Before Saul’s last battle against Philistia’s army, he wanted to receive Samuel’s advice. However, Samuel was already dead. So, Saul found a woman who used witchcraft (magic). He believed that she could force Samuel’s spirit to speak to him. Saul went to her in secret; she did not recognise him.
Saul felt terror before the battle; for that reason he did this, although it is completely against God’s law (Deuteronomy 18:10-13). He thought that the experience would bring him comfort and confidence for the fight. He did not realise how terrible this experience would be. Even for the people who carried out such activities often, their experiences could be awful (see 1 Kings 18:27-29).
To carry out her magic, the woman first had to put herself under the control of an evil spirit. Evil spirits do not usually deal kindly with the people whom they control (for example, Mark 5:1-13). They are completely evil, so acts of cruelty are part of their nature.
At the start, the woman would have spoken her incantation (magic words) very quietly. She would repeat the same words many times (see Matthew 6:7), until she lost control over her own thoughts. Then the evil spirit took control of her, and strange things would start to happen. She would act and move in a strange, frightening manner.
This was when the woman began to scream at Saul. The evil spirit that controlled her had caused another spirit to appear in front of her. At that moment, she knew by the power of her evil spirit that her secret visitor was really Saul. She was very afraid; but probably, the evil spirit caused her to scream. The Bible often records that evil spirits caused people to scream (Mark 5:7; Luke 4:33; Luke 9:39).
Next part: A strange spirit appears (1 Samuel 28:13-14)
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© 2014, Keith Simons.