itself an interpretation of the evidence, and I would argue that the evidence (the text) is itself evidence that it wasn't and couldn't have been Samuel.

We are both bringing "expectations" along with us to the text. You, that if the text "names" a certain person, then that person named must be the one present. Me, that the dead don't actually "return" under any circumstances. And therefore, the "Samuel" is a simulacrum, and it is named that because there is no better name by which to call it. There's no way to put "dittomarks" around the identifier, so we'd have to guess if it was or wasn't from other factors.

Other details from the text:
--The "vision" is only seen by the medium, so Saul is entirely reliant on her account of what she "sees". He doesn't "see" "Samuel" speaking, his lips moving, he only hears him in conversation.
--The "shade" comes "UP" from the ground, like what might be expected of those gone "DOWN" to the pit, not up to heaven. This would likely have been in line with her other lying "visions".
--"Tomorrow you and your sons will be with ME." Would the real Samuel have said this, and meant heaven? It could simply mean "Sheol" of the dead, but wouldn't the real Samuel know differently?


I would rather not give necromancy any credit, rather than fear to let demons get credit for bringing bad news. God refused to let Samuel speak to Saul while he was alive. So, I find it hard to accept that in this desperate hour, after refusing to speak to him by dreams, Urim, and other prophets, God did give him a direct word from the Lord through an cursed methodology.


Anyway, I hope you will cut good teachers in the church a bit more slack, rather than thinking they must be soft on Scripture's veracity.

And thank you for YOUR trust in God's perfect truthfulness!
 
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OPC'n

Puritan Board Doctor
Sarah,
Of course you are right about much of what you say here. But there is just a bit of "begging the question" there. Namely, that the pro-Samuel side has definitely got the "sense" intended by the passage, so the other people must be casting aspersions on the clarity or truthfulness of the text.
I just think we should have Scripture which backs up what we conclude is right. Is there any Scripture which states that it really wasn't Samuel? If not, I believe we have to take Scripture at it's word.

Sure, guys like Calvin and Henry could be wrong; they were humans. But we ought to at least consider that those guys--who most certainly trusted the Bible, were good exegetes, and believed in the simplicity of the gospel--could have been faithful to the text as is, without twisting it. Yet came to another conclusion.
I love Calvin but I cannot ignore what the Bible states just bc I love his work and admire him so much....if he has a Scriptural defense as to why he believes she was faking or seeing demons then I certainly will change my mind.

WCF 1:7 All things in Scripture are not alike in plain in themselves, nor alike clear unto all (2Pe_3:16): yet those things which are necessary to be known, believed, and observed for salvation, are so clearly propounded...
this is quite true as exampled by Peter concerning Paul, but this is a very plain text. Complex Scriptures have other simpler Scriptures which interpret their meaning. Do we have another Scripture to show us that it really wasn't Samuel or shouldn't we just say this is a plain and simple text which should be taken according to face value?

The woman couldn't have been a fake bc what she said would happen really did happen.

This is not a good argument, because it implies that the devil tells the infallible truth when he makes predictions. One big problem with mediums and spiritists is precisely in what they claim they can do with the aid of beings and souls from the "beyond", who have "special insights" that regular people lack.
You misunderstand me. I'm saying that she could not be a fake bc she was privy to truth which can only come from God. Satan isn't privy to future events....so I'm not saying that "the devil tells the infallible truth when he make predictions.

For all we know, this woman was always afraid of the demons she worked with, but kept it hid under her professional demeanor. If she wasn't, she should have been...
and yet you say, "The fact that she "saw" anything, actually saw it, might have been what startled her more than anything. Most mediums are complete con artists, but they are very good at drawing out information from their clients, to use in telling their "fortunes". So was she a con artists or was she always scared to do her job? Notice in the text she isn't afraid that she saw Samuel but only that she realized that it was Saul who was her customer and felt as though her life was in jeopardy.


But assuming that she had occasion to deal directly with the truly demonic, she would have "expected" one thing, and gotten another this time. And anyway, her "line of work" didn't deal in "truth" at all.
This is exactly my point. She was expecting the same "type of spirits" she was always use to and yet she got something completely different....Samuel! And you are giving credence to my argument when you say her line of work didn't deal in the truth which is all the more evidence that this was Samuel who was telling Saul future events. This woman or Satan through this woman could have never given out future events they knew nothing about. If God had used these two sources to tell Saul future events, I believe God would have told us that He used them, but He doesn't tell us that.

She was afraid for her life bc of Saul's decree against her line of work. When she saw that Samuel indeed had come she knew that Samuel would appear for only one person....the king of Israel.
This is pure speculation though, dear, that Samuel would come back for one man, this king. It is just as likely that she expected that one demon would appear when Saul was coming (who had perhaps warned her in the past when Saul was approaching with his soldiers, and that's how she had previously escaped death--just a speculation, but no more fanciful than the other).
I very well may be wrong that Samuel wouldn't show up for just the average Joe, but this particular woman might have felt this way otherwise what would have lead her to instantly think it was Saul making the request?

The fact is, the text only tells us that when she saw "Samuel" in some way she discerned her client's identity. Perhaps the "shade" told her directly who it was with her.
Perhaps but you don't have proof of that.

To say that it isn't Samuel, is to say that the Bible intensionally lied to us. There is no evidence to show that this Samuel was a demon disguised as Samuel who, btw, prophesied about the future with accuracy and with harsh judgment. Not that God can't use a demon to do His work, but this text doesn't allude to it being a demon and I'd rather not give demons all that credit.
But your statement that there's no evidence is itself an interpretation of the evidence, and I would argue that the evidence (the text) is itself evidence that it wasn't and couldn't have been Samuel.
Where is this evidence?

We are both bringing "expectations" along with us to the text. You, that if the text "names" a certain person, then that person named must be the one present. Me, that the dead don't actually "return" under any circumstances. And therefore, the "Samuel" is a simulacrum, and it is named that because there is no other name by which to call it.
. Seas don't roll back to expose dry land either but it happened under God's direct command. I agree that this isn't a common act....maybe this is the only one, but there's nothing in Scripture which says that this would never take place.

Other details from the text:
--The "vision" is only seen by the medium, so Saul is entirely reliant on her account of what she "sees". He doesn't "see" "Samuel" speaking, his lips moving, he only hears him in conversation.
If this story was in a fairy tale book which someone wrote about Saul and Samuel, I wouldn't believe it. However, it is Scripture which tells us what she saw. I don't need Saul to be a witness to what she saw I only need Scripture to tell me.
--The "shade" comes "UP" from the ground, like what might be expected of those gone "DOWN" to the pit, not up to heaven. This would likely have been in line with her other lying "visions".
Or another reasonable thought would be that Samuel was buried in the earth. Christ rose from under the ground bc He had been dead not bc He was in hell.
--"Tomorrow you and your sons will be with ME." Would the real Samuel have said this, and meant heaven? It could simply mean "Sheol" of the dead, but wouldn't the real Samuel know differently?
It is my understanding from other teachers (Sproul) that this phrase precisely means death. So Samuel was in essence telling Saul that he was going to be dead just like he was dead (physically)


I would rather not give necromancy any credit, rather than fear to let demons get credit for bringing bad news. God refused to let Samuel speak to Saul while he was alive. So, I find it hard to accept that in this desperate hour, after refusing to speak to him by dreams, Urim, and other prophets, God did give him a direct word from the Lord through an cursed methodology.
Just bc God wouldn't let him speak to Saul while living doesn't mean God didn't allow it in this instance. I've seen this happen before in Scripture. I'll try to find the exact text that I'm thinking of.


Anyway, I hope you will cut good teachers in the church a bit more slack, rather than thinking they must be soft on Scripture's veracity.
I never said they were soft on Scripture's veracity. I didn't come up with the basic ideas (some of the thoughts I put in here are my own) of this being Samuel. I learned them from other reformed teachers.

And thank you for YOUR trust in God's perfect truthfulness!
And yours too!
 
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Herald

Administrator
Staff member
I believe if we start deciding that what the Bible says in one passage isn't really what it means, then those who do it concerning salvific passages cannot be condemned for doing so. I get nervous when ppl start doing this. Others can then turn around and start changing different parts of the Bible bc we feel it's not in line with what God normally does. Many times in the Bible ppl have done things which were forbad and yet God used their sin to accomplish His work. The woman couldn't have been a fake bc what she said would happen really did happen. This woman who made her living doing this type of work was greatly afraid....afraid of what? Well, Saul himself had stated that he would kill sorcerers. Why wasn't she afraid when he asked for Samuel, but instead was afraid only when she saw Samuel? This woman wasn't afraid of seeing spirits since this was her job. She was afraid for her life bc of Saul's decree against her line of work. When she saw that Samuel indeed had come she knew that Samuel would appear for only one person....the king of Israel. To say that it isn't Samuel, is to say that the Bible intensionally lied to us. There is no evidence to show that this Samuel was a demon disguised as Samuel who, btw, prophesied about the future with accuracy and with harsh judgment. Not that God can't use a demon to do His work, but this text doesn't allude to it being a demon and I'd rather not give demons all that credit. She couldn't be a fake bc what she said would happen really did happen. So she couldn't have been pretending to be afraid acting like she saw Saul and then give him accurate info. Besides, if she were a fake she would have been afraid bc of the request of the man wanting to speak to Samuel and would have right then denied being a sorcerer in order to preserve her life.

Sarah,

I urge you to be careful with throwing out ideas that the bible lied to us if Samuel did not really appear to Saul and the witch of Endor. In this thread three venerable theologians, Matthew Henry, John Gill, and John Calvin, have been cited in defense of the position that Samuel did not appear. You are not required to agree with them, but it would be unwise to assume they did not have good reason for their conviction.

In all honesty, this is not a hill anyone of us should choose to die on. I would urge caution in carrying the question posed in the OP to extremes. It is worth studying and debating; but it is not of sufficient gravity to assume those who disagree with you are turing scripture into a book of lies.
 

OPC'n

Puritan Board Doctor
I believe if we start deciding that what the Bible says in one passage isn't really what it means, then those who do it concerning salvific passages cannot be condemned for doing so. I get nervous when ppl start doing this. Others can then turn around and start changing different parts of the Bible bc we feel it's not in line with what God normally does. Many times in the Bible ppl have done things which were forbad and yet God used their sin to accomplish His work. The woman couldn't have been a fake bc what she said would happen really did happen. This woman who made her living doing this type of work was greatly afraid....afraid of what? Well, Saul himself had stated that he would kill sorcerers. Why wasn't she afraid when he asked for Samuel, but instead was afraid only when she saw Samuel? This woman wasn't afraid of seeing spirits since this was her job. She was afraid for her life bc of Saul's decree against her line of work. When she saw that Samuel indeed had come she knew that Samuel would appear for only one person....the king of Israel. To say that it isn't Samuel, is to say that the Bible intensionally lied to us. There is no evidence to show that this Samuel was a demon disguised as Samuel who, btw, prophesied about the future with accuracy and with harsh judgment. Not that God can't use a demon to do His work, but this text doesn't allude to it being a demon and I'd rather not give demons all that credit. She couldn't be a fake bc what she said would happen really did happen. So she couldn't have been pretending to be afraid acting like she saw Saul and then give him accurate info. Besides, if she were a fake she would have been afraid bc of the request of the man wanting to speak to Samuel and would have right then denied being a sorcerer in order to preserve her life.

Sarah,

I urge you to be careful with throwing out ideas that the bible lied to us if Samuel did not really appear to Saul and the witch of Endor. In this thread three venerable theologians, Matthew Henry, John Gill, and John Calvin, have been cited in defense of the position that Samuel did not appear. You are not required to agree with them, but it would be unwise to assume they did not have good reason for their conviction.

In all honesty, this is not a hill anyone of us should choose to die on. I would urge caution in carrying the question posed in the OP to extremes. It is worth studying and debating; but it is not of sufficient gravity to assume those who disagree with you are turing scripture into a book of lies.

That's my point....the Bible doesn't lie. And this is just all great conversation for me nothing I would die for as it's not that important. Just good brain exercise. Don't mean to offend you.
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
Sarah,
Where is this evidence?
The evidence is THE TEXT itself.
It's all any of us have to work with.

there's nothing in Scripture which says that this would never take place.
But there is nothing in Scripture to make us think that God permits a return (Ecc.12:7), this passage (since it is the dispute) excepted. And, plenty to make us think that such a return is never to be expected (e.g. Heb.9:27; Job.7:9)

Certainly, if we took this text to teach that it could happen once, then we would have to acknowledge that according to the implications, mediums CAN in fact call dead spirits into the world.

I expect they can contact demons (who is managing whom in this relationship?), but attempting to contact the dead seems not only unlawful, but also stupidly wishful and a devilish snare for the gullible.

If even once, in actual fact it took place, then how can we deny that the dead can on occasion be brought back into the world? Can the "spirits in prison" (1Pet.3:19) be furloughed? Perhaps God permits this frequently? Are there actual human ghosts? Does Mk.14:6 teach the disciples might have had a reasonable fear? Under what condition is it conceivable that God would disturb "the spirits of just men made perfect" (Heb.12:23) by sending them back into the stink of sin-pollution?

Are witches detestable because they CAN contact the dead, or because they are in league with the devil? He is a liar from the beginning, and the father of it. Why should we believe him that he can relay a message or convey the dead thither? The Word never gives us any reason to suppose he has this power.

It seems to me if we think it happened once, then we are thereby led to believe that the right medium can, in fact, converse with the actual dead.

Other texts
2Sam.12:23 But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.

I don't know, can David be absolutely certain of this? Perhaps under the proper conditions? Would God send him back to comfort David? If the Bible doesn't indicate this would never take place...?

Lk.16:26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you are not permitted, and none may cross from there to us.

Are we to suppose that they could come half way (that is, to earth) under the right permission? Why doesn't the Rich Fool ask for permission to go back himself, to warn his brothers?

We only know of embodied persons being "brought back" to the world, that is fully human seems the only way to be accessible and alive in the world.


These are all biblical issues and questions that I think present enough difficulties to my mind, that I cannot help but bring to the text of 1Sam.28 strong doubts that Samuel himself indeed was present. And the reading of the text with these thoughts in mind only strengthens my conviction that this was not an appearance of the Samuel of history.

But as I said, I do respect those who think otherwise, as I once did. My main point of issue has to do with the idea that to hold another position is tantamount to denying the essential clarity of Scripture
 

OPC'n

Puritan Board Doctor
Let's say you are absolutely right and I'm absolutely wrong. What do I do with this statement of yours?

Are witches detestable because they CAN contact the dead, or because they are in league with the devil? He is a liar from the beginning, and the father of it. Why should we believe him that he can relay a message or convey the dead thither? The Word never gives us any reason to suppose he has this power.

If it was a demon that she saw and relayed it's message to Saul, are we to say that the message was a lie and that it really didn't happen? That Saul and his sons really were not killed in battle? You and I would say no. Saul and his son's did die in that battle. So now what? How did that demon know future events? Well, if we want to say that it wasn't Samuel, even though Scripture says it is, we have to make up a plausible story. God has used Satan to do His service before I'm sure if God wanted to He could have sent a demon spirit to Saul with the instructions to look like Samuel (why though? did God want the demon to look like Samuel so that Saul would believe the woman that it was Samuel? Why would God care if Saul believed Him? Saul was going to die as predicted whether or not he believed the message or not.) and to tell Saul certain things about the future. God had sent an evil spirit to annoy Saul in the past so who knows He could have done so this time. But still we are always told when God uses Satan or an evil spirit to do His work. Why wouldn't He have told us in this passage? Why did He say it was Samuel? Why leave us with the job of making up a story of our own to insert into Scripture in order to erase the bad taste of Samuel having to come back on this earth from heaven?
 

Herald

Administrator
Staff member
Let's say you are absolutely right and I'm absolutely wrong. What do I do with this statement of yours?

Are witches detestable because they CAN contact the dead, or because they are in league with the devil? He is a liar from the beginning, and the father of it. Why should we believe him that he can relay a message or convey the dead thither? The Word never gives us any reason to suppose he has this power.

If it was a demon that she saw and relayed it's message to Saul, are we to say that the message was a lie and that it really didn't happen? That Saul and his sons really were not killed in battle? You and I would say no. Saul and his son's did die in that battle. So now what? How did that demon know future events? Well, if we want to say that it wasn't Samuel, even though Scripture says it is, we have to make up a plausible story. God has used Satan to do His service before I'm sure if God wanted to He could have sent a demon spirit to Saul with the instructions to look like Samuel (why though? did God want the demon to look like Samuel so that Saul would believe the woman that it was Samuel? Why would God care if Saul believed Him? Saul was going to die as predicted whether or not he believed the message or not.) and to tell Saul certain things about the future. God had sent an evil spirit to annoy Saul in the past so who knows He could have done so this time. But still we are always told when God uses Satan or an evil spirit to do His work. Why wouldn't He have told us in this passage? Why did He say it was Samuel? Why leave us with the job of making up a story of our own to insert into Scripture in order to erase the bad taste of Samuel having to come back on this earth from heaven?

Sarah,

Two things:

1. Satan is a liar, but that does not mean he cannot use the truth, or partial truth, in order to deceive or discourage (Gen. 3:4, 5; Job 1:10; Matt. 4:6).

2. Satan knew the current events of the day. He understood that the armies of the Philistines and Amalekites were arrayed for battle against Saul. Did he know that Saul would soon be dead? Probably not. But as Matthew Henry surmised, it may have been an attempt to completely demoralize Saul.

Bottom line? We don't know what events Satan knew about or exactly why he said them. It's not necessary that we do know them. But clear reason teaches us that Satan does not act for our benefit. I'm content to let the text stand on it's own, believing that it was the machinations of the enemy.
 

larryjf

Puritan Board Senior
Even if Saul doesn't worship "Samuel" without rebuke from him...
Saul does speak to the dead "Samuel" without rebuke from him.
 

SolaScriptura

Puritanboard Brimstone
It is amazing how much energy gets spent trying to wring a meaning out of the text just because the supposed implications of the plain reading are uncomfortable.
 

a mere housewife

Not your cup of tea
Something I have wondered about is that when the disciples cry out 'It is a spirit' -- when Christ comes walking to them on the water, Christ doesn't tell them that spirits don't come into their world, negating that aspect of their fear. He says the equivalent of 'no, it's Me'. When they think He is a spirit after His resurrection, again, Christ doesn't argue that spirits don't appear in our world and negate that fear that is still after all His earthly ministry part of their worldview -- rather He argues from something else they know about spirits, that they are incorporeal, to prove that He is not a spirit.

(edit: what I'm trying to say is that it seems as if in both cases Christ's challenge assumes the disciples' worldview and it's just on a point of fact -- that in either case He isn't a spirit -- that they are mistaken and that He contradicts them?)
 
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Romans922

Puritan Board Professor
Let's say you are absolutely right and I'm absolutely wrong. What do I do with this statement of yours?

Are witches detestable because they CAN contact the dead, or because they are in league with the devil? He is a liar from the beginning, and the father of it. Why should we believe him that he can relay a message or convey the dead thither? The Word never gives us any reason to suppose he has this power.

If it was a demon that she saw and relayed it's message to Saul, are we to say that the message was a lie and that it really didn't happen? That Saul and his sons really were not killed in battle? You and I would say no. Saul and his son's did die in that battle. So now what? How did that demon know future events? Well, if we want to say that it wasn't Samuel, even though Scripture says it is, we have to make up a plausible story. God has used Satan to do His service before I'm sure if God wanted to He could have sent a demon spirit to Saul with the instructions to look like Samuel (why though? did God want the demon to look like Samuel so that Saul would believe the woman that it was Samuel? Why would God care if Saul believed Him? Saul was going to die as predicted whether or not he believed the message or not.) and to tell Saul certain things about the future. God had sent an evil spirit to annoy Saul in the past so who knows He could have done so this time. But still we are always told when God uses Satan or an evil spirit to do His work. Why wouldn't He have told us in this passage? Why did He say it was Samuel? Why leave us with the job of making up a story of our own to insert into Scripture in order to erase the bad taste of Samuel having to come back on this earth from heaven?

Sarah,

Two things:

1. Satan is a liar, but that does not mean he cannot use the truth, or partial truth, in order to deceive or discourage (Gen. 3:4, 5; Job 1:10; Matt. 4:6).

2. Satan knew the current events of the day. He understood that the armies of the Philistines and Amalekites were arrayed for battle against Saul. Did he know that Saul would soon be dead? Probably not. But as Matthew Henry surmised, it may have been an attempt to completely demoralize Saul.

Bottom line? We don't know what events Satan knew about or exactly why he said them. It's not necessary that we do know them. But clear reason teaches us that Satan does not act for our benefit. I'm content to let the text stand on it's own, believing that it was the machinations of the enemy.

Everything that 'Satan' (in your view) stated in 1 Samuel 28 was true, even that which was future. "an attempt to completely demoralize Saul"

Is this the easiest reading of the text? It may have been an attempt or you could just say what it says, and God was bringing another word of judgment through this.

If you were to let the text stand on its own, then as the narrator said, 'the woman saw Samuel..." Let the text stand on its own. Again, I can see if this was Saul saying that the woman saw Samuel to be skeptical. But the author under inspiration of the Holy Spirit said this.
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
This thread is why I love the PB! Thanks for posting this. I have wondered about this and have flip-flopped positions quite a bit in the past regarding this text. Thanks...it is neat to have it all fought out here.

P.s. I think it was Samuel. But the witch was surprised because she was either (1) used to dealing with other spirits, or (2) used to faking it and now it is real. I am not sure of the reason (A or B).
 

Herald

Administrator
Staff member
Andrew,

I'm content to let you have the final word on the matter. See? No one can accuse us of mods of playing with a heavy hand! :) I believe the thread has come full circle in a short period of time, and for that reason I am going to close the thread at the end of the day. The worse thing for a thread is for it to get moldy. I'd like to see this one end after a full and rich sharing of ideas.

One thing I am encourage about is the passion displayed by those who want to maintain the integrity of the text. That is a good thing, even if we disagree on the conclusion.

Blessings!
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
Sarah,
I don't even mean to try (too hard) to convince you of my position.

I just think its prudent to avoid saying that people committed to the same basic hermeneutic rules, but who arrive at other conclusions, are the enemy in disguise. That they are on track to causing people to doubt their Bibles.

Did Jephthah commit a human sacrifice on his daughter? Some say that the "straightforward reading" of that passage (Judges 11 & 12) means exactly that. But I disagree.

Jephthah is remembered as a faithful, heroic servant of the Lord by Samuel (1Sam.12:11) and the writer to Hebrews (11:32). Is he so, despite such an abominable, horrific act (cf.2Ki.3:27)? I think that we have to take the sense Jephthah's vow-fulfillment differently from a "burnt offering" in that passage, and I think that faithful Israelites of old read it the way that I suggest, and not as a perverted act of devotion, contrary to all God's Law.

So, it isn't as though 1Sam.28 is the ONLY passage that there are variations of opinion on what the text means, when we all accept the text as it is.

Peace.
 

TeachingTulip

Puritan Board Sophomore
Let's say you are absolutely right and I'm absolutely wrong. What do I do with this statement of yours?



If it was a demon that she saw and relayed it's message to Saul, are we to say that the message was a lie and that it really didn't happen? That Saul and his sons really were not killed in battle? You and I would say no. Saul and his son's did die in that battle. So now what? How did that demon know future events? Well, if we want to say that it wasn't Samuel, even though Scripture says it is, we have to make up a plausible story. God has used Satan to do His service before I'm sure if God wanted to He could have sent a demon spirit to Saul with the instructions to look like Samuel (why though? did God want the demon to look like Samuel so that Saul would believe the woman that it was Samuel? Why would God care if Saul believed Him? Saul was going to die as predicted whether or not he believed the message or not.) and to tell Saul certain things about the future. God had sent an evil spirit to annoy Saul in the past so who knows He could have done so this time. But still we are always told when God uses Satan or an evil spirit to do His work. Why wouldn't He have told us in this passage? Why did He say it was Samuel? Why leave us with the job of making up a story of our own to insert into Scripture in order to erase the bad taste of Samuel having to come back on this earth from heaven?

Sarah,

Two things:

1. Satan is a liar, but that does not mean he cannot use the truth, or partial truth, in order to deceive or discourage (Gen. 3:4, 5; Job 1:10; Matt. 4:6).

2. Satan knew the current events of the day. He understood that the armies of the Philistines and Amalekites were arrayed for battle against Saul. Did he know that Saul would soon be dead? Probably not. But as Matthew Henry surmised, it may have been an attempt to completely demoralize Saul.

Bottom line? We don't know what events Satan knew about or exactly why he said them. It's not necessary that we do know them. But clear reason teaches us that Satan does not act for our benefit. I'm content to let the text stand on it's own, believing that it was the machinations of the enemy.

Everything that 'Satan' (in your view) stated in 1 Samuel 28 was true, even that which was future. "an attempt to completely demoralize Saul"

Is this the easiest reading of the text? It may have been an attempt or you could just say what it says, and God was bringing another word of judgment through this.

If you were to let the text stand on its own, then as the narrator said, 'the woman saw Samuel..." Let the text stand on its own. Again, I can see if this was Saul saying that the woman saw Samuel to be skeptical. But the author under inspiration of the Holy Spirit said this.

The problem with letting the "text stand on its own," is that the text in this instance is narrative, and doctrine should not be based upon an isolated narrative, but always and only developed by comparing scripture with the entirety of scripture on any given subject.

For that reason, I agree with Rev. Buchanan that this was satanic activity, which is forbidden throughout scripture, without a single exception.
 

OPC'n

Puritan Board Doctor
Sarah,
I don't even mean to try (too hard) to convince you of my position.

I just think its prudent to avoid saying that people committed to the same basic hermeneutic rules, but who arrive at other conclusions, are the enemy in disguise. That they are on track to causing people to doubt their Bibles.

Perhaps it's my writing style but you think too harshly of me when you feel that I think of ppl who disagree with me as my enemy. I absolutely do not. Why can't we just have a dialogue using examples (however extreme they may seem to be in order to make a point) without accusing each other of making enemies or stating that one person is stating the Bible is lying etc? Don't you feel you are exaggerating my perception towards you and others who disagree with me? First it was that I had no respect for Calvin and others, then it was I was walking a fine line of saying the Bible was lying, now it's I've made you and others who disagree with me my enemy. This isn't how you debate with the next guy so why do so with me? Perhaps it is my writing style....something you could point out to me which leads you to think so harshly of me. In any case, I'm just trying to have a conversation over a piece of text that isn't life shattering. Really, this isn't salvific info. Can't I ask questions or make statements without being categorized in the ways that I have been? What's up with that? I'm not trying to convince you of my side either....what's wrong with picking each other's brain? Can we do that without accusing each other of other motives?
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
Sarah,
It must be my "tone" also, or your perception of it. So, I'm sorry. I appreciate your posts, and your POV.

This, specifically, is what I responded to originally:
To say that it isn't Samuel, is to say that the Bible intensionally lied to us.
I just thought "Hmmm, you know, I say it isn't Samuel, and I'm not alone, and I don't think I am, or we are, saying the Bible lies or intentionally misleads us." In other words,, you seemed to say something there about those who teach another position.

Regarding your POV,
I think your view is honest with the text.

Regarding your posts,
Your input on the board is consistently beneficial to all.

Thank you.
 

OPC'n

Puritan Board Doctor
Sarah,
It must be my "tone" also, or your perception of it. So, I'm sorry. I appreciate your posts, and your POV.

This, specifically, is what I responded to originally:
To say that it isn't Samuel, is to say that the Bible intensionally lied to us.
I just thought "Hmmm, you know, I say it isn't Samuel, and I'm not alone, and I don't think I am, or we are, saying the Bible lies or intentionally misleads us." In other words,, you seemed to say something there about those who teach another position.

Regarding your POV,
I think your view is honest with the text.

Regarding your posts,
Your input on the board is consistently beneficial to all.

Thank you.

I see your side of things now!! Sorry, I guess I need to learn to say things better. I really didn't mean to say that I think you think the Bible lies. I really am sorry!
 

YXU

Puritan Board Freshman
When "Samuel" said to Saul that he and Isreal will be with him, it is a strong evidence that this "Samuel" is not the prophet Samuel. For it is clear, the soul of Samuel is with God, and is not in hell. Also this cannot be the grave, for Saul's body and his sons were not buried immediately, but burnt later.
 
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