Saturday, September 18, 2010

Witch of Endor

In the Hebrew Bible, the Medium or Witch of Endor in 1 Samuel 28:1-8 and 1 Samuel 28:3-25, was a woman "who possesses a talisman", through which she called up the ghost of the recently deceased prophet Samuel, at the demand of King Saul of Israel.

In order to understand the context of the story of Saul and the Witch of Endor, it is necessary to first understand what lead up to it—where The LORD Rejects Saul as King.  If you are not familiar, read this first: 1 Samuel 15.

After Samuel's death and burial with due mourning ceremonies in Ramah, Saul had driven all necromancers and magicians from Israel. Then, in a bitter irony, Saul sought out the witch, anonymously and in disguise, only after he received no answer from God from dreams, prophets or the Urim and Thummim as to his best course of action against the assembled forces of the Philistines. The prophet's ghost offered no advice but predicted Saul's downfall as king; Saul calmly accepted his doom and fell in battle the next day with his sons dying with him too.

Following the orders of the king, the woman summons the ghost of Samuel from the abode of the dead, to give him advice. This, however, is not given. After complaining of being awakened from his long sleep, the prophet's ghost berates him for disobeying God, and predicts Saul's downfall, with his whole army, in battle the next day, and adds that Saul and his sons will join him, then, in the abode of the dead. Saul is shocked and afraid, and the next day the army is defeated and Saul commits suicide after being wounded.


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