Samuel Summoned From The Dead?

Discussion in 'OT Historical Books' started by Ryan&Amber2013, Sep 10, 2018.

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  1. Ryan&Amber2013

    Ryan&Amber2013 Puritan Board Junior

    How does 1 Samuel 28 fit into our systematic theology?

    1. How could a human bring back a spirit?
    2. Samuel says the medium disturbed him. This is really strange language.
    3. Samuel then says that the army on the next day will be where he is.

    The text doesn't make it sound like the medium was deceiving Saul. There is no way Samuel could have been in heaven either.
  2. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    Without going for a full conclusion here, regardless of one's conclusion, I am imagine the death and Resurrection of Christ altered the state of OT dead (no, I am not affirming the Romanist patrum limbo).
  3. Contra_Mundum

    Contra_Mundum Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger Staff Member

  4. C. M. Sheffield

    C. M. Sheffield Puritan Board Junior

    I take the view that it is indeed the spirit of Samuel. Ultimately, I believe it is God who permits this to take place (notwithstanding the medium) to pronounce the sentence of death on Saul. And that is exactly what happens.

    Secondly, there is nothing in the text that gives the impression that this isn't Samuel and that he isn't speaking God's word to Saul.
    1. It plainly says "the woman saw Samuel" (v. 12).
    2. The witch appears completely undone by his appearance, it was something she had never experienced and was not expecting (v. 12).
    3. It says "Saul perceived that it was Samuel" (v. 14).
    4. It twice identifies Samuel as the one speaking (vv. 15, 16).
    5. All that this spirit says is perfectly consistent with what God had revealed through Samuel when alive (vv. 16-19).
    6. We are told that Saul is troubled by "the words of Samuel" (v. 20).
    7. Finally, the words of this prophecy all come to pass, identifying the one who spoke them as a true prophet.
    Commentators (on my shelf) holding this view include:
    • Richard D. Phillips, Reformed Expository Commentary
    • Dale Ralph Davis, Focus on the Bible
    • Robert D. Bergen, New American Commentary
    • John Woodhouse, Preaching the Word
    • David T. Tsumura, New International Commentary
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2018
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  5. Jack K

    Jack K Puritan Board Professor

    The witch's reaction in 1 Samuel 28:12 suggests she realized that what was happening was from God, and not part of her usual witchcraft. So I suspect it either was Samuel's spirit, or a God-given vision, sent by God to announce condemnation to the disobedient king. It's important we see that Saul's death was not a surprise blow or even something that came at his own request, but more fundamentally was a judgment from God. The announcement demonstrates this. And who could be more fitting to deliver this announcement than Samuel?

    At least, that is my guess. We can't really be certain, can we?
  6. Ask Mr. Religion

    Ask Mr. Religion Flatly Unflappable

    I, too, tend to stand with Calvin.

    I fail to see how God would give Saul anything from a method that is cursed, especially since he received nothing from God legitimately elsewhere (1 Sam. 28:6).
  7. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    He gave him a death sentence, which seems appropriate with the method.
  8. Poimen

    Poimen Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Turretin notes that it could not be Samuel since Saul requested "Bring me *up* Samuel" not bring me down. It seems that Saul believed that the soul (body?) of Samuel merely resided somewhere in the ground. But saints, like Christ (Elijah etc.), must come down from the heavenly height.
  9. C. M. Sheffield

    C. M. Sheffield Puritan Board Junior

    To those who deny it is Samuel, I would ask, how you explain the accuracy of this spirit's prophecy?
  10. Tom Hart

    Tom Hart Puritan Board Junior

    The whole business is quite pagan. Saul's theology was apparently a bit off. The idea of raising dead spirits from some kind of sleep (as it seems from the ghost Samuel's words) just does not seem in keeping with biblical views of death, in both the Old and the New Testaments. Psalm 73:24 comes to mind.
  11. Joshua

    Joshua Administrator Staff Member

    I have not come down dogmatically on this issue over the years. When my pastor goes through the reading and brief exposition of this chapter, I am very much swayed to it being Samuel. However, your question might be answered like this:

    It ultimately matters not whether it be Samuel or an evil spirit "sent of the Lord." The devil is still God's devil. God may speak accurately from the mouth of an ass. The devils in the New Testament testify that Paul and company were "the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation," (Acts 16). What is not lawful for creatures (i.e. the use of means not prescribed by the Lord) holds no bearing on what the Lawgiver may do with what He will.

    What we must not imbibe in is that spiritists and wizards, et al. really have some kind of sway over the spiritual word, whether it be calling "up" a saint," or ordering around devils. The woman's reaction could be explained by either position. If it was Samuel, she was shocked. If it was a devil, she was still shocked, because she was a huckster & a trickster, and never called up any spirits anyway.

    Whether it be Samuel or a devil, it was at the good pleasure of God that -who/whatever it was came to these folks, particularly Saul, in judgment.
  12. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    That's the clincher (besides the fact the Bible specifically says it was Samuel). Most people rightly say demons don't give true prophecy. This entity gave true prophecy. By reason of modus tollens, this entity was not a demon.
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  13. C. Matthew McMahon

    C. Matthew McMahon Christian Preacher

    No, Samuel was not summoned from the the dead. Calvin is correct, and Perkins has a full discussion of this in his "A Discourse on the Damned Art of Witchcraft" here. Merely by way of "Samuel" receiving worship, its not him.

    Perkins says, "So again the devil by the witch of Endor, deceived Saul in the appearance of Samuel, 1 Sam. 28, making him believe that it had been Samuel indeed, when it was a mere counterfeit of him, as I shall show you and shall appear after....The main reason was her league made with Satan, by virtue of it she commanded him to appear in the likeness of Samuel, which neither Saul, nor any of his company could do, by virtue of such covenant, which they had not made."

    Here are Perkins' excellent arguments:

    "I. Before this time, God had withdrawn his Spirit from Saul, as he confesses himself, and denied to answer him any more by ordinary means, in such sort as before he had done. Here I gather, that it was not probable that God would now secure him the favor to conjure up Samuel to come to him extraordinarily, and tell him what should be the end of his war with the Philistines. And to this purpose it is affirmed twice in that chapter, that God had taken his good Spirit from Saul.

    II. The souls of the faithful departed, are in the hand of God, and rest in glory with himself, and their bodies are in the earth, and there rest in peace. So says the voice from heaven, Rev. 14:13, “Blessed are the dead that die in the Lord.” They rest from their labors, and their works, that is, the reward of their works, follow them immediately, or at the heels, as the word signifies. Now suppose the devil had power over Samuel’s body, yet to make the person of Samuel true and real, he must have access to conjure his soul also. But it is not in the power of the devil to bring up again the souls that are in heaven to their bodies, and so to cause them to appear to men on earth, and to speak to them. The devil’s kingdom is ultimately in hell, not heaven, and in the hearts of wicked men on earth. Yes, while the children of God are in this world, he usurps some authority over them by means of their own corruption and sin. But heaven is the kingdom of God and his saints, where Satan has nothing to do, considering that there is no flesh or corruption to make him entrance or yield him entertainment. Neither can it be proved by Scripture, that the devil can disturb either the bodies or souls of them that die in the Lord. And therefore the witch with all her power and skill, could not bring Samuel’s rotten body (for no doubt it was now) and soul together.

    III. This shape which appeared, suffered Saul to adore and worship it, where the true Samuel would never have received adoration from Saul the King, though it had been in civil manner only. Whom then did Saul adore? Answer. The devil himself, who being an enemy to the glory of God, was content to take to himself that honor, which a King in duty is to perform to God himself.

    IV. If it had been truly Samuel, he would certainly have reproved Saul for seeking the help of witches, contrary to God’s commandment, and that doctrine which he had taught him from God in his life time. But this counterfeit apparition did not reprove him, and therefore it is not even likely to be a true prophet of God, but Satan himself, framing by his art and skill the person and shape of Samuel.

    But it is alleged to the contrary, that Samuel after his sleep, prophesied of the death of Saul, as written in Ecclesiasticus 46:20. After his sleep also he told of the Kings death, etc. Answer. That book penned by Jesus the son of Sirach is a very worthy description of Christian Ethics, containing more excellent precepts for manners then all the writings of heathen philosophers or other men. But yet it is not Scripture, neither did the Church ever hold and receive it as canonical; yes, the author himself insinuates so much in the beginning of it, for in the preface he disables himself to interpret hard things, and after a sort craves pardon for his weakness, which is not the manner of the men of God that were penmen of Scripture. For they were so guided by God’s Spirit in their proceedings, that nothing could be hard to them. This privilege no ordinary man has assurance of. And therefore, this author writing on his own private motion, was subject to error, and no doubt the speech about Samuel in it is completely contrary to that which is recorded in the canonical Scriptures: it is a flat untruth.

    Secondly, it is objected, that the Scripture calls him Samuel, that appeared to Saul. Answer. The Scripture often speaks of things, not as they are in themselves, but as they seem to us. So it is affirmed, Gen. 1:16, that God made two great lights, the sun and the moon, where the moon is lesser then many stars, yet because in regard of her nearness to the earth, she seems to us greater than the rest, therefore she is called a great light. In like manner, idols in the Scriptures are called god’s, not that they are God indeed, (for an idol is nothing, 1 Cor. 8:4) but because some men conceive of them this way in their minds. In a word, the Scriptures oftentimes abases itself to our conceit, not speaking of things accordingly as they are, but after the manner of men. So in this place Scripture calls counterfeit Samuel, by the nature of the true Samuel, because it seemed this way to Saul.

    The third objection: that body which appeared, prophesied of things that came to pass the day after, as the death of Saul, and of his sons; which indeed came to pass, and at the same time, therefore, was likely to be Samuel. Answer. There is nothing there said or done, which the devil might not do. For when the Lord uses the devil as his instrument to bring some things to pass, he does beforehand revile the same to him. And look at what particulars the devil learns from God; those he can foretell. Now the truth is, Satan was appointed by God to work Saul’s overthrow, it was made known to him when the thing should be done; by which means, and by none other, the devil was enabled to foretell the death of Saul. Where (by the way) observe, that in this case the devil can reveal things to come certainly, however, if he is appointed God’s immediate instrument for the execution of them, or knows them by light of former prophecies in Scripture.

    Fourthly, dead men often appear and walk after they are buried. Answer. It is indeed the opinion of the Church of Rome, and of many ignorant persons among us that such is the case. But the truth is otherwise. Dead men neither walk nor appear in their body or soul after death. For all that die, are either righteous or wicked. The souls of the righteous go straight to heaven, and the souls of the wicked go straight to hell, and remain there until the last judgment. And therefore of the just it is said, that they are blessed when they die, because they rest from their labors, Rev. 14:13. But how do they rest, if after they are dead wandering up and down in the earth?

    If it is said, that Moses and Elias appeared when Christ was transfigured in the Mount; and that Lazarus rose again, and at Christ’s resurrection many dead bodies rose again and appeared. I answer: there were two times when God suffered the dead to be raised up again; either at the planting of his Church, or at the restoring and establishing of it, when it was raised up on its foundation. So at the restoring of religion in Elijah’s and Elisha’s times, the son of the Shunamite woman, 2 Kings 4:34, and the widow’s son at Sarephta, 1 Kings 17:21, were raised. Again, when God would restore his Church which was fallen to idolatry about the death of Elisha, he caused the miracle to be wrought in the reviving of a dead man by the touching of Elisha’s dead carcass in the grave, by this to assure the people of their deliverance, and to cause them to embrace the doctrine of the prophet after his death, which in his life they had condemned. In like manner, at the establishing of the Gospel in the New Testament, it pleased Christ to raise up Moses and Elijah, and to make them known to his disciples by extraordinary revelation, that they might believe that the doctrine which he preached was not new, but the same in substance with that which was recorded in the Law and the Prophets, both which were represented by Moses and Elijah. So also he wrought the miracle on Lazarus, the widow’s son, and Jairus’ daughter, by this to show the power of his Godhead, the truth of his calling, and the testimony of his doctrine. Lastly, to make known the power of his resurrection, he caused some to rise and appear to others, when he himself rose again. But out of these two times we have neither warrant nor example, that God suffered the dead to be raised up. Wherefore those instances will not in any way confirm Samuel’s appearing, which indeed was not true, but counterfeit and forged by the devil himself.

    Now for the second opinion, of those which deny that there are any witches, and there hold that this was a mere deceit of the witch, suborning some man or woman to counterfeit the form, attire and voice of Samuel, by this to delude Saul; that also is untrue. For he that spoke foretold the ruin of Saul, of his sons, and of his army, yes the time also wherein this was to come to pass. Whereas in likelihood no man or woman in all Israel, could have foretold such things beforehand of themselves. It was not then any deceit, as is affirmed, but a thing affected by the devil, framing to himself a body in the likeness of Samuel, in which he spoke.

    Therefore, if it is manifest that by counterfeit apparitions of the dead witches and sorcerers can foretell things to come, here various points of witchcraft may be observed.

    First, that there is a league between the witch and the devil. For this was the cause which moved Saul to seek to witches, because neither he himself, nor any of his servants could raise up Satan in Samuel’s likeness, as the witch of Endor did. But Saul being a King, might have commanded help from all the wise and learned men in Israel, for the effecting of such a matter. Why then would he rather seek to a silly woman, then to them? The reason was, because she had made a compact with the devil, for the using of his help at her demand, by virtue of it he was as ready to answer, as she to call him. Whereas Saul and the learned Jews, having made no such league, neither he by his power, nor they by their skill, could have performed such a work."

    Secondly, the devil will be ready at the call and command of witches and sorcerers, when they are intending any mischief. For here the witch of Endor no sooner spoke, but he appeared. And therefore the text gives her a name that signifies, one having rule and command over Pytho, that is, the familiar spirit. Yet when he is commanded, he does not yield on constraint but voluntarily, because he builds on his own greater advantage, the gaining of the soul of the witch. Where, by the way, let it be observed, what a precious thing the soul of man is. The purchasing of it can make the proud spirit of Satan so far to abase itself, as to be at the command of a silly woman. Again, what an inveterate malice Satan bears to man, which for the gaining of a soul, will do that which is so contrary to his nature. It may teach man what to esteem of his soul, and not to sell it for so base a price.

    Thirdly, by this, the great power of the devil on the behalf of the sorcerer, is made manifest. For he was presently at hand to counterfeit Samuel, and did it so lively and cunningly, as well in form of body, as in attire and voice, that Saul thought verily it was the Prophet, which may be a caveat to us, not easily to give credit to any such apparitions. For though they seem never so true and evident, yet such is the power and skill of the devil, that he can quite deceive us, as he did Saul in this place."
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  14. sc_q_jayce

    sc_q_jayce Puritan Board Freshman

    I don't see why demons can't give true prophecy any more than demons can cause false teachers and prophets to perform great signs and wonders (Matt 24:24). So much so that even the Pharisees attempted to attribute good works by Jesus to the devil.
  15. Reformed Bookworm

    Reformed Bookworm Puritan Board Sophomore

    I am with this opinion. Add to the list John Gill and Josephus. I believe the "demon" interpretation greatly imposes that upon the text and we should tread lightly on such practices. The Scriptures clearly state that it was Samuel through the inspiration of the Spirit. Do we honestly think the Holy Spirit would have left out such an important detail such as that it was a demon impersonating him?
    From Josephus:
    "As soon as he had induced her by this oath to fear no harm, he bid her bring up to him the soul of Samuel. She not knowing who Samuel was, called him out of Hades. When he appeared, and the woman saw one that was venerable, and of a divine form, she was in disorder: and being astonished at the sight, she said, “Art not thou King Saul?” for Samuel had informed her who he was. When he had owned that to be true, and had asked her, “Whence her disorder arose?” she said, that “She saw a certain person ascend, who in his form was like to a God.” And when he bid her tell him what he resembled; in what habit he appeared; and of what age he was? she told him, “He was an old man already; and of a glorious personage; and had on a sacerdotal mantle.” So the King discovered by these signs that he was Samuel: and he fell down upon the ground, and saluted, and worshipped him. And when the soul of Samuel asked him, “Why he had disturbed him, and caused him to be brought up?” He lamented the necessity he was under: for, he said, that his enemies pressed heavily upon him; that he was in distress what to do in his present circumstances; that he was forsaken of God, and could obtain no prediction of what was coming, neither by Prophets, nor by dreams. And that these were the reasons why I have recourse to thee, who always tookedst great care of me. But (32) Samuel, seeing that the end of Saul’s life was come, said, “It is in vain for thee to desire to learn of me any thing farther; when God hath forsaken thee. However, hear what I say; that David is to be King, and to finish this war with good success; and thou art to lose thy dominion, and thy life; because thou didst not obey God in the war with the Amalekites; and hast not kept his commandments; as I foretold to thee while I was alive. Know therefore, that the people shall be made subject to their enemies; and that thou, with thy sons, shall fall in the battel to morrow; and thou shalt then be with me [in Hades].”
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2018
  16. Contra_Mundum

    Contra_Mundum Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger Staff Member

    Lev.19:31, "Regard not them that have familiar spirits, neither seek after wizards, to be defiled by them: I am the LORD your God."
    Lev.20:6-7, "Whoever turns to mediums or spiritists to prostitute himself with them, I will also set My face against that person and cut him off from his people. A man or a woman who is a medium or a spiritist must surely be put to death. They shall be stoned; their blood is upon them."
    Ex.22:18, "You must not allow a sorceress to live."
    Dt.18:10-11, "Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, practices divination or conjury, interprets omens, practices sorcery, casts spells, consults a medium or familiar spirit, or inquires of the dead."
    1Sam.28:3, "And Saul had removed the mediums and spiritists from the land."

    Dt.13:1-5, "1If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder, 2And the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them; 3Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the LORD your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. 4Ye shall walk after the LORD your God, and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and ye shall serve him, and cleave unto him. 5And that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams, shall be put to death; because he hath spoken to turn you away from the LORD your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed you out of the house of bondage, to thrust thee out of the way which the LORD thy God commanded thee to walk in. So shalt thou put the evil away from the midst of thee.

    Dt.18:20, "But if any prophet dares to speak a message in My name that I have not commanded him to speak, or to speak in the name of other gods, that prophet must be put to death."
    1Sam. 28:13, "And the woman said unto Saul, I saw gods ascending out of the earth.​

    The putative accuracy of a prophecy does not, apart from other considerations, prove the origin or validate the prophet. The Israelite's first consideration was always to be: what does the law teach? Retrospective on any oracle could only judge the degree of truth contained in it according to a temporal evaluation, divided by any ambiguities possibly inherent to the words, if considered apart from a source.

    The source in this case was actually not to be trusted, when we begin with the law, and consider the medium herself. She was to be viewed a priori as a liar, and anything she said doubtful. We are introduced as spectators to this drama into a clouded scene, filled with shadows and secrets, utterly divorced from the light of God and truth. The design of the writer is to induce our discomfort, a bodily reaction perhaps, skin-crawling, or nausea. How does a horror movie make you feel?

    1Sam.15:26, "But Samuel said to him, 'I will not go back with you. You have rejected the word of the LORD, and the LORD has rejected you as king over Israel!'"
    1Sam.15:35, "And Samuel came no more to see Saul until the day of his death: nevertheless Samuel mourned for Saul: and the LORD repented that he had made Saul king over Israel."
    1Sam.16:14, "But the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD troubled him."
    1Sam.28:6, "And when Saul enquired of the Lord, the Lord answered him not, neither by dreams, nor by Urim, nor by prophets."​

    God refused to speak to Saul. Samuel kept his distance, surely by the Lord's direction; and we may presume the same obedient neglect was true of the rest of the prophets. Saul had killed the priests at Nob, who bore the Urim; the sole survivor Abiathar cleaved to David. So, there was neither a mediated word through prophets and priests, nor direct revelation through dreams or the like.

    Poor, desperate Saul, oppressed by the devil, goes to consult with the devil for his consolation. This is the clearest thing in the text, to me.

    Now, a close reading of the text may also show some hasty or filtered conclusions have crept in. v19 is the one "prophetic" utterance of all that is said: "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."

    We read these lines through the events of the following day, and thus regard them as a divine promise. But, all by themselves they are a mere prediction. If we think the devil is behind them, they could be meant to stab fear into a man he knew was his already to toy with, whether or not he had advance counsel of God (ala Job 1). There is a certain reasonableness to the predictions, and they certainly fell in line with Saul's preoccupation. They confirm his worst fears.

    In that murky situation, Saul asks for Samuel, whom he's anxious to hear by means of 1) the medium, and 2) a familiar spirit--Samuel is (at least) three steps removed from Saul.

    Something else to consider: using what context-clues will hint, we have to provide modern punctuation for this passage. I think it most apt to introduce "scare quotes" around the "Samuel" who is allegedly brought up. Consider this snippet of vv11-12, "Bring me up Samuel. 12 And when the woman saw Samuel, she cried..." Whether you think this is likely to be Samuel or not (based on what each of us brings to the text) determines whether you see "scare quotes" around Samuel's name.

    The medium's next words are "You are Saul!" Who told her that? One likely candidate is her familiar spirit; another is this "Samuel," perhaps croaking, "Saul, is that you?" I see the text emphasizing she alone receives this information. That's consistent with what little we understand about those black art practitioners: they are (or act as if they are) conduits of these revelations.

    The point is this: All that Saul is told about and from this "man" is given him by the medium. "What did you see," he asks her, and she tells him vague things that comport with his expectations. Does Samuel in death have the "form" of an old man? Is our appearance at death our frozen appearance for all eternity? Or is the "old man in a mantle" the last memory Saul had of Samuel? How convenient, see 1Sam.15:27.

    v15 begins, "Samuel said to Saul." And from those simple words (with v16, "Samuel said," and v20, "the words of Samuel") many have concluded this has to be Samuel. But I appeal again to all the previous vv of context, as well as the law-background, as well as the fullness of revelation in Scripture. There is no reason why the name may not continue to have the "scare quotes."

    And beside the doubtful (to me) origin of the words, there is also the method by which Saul receives them. I think the assumption is that Samuel or "Samuel" speaks directly to Saul. But this is not the function of a medium, just to bring a shade out of Sheol. The medium is also the voice of that shade. So, in addition to all the rest going on here, we have to "hear" this spirit from the medium.

    Before you doubt that audible, just think of the vast majority of the true and faithful prophetic "media" found in Scripture. When the word of the Lord came to a non-prophet, how often was it "direct" revelation? Never, because a recipient of direct revelation is by definition a prophet. No, but the word of God is constantly given, whether spontaneously or upon inquiry of the Lord, through the mouth of his prophet.

    My point is not so that you might say: but Samuel is that prophetic mouth; when the setting has shown us that the medium in this case is functioning in that "prophetic" role. "Samuel said," is the verbal equivalent of Caleb's "the Lord said [to me]" Jos.14:12 (when that word was given him by the mouth of Moses, 14:6; cf. Num.14:11, 24).

    Another example would be: all those times early in Exodus when we are told that "Moses said to Pharaoh." But his own lips said nought to Pharaoh, but his "mouth" was Aaron, Ex.4:14-15. Ex.7:1, "And the Lord said unto Moses, See, I have made thee a god to Pharaoh: and Aaron thy brother shall be thy prophet."

    I think that because the medium's voice is mentally bypassed by most readers and interpreters, they assume (in this already dark and satanic scene) that Samuel or "Samuel" is speaking directly to Saul, in his ears, perhaps Saul can even see "him" now himself, though his face is to the ground, v14, and he ends up sprawled on the ground, v20. I find it acoustically interesting that various actual (competing?) voices (including the medium's own voice) are all emphasized in the following vv21-23.

    I believe there are cogent reasons for the "Samuel" position. I may have read this sinister scenario falsely, but I have given it serious thought.

    1 Chronicles 10:13-14
    So Saul died for his unfaithfulness to the LORD, because he did not keep the word of the LORD and even consulted a medium for guidance, and he failed to inquire of the LORD. So the LORD put him to death and turned the kingdom over to David son of Jesse.
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  17. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    Pagans can gain access to the spirit world. God condemns it because, along with it as dishonorable to him, it is very dangerous. You are basically giving rephaim and shedim free access to your mind.

    So yes, they can access the spirit realm, but they become less human as they do it.
  18. Post Tenebras

    Post Tenebras Puritan Board Freshman

    I conclude Calvin's demon interpretation is an imposition on the scripture. Whenever I find a conflict between a theologian and the plain meaning of the biblical text, the Holy Spirit guides me to go with the scripture.
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  19. Joshua

    Joshua Administrator Staff Member

    :lol: Begging the question much? [tongue-in-cheek]If only Calvin had let himself be better guided by the Holy Ghost.[/tongue-in-cheek]
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  20. SeanPatrickCornell

    SeanPatrickCornell Puritan Board Freshman

    I find it odd that Matthew Henry in his Concise Commentary, seems to take it at face value that it is Samuel. Yet in his Complete Commentary, he argues that it is Satan.

    Personally, I am utterly unconvinced by any arguments to the contrary; the scriptural account seems to be very straightforward that it is indeed Samuel himself.
  21. Ryan&Amber2013

    Ryan&Amber2013 Puritan Board Junior

    So if this is Samuel, how does this affect our theology? Mediums to this day claim to hear from the dead.
  22. py3ak

    py3ak They're stalling and plotting against me Staff Member

    The "Concise Commentary" is an abridgement by others of Mr. Henry's own work; not all portions of an abridgement preserve the original intent with perfect clarity.
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  23. Charles Johnson

    Charles Johnson Puritan Board Freshman

    As Matthew Henry points out, it's implausible that Samuel when alive would consistently call Saul to repentance and faith, "I desire obedience, not sacrifice", and then in his death would condemn and provoke to despair. The promise of the gospel was not any less true in that moment, and yet this "Samuel" neither called Saul to repentance nor faith, but rather, harshly condemned him and left him severely distraught. I recall other prophets standing in the gap between God and the visible church, pleading for their preservation, and prevailing because such was the will of God, God even admonishing the nation of Israel in the book of Jeremiah because none stood in the gap. Are we then to believe that a glorified prophet in whom there remained no sin would give more severe and destructive condemnation than any did to the people of God while alive?
  24. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    Maybe. Jeremiah 14:11: The LORD said to me: “Do not pray for the welfare of this people.

    Samuel wasn't saying Saul was doomed to hellfire forever (maybe Saul was, maybe not). He was only saying, in fulfillment of previous prophecies, that Saul's kingly line has ended and the way it will end is with his death the next day.
  25. Reformed Bookworm

    Reformed Bookworm Puritan Board Sophomore

    I mean no offense by my following statements, brother, but I don't think those particular Scriptures answer the quoted question. I also think you are doing a lot of juggling with the text to get your interpretation to fit. The Holy Spirit was pretty direct that it was Samuel. Our God is a God of revelation and perspicuity, not confusion.
  26. Charles Johnson

    Charles Johnson Puritan Board Freshman

    The confession interprets that passage as referring to those who have committed the sin of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. But if Saul was such a person, and should not be prayed for, why would God yet send a prophet to him? What benefit could it do him?
  27. koenig

    koenig Puritan Board Freshman

    I believe that the woman was a fraud most of the time, and was greatly startled that she really got Samuel this time.

    It fits Samuel’s character perfectly to say that Saul was beyond recovery, that Saul already knew that through lawful methods, and that this sin of necromancy definitely doesn’t improve his already-slim chances. It is the mark of a false prophet, led by an evil spirit, to falsely say that God favors you when he does not.
  28. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    It's by no means self-evident from the text that the people were guilty of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. Maybe they were, but the text doesn't say that.
  29. DTK

    DTK Puritan Board Junior

    Dr. Dale Ralph Davis has a very interesting understanding of this incident in his expository commentary on 1 Samuel. I tend not to want to give it away in order to induce you folks to procure it and read what he has to say. And that is to say, his commentary on this OT book is most excellent, which makes it worth owning regardless of what position one takes on this OT story. I tend to agree with Dr. Davis' analysis.
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  30. Contra_Mundum

    Contra_Mundum Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger Staff Member

    No offense taken, and I'll just wait until pastor Sheffield weighs in to answer whether he feels as if I answered his question adequately, overmuch, or at all, thank you very much.

    Your criticism isn't specific, either. Do you actually think none of the references have any bearing on the question? I'd say Dt.13:1-3 (first ref. containing boldface) is frankly sufficient to address the question of "accuracy." I offered much more analysis of the text than that.

    And just to make it clear to an interested observer, the opinion that I'm "juggling with the text" isn't an exposure of exegetical weakness, or an alternative treatment of the data of the text of 1Sam28.

    Those who say that the OT saint, the prophet Samuel, delivers Saul a prophecy in this text say so, because in their view the words "Samuel said" (2X vv15-16) and "the words of Samuel" (v20) are some of the plainest facts in the text; and once you understand and accept those words as they do, the rest is interpretable as following from that true/reliable starting point.

    I don't agree that those words are largely self-explanatory, let alone the interpretive key to the text; or that the Holy Spirit is obviously on the side of holy-apparitionists. The latter claim just shuts down discussion--and this is an interesting text, inviting deep discussion and weighing of options.

    WCF 1:7, "All things in Scripture are not alike plain in themselves, nor alike clear unto all."
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