Old Testament

Historical Books

Why did Saul seek out a medium?

Mediums were forbidden by Israelite law. Saul, earlier in his reign, rid the land of mediums. However, when the Philistines closed in on the Israelites again, Saul became afraid, and wanted some help. Saul prayed to God, but saw no help in that. So, he wore a disguise and went to see a medium, or woman of spirits, at Endor. There, Saul asked the medium to summon Samuel from the dead. Samuel came, and asked, “Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?” After hearing Saul’s plea of distress, Samuel replied, “Because you did not obey the voice of the LORD, and did not carry out his fierce wrath against Amalek, therefore the LORD has done this thing to you today. Moreover the LORD will give Israel along with you into the hands of the Philistines; and tomorrow you and your sons shall be with me; the LORD will also give the army of Israel into the hands of the Philistines.” (NRSV, I Samuel 28:18–19)

The next day, it happened just as Samuel said. Saul was wounded severely. He begged his armor bearer to kill him, but the armor bearer was afraid to do that. So Saul took his own sword and fell upon it. In addition, three of Saul’s sons, including Jonathan, were killed that day. The Philistines occupied the Israelite towns.


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