Useful Bible Studies > 1 Samuel Commentary > chapter 28

The spirit says and does wrong things

1 Samuel 28:15

By means of witchcraft (magic), the woman caused a spirit to appear in front of Saul. That is, the woman could see the spirit. Saul did not see it; and he probably could not hear it. The woman would repeat the spiritís words.

The Bible does not explain whether this really was Samuelís spirit. An evil spirit could be imitating Samuel.

We do not like this spiritís attitudes. The spirit complained that Saul had disturbed him. However, Samuelís spirit was in heaven (Luke 16:19-31). Nobody could take him from there unless God sent him. If God had sent Samuel to declare Godís message to Saul, that would be a great honour for Samuel.

Then we may notice that the spirit came up out of the ground (28:13). Samuelís body was in the ground (25:1), but not his spirit. The Bible always describes heaven as above us, but hell as below us.

The spirit also said that dead people were Ďwith himí (28:19). Of course, their bodies lie, like the body of Samuel, in the grave. However, God is the judge of all people (Ecclesiastes 3:17). He separates his people from wicked people; that is his work as their judge.

At the end of Elijahís life, God took him into heaven and he did not die (2 Kings 2:11). That shows us what Godís loyal people in Israel understood about death. They knew that God took the spirits of his servants to heaven after their deaths.

Of course, we do not like Saulís attitudes either. He does not confess that he has behaved wickedly. He complains that God does not answer his prayer. He dares to blame God for the situation. Saul wants Samuel to persuade God that he (God) should change his attitude towards Saul.

Next part: The spirit declares that Saulís fears were right (1 Samuel 28:16-19)


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© 2014, Keith Simons.