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Poole's on 1 Samuel 28:14: The Witch at Endor, Part 3

Verse 14:[1] And he said unto her, What form is he of (Heb. what is his form?[2])? And she said, An old man cometh up; and he is covered with (1 Sam. 15:27; 2 Kings 2:8, 13) a mantle. And Saul perceived that it was (Ecclus. 46:20[3]) Samuel, and he stooped with his face to the ground, and bowed himself.



[Of what sort is his form? (thus Munster, Pagnine, Tigurinus, Strigelius), מַה־תָּאֳרוֹ] What is the form (appearance [Jonathan, Syriac]) of him? (Montanus). Of what condition is he then? (Arabic).


[He is covered with a mantle] That is, a prophetic mantle; which sort Saul tore, 1 Samuel 15:27 (Menochius). That habit was royal and Sacerdotal. Samuel had been a judge, and made use of the mantle in his office (Martyr).


He is covered with a mantle; the usual habit of prophets, 2 Kings 2:8, 13; Zechariah 13:4, and particularly of Samuel, 1 Samuel 15:27.


[And he perceived, etc.] By the words of the witch; for he himself did not see this counterfeit Samuel (Dutch).


[And he worshipped] As a man suppliant before some greater power or excellency (Sanchez). Perhaps he wanted to flatter him, whom in life he had remembered to be inexorable (Martyr). Moreover, at this point there is a weighty question, whether Samuel was truly and properly roused (Sanchez). Response 1: Some maintain that nothing appeared here, but that the whole thing was devised by the woman (Kimchi and other Rabbis in Serarius). Response 2: Others maintain that this was the true Samuel, or his spirit (thus Serarius, Lapide, Sanchez, etc.). [But not in one way.] 1. Some maintain that Samuel’s soul was drawn up from the infernal regions by these incantations. Thus Origen,[4] Commentary on 1 Samuel 28; and before him, Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho, etc.; and after him, Anastasius of Antioch,[5] in Guide along the Right Path[6] 112 (Leo Allatius’[7] Treatise concerning the Engastrimyth[8] 7). [This opinion pleases neither the Reformed, nor the Romanists.] No prudent person would admit that the true soul of someone, especially of a holy man, could be called from his resting place by magical incantations (Sanchez). 2. Others maintain that this was the true Samuel, yet not raised by the power of spell of the Witch, but with God so willing (thus Menochius, Serarius, Sanchez, Lapide, etc.). [That this was the true Samuel, they prove by these arguments.] Out of Ecclesiasticus 46:20, where this is expressly affirmed (Malvenda, Sanchez, etc.). To which place without doubt all the Fathers would have acquiesced, if they had recognized that Canonical faith belonged to that book (Sanchez). 2. He that appeared is called Samuel throughout, and it is added that Saul (he does not say thought, but) understood that it was Samuel (Serarius, Bellarmine,[9] thus Sanchez and Origen). But the proper meaning of Scripture, when nothing hinders, is always to be retained (Serarius). 3. Future things are here predicted, that by Samuel had never been previously predicted so definitely, concerning his sons, concerning the next day, etc. (Serarius). He predicted things that the Devil was not able to know, namely, future contingents, which God alone knows, according to Isaiah 41 (Bellarmine). 4. This Samuel speaks the name Jehovah several times, while a Demon would not even be able to endure hearing the name of the Jehovah (Bellarmine). 5. From testimonies, both of the Fathers and of the Rabbis. This is the position of Justin, Augustine, Basil,[10] Ambrose,[11] and Procopius. Likewise of Rabbi Eleazar,[12] Rabbi Saadias,[13]Midrash,[14] and Josephus (Serarius). [But these arguments do not satisfy others.] Therefore, they respond to (1), 1. It is to be observed that Origen and the other Fathers (among whom this is argued in both directions) did not make use of this testimony of Ecclesiasticus (which nevertheless was not able to escape their notice, and so this argument was not judged to be valid. 2. Ecclesiasticus does not determine whether it was the true Samuel, or a counterfeit, but only follows the narration of history: just as in the books of Kings the narration is found, and accordingly just as it speaks of the imaginary Samuel as of the true; so also the narration of Ecclesiasticus, says Jansen[15] on that passage of Ecclesiasticus, and similarly Rupertus[16] in his Commentary on the books of Kings 2:7. For this reason those Fathers passed by this passage (Leo Allatius’ Treatise concerning the Engastrimyth 24). 3. [Others add that the book of Ecclesiasticus is Apocryphal, and so the argument is not adequate (Rainolds’[17] Censure of the Apocryphal Books[18]). They respond to (2), 1. Scripture expresses many things in a way accommodated to human capacity; even many things from the mouth and perspective of others: Thus it calls Hananiah a Prophet in Jeremiah,[19] not because he was such, but because he was believed to be such; it calls the Poet a Prophet in Titus;[20] madmen it also calls Prophets in Hosea;[21] and the Prophets of Baal are said to prophesy, 1 Kings 18. In the same way it calls them gods, 1 Corinthians 8:5; and three men, Genesis 18; and a man, who wrestles with Jacob, Genesis 32; and serpents and frogs, which were such only in appearance and the opinion of men, but not in actuality, Exodus 7: and in this very passage it calls them gods ascending, which nevertheless were not gods, nor called forth by her spells. Finally, it calls what is only his spirit Samuel, and speaks of him as if he were consisting of body and soul. So it is not strange that this image, similar to Samuel, and thus appearing to Saul and the Pythoness, was called Samuel (Leo Allatius’ Treatise concerning the Engastrimyth 19, 20); for it bore the person and similitude of Samuel. Thus Virgil, Æneid 1, …they marvel at Julus.[22] Yet it was not Julus Ascanius, but Cupid clothed in the appearance of Julus. Thus they are called the dead, Deuteronomy 18:11 (those that consult the dead[23]), even Demon called forth, who were showing themselves in the appearance of the dead, not because they were such, but because they appeared to be (Rainolds’ Censure of the Apocryphal Books 80, 90). We acknowledge that sometime it happens, that the parts and properities of the thing figured are attributed to the figure and shadow. Thus Pharaoh calls the things seen in his dreams ears and cows[24] (Sanchez). 2. What Bellarmine adds is more probable, that Scripture would not say that Saul understood (unless that were true), but that he thought or supposed, that it was Samuel. But it is answered, it is much more to know, than to understand; at the very least they are equal. But Scripture makes use of the language of knowing, in those things that are only supposed, even falsely, Matthew 25:24, I knew thee to be a hard man, etc. In verse 26, O wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap, etc. (Rainolds’ Censure of the Apocryphal Books 90). Moreover, Samuel was called forth either with his body, or without his body; if the former, Saul would have seen him; if the latter, he did not then recognize Samuel: for in fact he was Samuel, who was of the body and soul of Samuel (Eustathius[25] in Leo Allatius’ Treatise concerning the Engastrimyth 15). They respond to (3), 1. Many future things are predicted, not only from the knowledge of things, but also from conjecture. Thus that saying in Judges 18:6, Before Jehovah is your way [see the things annotated there]. God sometimes permits Demons to give responses to Idolaters; because by their wickedness they deserve thus to be exercised in errors. Examples of predictions of this sort are many. Like that servant girl in Acts 16, who, unless she had predicted true things, would not have supplied great gain to her Masters. All historians relate many things concerning the oracle at Delphi. With Crœsus[26] inquiring, whether it was going to happen that his mute son would speak; the oracle responded that he was going to speak on an inauspicious day: which also happened[27] (Rainolds’ Censure of the Apocryphal Books 91). Larginus Proclus publicly predicted in Germania the day of Domitian’s death. Sent to Rome for this reason, he was condemned to death; nevertheless, with the execution delayed, Domitian died on that day, and Larginus Proculus, absolved by Nerva, the successor of the Emperor, received four hundred thousand sesterces[28] as a gift.[29] Zonaras,[30] in his Annals 3, says, that a Demon, appearing in the habit of a youth, foretold to Julian,[31] that death awaited him in Phrygia: which also happened. Xiphilinus, out of Dio[32] in “The Life of Antoninus Caracalla[33]”, says, that a certain soothsayter in Africa predicted that Macrinus and his son, Diadumianus, were going to be emperors;[34] which happened. A certain blind hag of Vienna, with Julian entering the city, exclained that he was going to renew the temples of the gods: Ammianus Marcellinus’[35] Matters Conducted 15 (Leo Allatius’ Treatise concerning the Engastrimyth 15). Appius Claudius,[36] consulting Apollo Pythius concerning the outcome of the war breaking out between Cæsar and Pompey, received this response, This Roman war does not concern thee: thou shalt obtain heaven at Eubœa:[37] Valerius Maximus’ Nine Books of Memorable Deeds and Sayings[38] 1:8, Orosius’[39] Histories against the Pagans 6:15. And so it happened; for in a certain place called Eubœa, where he had retreated before the Pharsalic contest,[40] exhausted by illness, he died the death that had been indicated by the Delphic oracle: Valerius Maximus (Rainolds’ Censure of the Apocryphal Books 91). 2. It does not appear so difficult for the Demon to have foreseen the defeat of Israel, and the death of Saul (and the succession of David in the kingdom [Martyr]). He was able to have known these things, either, 1. ἀπὸ τῆς περὶ αὐτὸν ὀργῆς τοῦ Θεοῦ, from the anger of God declared against him. Thus the note of one unknown on 1 Samuel 28. Or, 2. Because certain signs are wont to appear on those about to die, which Demons readily discern. Or, 3. Because it was observed, that men after such a nefarious consultation are not able to prolong their life for long (Leo Allatius). Or, 4. From the Prophetic predictions concerning Saul and David, 1 Samuel 15; 16, just as Serapis[41] was able to know (and foretold [Leo Allatius]) that (his) temple was to be overthrown, as Augustine observes (Concerning the Divination of Demons 1), since this was foretold by Isaiah. Or, 5. Because he observed the army of the Philistines to have more daring and strength; and that the spirit of Saul was broken, etc. (Rainolds’ Censure of the Apocryphal Books). Or, 6. From some cause hidden to us. Or, 7. Demons often declare beforehand what they themselves (with God permitting) are going to do (Leo Allatius). It was able to happen, so that God might execute His judgments by the ministry of the Demon in the case of Saul, as in the case of Ahab, 1 Kings 22, and in Job 1. Thence Satan was able easily to predicts, that the Sabeans were going to smite the servants of Job, etc. But Bellarmine insists, How was the Demon able to predict that this was going to happen on the next day? for he says, tomorrow shalt thou and thy sons be with me. Response: As Apollo was called λοξίας/crooked/ambiguous because of the ambiguities in those things that he did not know, so that impersonated Samuel spoke with sufficient caution. Tomorrow often signifies a time coming, as it is evident from Exodus 13:14;[42] Deuteronomy 6:20;[43] Joshua 4:6,[44] 21;[45] just as yesterday and the third day by a similar Synecdoche are used of past time, Exodus 4:10;[46] Joshua 3:4.[47] Moreover, that tomorrow here does not signify the day immediately following, is manifest from the circumstances of the passage. It is likely that Endor was removed from the camp in Gilboa by at least one day’s journey. For Saul is said, in verse 20, to have eaten nothing for a whole day and a whole night; that is, for the part of the night that was taken up in the journey. Now, it is altogether likely that he took food before he went forth from the camp, while he arrived there at night. After the reception of the oracle he waited for as long as it took for a meal to be prepared. Let one day be granted for his return. The camp was moved afterwards twice; which was not able to be done without time and some difficulty. Finally, observe the antithesis between today and tomorrow, Jehovah doth this thing unto thee TODAY;[48] and just as today denotes the whole time of the threatening danger, so tomorrow denotes consequent evil (Rainolds’ Censure of the Apocryphal Books 92). They respond to (4), that it is clearly false; a Demon was in the mouth of those Prophets, 1 Kings 22:22. And one of those, Zedekiah, says, thus saith Jehovah, etc., verse 11. So also the others, verse 12 (Rainolds’ Censure of the Apocryphal Books 93). Demons are not defeated by the name of God, or of Jesus; but by the faith of Jesus: Acts 19:13; 1 Peter 5 (Rainolds’ Censure of the Apocryphal Books 94). It is given in response to (5), 1. They acknowledge that a number of the Fathers uphold the contrary (Rainolds’ Censure of the Apocryphal Books 88). That it is not the true Samuel, but his shadow appeared to Saul, is taught by Tertullian, Justin, Augustine, Jerome, Basil, Rupertus, and Isidore[49] (Sanchez, see Rainolds’ Censure of the Apocryphal Books 88, 89) [whose citations see in the author]. 2. Many of the Papists agree with us, namely, Felis., Ruiz., Jansen, Vaerus, Prateolus,[50] and others (Rainolds’ Censure of the Apocryphal Books 89). 3. It is false, that all the Hebrew agree with them. Kimchi and Ibn Ezra are on our side, and Kimchi enumerates their three opinions: 1. All these things were done by the woman through fraud; 2. Samuel himself appeared, having been sent by God; 3. There was a Demon in the likeness of Samuel (which is approved by him) (Rainolds’ Censure of the Apocryphal Books 94). [But it is enough to have said these things concerning the second opinion.] Response 3: It was not really Samuel, but a specter, or pythonic spirit, which had put on the appearance of Samuel (Vatablus out of the Hebrews, thus Grotius, Martyr, Osiander, Junius). Although he is everywhere called Samuel, it is more likely that he was a deceitful spirit, of that sort concerning which Porphyry[51] speaks in On Abstinence from Animal Food[52] 2, γένος ἀπατηλῆς φύσεως παντόμορφόν τε καὶ πολύτροπον, ὑποκρινόμενον καὶ Θεοὺς καὶ δαίμονας καὶ ψυχὰς τεθνηκότων, a class of being producing illusions, assuming all forms and shifty, playing the part of gods, dæmons, and the souls of the dead. And the woman herself appears to signify this clearly enough, when she says that אֱלֹהִים/gods ascended out of the earth; thus calling those spirits, one of which had put on the form of Samuel; the others were to him as companions. See Tertullian’s On the Soul near the end (Grotius). These were mere illusions conjured by a Demon, says Eustathius of Antioch, who assailed Origen in a singular treatise, Concerning the Engastrimyth, which we, first of all, now publish in Greek and Latin (Leo Allatius’ Treatise concerning the Engastrimyth 10). [The Argument for this opinion are:] 1. Since God was unwilling to respond to Saul, neither by Prophets, nor by Priests, nor by dreams; it is not plausible that He willed to give responses to him by the dead (Martyr, Author of Concerning the Miracles of Sacred Scripture[53] 2:11), and especially when He had expressly prohibited that by Law. Next, that was necessary to have been done, either by the will of God, or by the power of art. It was not able to be done by the will of God, because He prohibited it: nor by the power of art. For magicians do not have power over the pious. Next, Samuel came either willingly, or unwillingly. Not willingly, for he would have yielded to Magical art; but it is intolerable to say that he came unwillingly (Martyr). Some say that God awaited this most opportune time, so that He might reveal to him what was waiting for him, so that he might also pay for this sin of consulting a familiar spirit. Response: 1. If it were so, why did not Samuel, impersonated here, make mention of this, with his other sins enumerated? 2. This was not the most opportune time: Certainly God would have prevented the true Samuel from ascending by those incantations; lest men should have faith in those things: and lest the authority of God should be diminished, if God should do anything contrary to those familiar spirits. God was indeed able to postpone [a response] unto this time; yet He did not therefore will and do it. (This) will of God is to be proven out of some passage of Scripture (Leo Allatius’ Treatise concerning the Engastrimyth 23). 2. The most weighty and solid argument, treated by Eustathius, Tertullian, Cyril, and others, stand thus: it belongs to God alone to call souls up from below. No demon has power, even in the smallest things, over souls, especially of the just, or Prophets (Leo Allatius’ Treatise concerning the Engastrimyth 12). That the souls and spirits of the saints are not subject to the incantations of a Witch, not even to all the powers of hell, Bellarmine concedes. I add, that that evil spirit, or ghost, was subject to the incantations of the Witch (Rainolds’ Censure of the Apocryphal Books 75). They respond, that Samuel was not raised by the force of Necromancy; but by the divine will, and that before that enchantress made use of her nefarious rites (Serarius, thus Bellarmine, Sanchez, Lapide, Menochius, etc.). They prove this from the perturbation of the woman, who cried out, frightened by the strangeness and wonder of the thing (Serarius), inasmuch as she saw that Samuel appeared before he was summoned (Bellarmine). But how does Bellarmine prove this? From this, that the Rabbis say that the ghosts of the dead, called forth by the power of magic, ascend with their head turned downward; but that Samuel ascended with a proper figure: thence the Witch understood, namely, from the most secret mysteries of Necromancy, that Samuel was not called forth by her incantations, but came at the command of God: similarly also those in Ovid in the history of Cadmus.[54] But the reason for her perturbation is here expressed in the context, that she understood him to be Saul (Rainolds’ Censure of the Apocryphal Books 75), by whom she, now caught in this crime, expected to be punished. Neither was she able to believe his oath, since she saw herself deceived in other things by him, who had tendered the oath (Leo Allatius’ Treatise concerning the Engastrimyth 23). They say, that, with the woman administering her incantations, God prevented the attempt of the Demon, and called forth the soul of Samuel by divine power and authority: Just as, with Balaam administering his sorceries, God, not a Demon (which he sought), filled his mouth, etc. Thus, with Ahaziah sending those that might consult Beelzebub, God prevented the response of the Devil, with Elijah sent, who would foretell his death.[55] Thus Salian; likewise Cajetan. Response: God was undoubtedly able to do this. But I do not read that God so willed. And we ought not at all to assert that the will of God intervened in matters that exceed the power of nature, unless an express mention of that be found in the divine books. Open the whole chapter, and you will find only the will of Saul and the prescriptions of the Witch: there is not mention of the divine will. The examples of Balaam and Ahaziah confirm our position. For Scripture itself manifests with sufficient clarity that it was the will and work of God (as it is evident from Numbers 22-24; 2 Kings 1; etc.): moreover, it reprehends the pursuit of Balaam and Ahaziah; Is there not a God in Israel, etc.? Had the sould of Samuel piously said at the same time, Because thou camest to En-dor, etc., as if there were no God in Israel, etc.; thou shalt therefore lose the Kingdom, etc. But that fictitious Samuel deludes Saul, and admits the force of the incantantion, Why has thou disquieted me, etc.? and so maintains the error of the deceived man. He does not say, Although thou hast undertaken to disquiet me, and that in vain, the Lord hath sent me, etc. But he expresses grief, as if he were unwilling to be called forth. For this is the deceit of malignant spirits, that what they do willingly, and dictate to men to be done, they painstakingly conceal, so that they might be judged to do this unwillingly, says Salisbury (Leo Allatius’ Treatise concerning the Engastrimyth 23). 3. They urge those words, Why hast thou disquieted me, by making me ascend? If that ghost was Samuel, Samuel lied; because that ghost says that he is disquieted and roused by Saul (Rainolds’ Censure of the Apocryphal Books 78); as if disturbance were possible for the souls of the Saints that were in the bosom of Abraham,[56] or the souls of the just were in the hand of a Demon, etc. (Leo Allatius’ Treatise concerning the Engastrimyth 18). The true Samuel was able neither to be called forth nor to be disquieted by Saul; but neither would he have called the command of God and obedience disquiet (Leo Allatius’ Treatise concerning the Engastrimyth 23). Samuel was no more to be disquieted, if he were sent by God, than Moses and Elijah, Matthew 17:3. The righteous dead are not able to be disquieted, since they are said to have entered into peace, and to rest in their beds, Isaiah 57:2; to enjoy quiet, Luke 16:25; to rest from their labors, Revelation 14:3 (Rainolds’ Censure of the Apocryphal Books 78). 4. The true Samuel would not have allowed himself to be worshipped by the King. Thus Eustatius. But they say, that to bow oneself in suppliant regard to those greater was mostly legitimate among the Hebrews; see 1 Samuel 24; 25. But this adoration of Saul was altogether diverse from those. For those adorations, when they are offered to men, do not at all manifest the worship of latria.[57] But this was offered to gods ascending from the earth, and to Samuel, upon whom, as upon a god, he had fixed his hope. And, just as he had attributed much to the Demon, unto whom he had turned, above all others, so also he worshipped with the highest adoration (Leo Allatius’ Treatise concerning the Engastrimyth 23). Moreover, in all Necromancy it is required that they worship the one that they rouse, and worship him. But now the Devil, when he wanted to be worshipped by Christ, required only προσκύνησιν and eternal adoration (Rainolds’ Censure of the Apocryphal Books 87). 5. This prophecy, in addition to the many impieties, also proclaims falsehoods (which Samuel would not do). For he says, tomorrow thou and thy sons shall fall; yet these things did not happen on the immediately following day [as it is evident from the things previously discussed]. The following table or sequence, which we have gathered out of Sacred Scripture, demonstrates this. On the first day, both armies are gathered, 1 Samuel 28:1, 5; and Saul seeks the Witch, arrives at En-dor at night, and addresses the Witch, verses 7, 8. Achish makes David the keeper of his head, verse 2, but sends him away on account of the warnings of the Philistines, 1 Samuel 29. That night Saul does not take any food, 1 Samuel 28:8-21. On the same night, David arose, so that he might depart at the top of the morning, 1 Samuel 29:11. On the second day, Saul, with food taken, rests, 1 Samuel 28:21-25. The Amalekites sally forth, etc., 1 Samuel 30:14. That night, Saul returns to the camp, 1 Samuel 28:25. On the third day, David is still on the way to Ziklag, which was then burned with fire, 1 Samuel 30:1, etc. On the fourth day, he comes to Ziklag, and pursues and attacks the Amalekites, 1 Samuel 30:11, etc. On the fifth day, he continues in the fight unto evening. On this day, the Philistines engage the Israelites in battle, and overcome them, etc. On the sixth day, the Philistines send the severed head of Saul to their own land, 1 Samuel 31:9. On the seven day, the man, coming from the camp, announces the death of Saul to David, 2 Samuel 1. They say that tomorrow often signifies the future in a general way. But there is no reason here, why it should be diverted from its first and proper signification to another, except that it was appearing absurd that this Samuel lied. They say, in addition, that the matters between David and the Amalekites were recounted by way of anticipation before the death of Saul. But it is evident that this is false, because Saul died on the same day that David returned from the slaughter of Amalek to Ziklag, 2 Samuel 1:1, etc. (Leo Allatius’ Treatise concerning the Engastrimyth 16, 17). 6. To these things add that this Samuel packs in many impieties. Why hast thou disquieted me, etc.? [Concerning which it has already been treated.] Wherefore then dost thou ask me, since the Lord is departed? As if the mercy of God were to be despaired of. He spitefully calls David, thy rival. He says, tomorrow thou and thy sons shall be with me: as if Saul was going to be in the same rest with Samuel. He says nothing concerning the good of his soul, nor does he reprove Samuel, because he consulted a witch. Certainly the divine zeal of Samuel would not have passed over this in silence (Leo Allatius’ Treatise concerning the Engastrimyth 18). 7. Suspicious is that אֱלֹהִים/gods; should they appear plural (which the plural participle added makes likely[58]), they were Demons: what sort of Samuel will be in the company of these? But let it be, that אֱלֹהִים signifies an excellent man, she adds, I saw gods ascending from the earth: But the soul of Samuel would have descended from heaven, would not have ascended from the earth (Rainolds’ Censure of the Apocryphal Books 79). 8. They produce various Testimonies of the Fathers and others, concerning which consult Leo Allatius’ Treatise concerning the Engastrimyth 7-11, and Rainolds’ Censure of the Apocryphal Books 88, 89. Bellarmine does indeed say that all that uphold this opinion are either uncertain, or obscure, among whom he even places Basil. But Eustathius, the first and chief of the Nicene Fathers, was not obscure, who wrote a against Origen Concerning the Engastrimyth, which he did, and Methodius the Martyr, Bishop of Patara.[59] This opinion was built upon by Gregory Nyssen[60] in his epistle to Theodosius, or to Timothy, concerning the Engastrimyth, Jerome on Matthew 6, Cyril of Alexandria[61] in his On Adoration 6, Philastrius in Concerning Heresies[62] 26, Procopius of Gaza,[63] and Abbot Rupertus on 1 Samuel 17. Of the more recent men, likewise Jansen on Ecclesiasticus 46 and Remigius in his Demonolatry[64] 2:1. And the determination of the Church appears in chapter Illud 26, question 2, and in chapter Nec Mirum, question 5, where it is expressed said that it was not Samuel, but his phantom. I would prefer to err with these, than with the rest (with the exception of one, the infallible mouth of the Roman Church, which I know with certainty is never going to recede from such Fathers) to think correctly (Leo Allatius’ Treatise concerning the Engastrimyth 11).


Saul perceived that it was Samuel; the woman pretended, and Saul upon her suggestion believed, that it was Samuel indeed; and so many popish and some other writers conceived. But that it was not Samuel, but the devil representing Samuel, is sufficiently evident. For, first, It is most incredible that God, who had just now refused to answer Saul by the means which himself appointed and used in that case, would answer him, or suffer Samuel to answer him, in that way, and upon the use of those means which God detested and contemned; which would have given great countenance and encouragement to Saul and the witch, and all professors and consulters of those devilish arts. Secondly, There are divers passages in this relation which plainly discover that this was no good, but an evil spirit; as first, That he receives that worship from Saul, verse 14, which good spirits would not suffer, Revelation 19:10; 22:8, 9. Secondly, That amongst his other sins for which he condemneth him, he omitteth this of asking counsel of one that had a familiar spirit, to inquire of it; for which transgression, with others, he is expressly said to have died, 1 Chronicles 10:13, which the true Samuel, who was so zealous for God’s honour, and so faithful a reprover, would never have neglected, especially now, when he takes Saul in the very fact. Thirdly, That he pretends himself to be disquieted and brought up, verse 15, by Saul’s instigation, and the witch’s art; which is most false, and impious, and absurd to imagine, concerning those blessed souls who are returned to their God, Ecclesiastes 12:7, and entered into peace and rest, Isaiah 57:2, and lodged in Abraham’s bosom, Luke 16:22, and rest from their labors, Revelation 14:13. The only argument of any colour to the contrary is only this, that the devil could not so particularly and punctually discover Saul’s future events as this Samuel doth, verse 19. But this also hath little weight in it; it being confessed and notoriously known, that evil spirits, both in the oracles of the heathen, and otherwise, have ofttimes foretold future contingencies; God being pleased to reveal such things to them, and to permit them to be the instruments of revealing them to men, for the trial of some, and for the terror and punishment of others. Besides, the devil might foresee this by strong conjectures, as by the numerousness, strength, courage, and resoluteness of the Philistine host, and the quite contrary condition of the Israelites, and by divers other symptoms far above the reach of mortal men, but such as he by his great sagacity could easily discern. And for that express determination of the time, tomorrow, verse 19, that word may be understood not of the very next day, but indefinitely of some short time after this, as it is taken, Exodus 13:14; Deuteronomy 6:20; Joshua 4:6, 21. And then it was easy to gather from the present posture of the two armies, that the fight and the ruin of the Israelites was very near. And that it was not the very next day, but some days after this, is evident from the course of the story, and hath been proved by a late learned writer. See my Latin Synopsis on this place.

[1] Hebrew: וַיֹּ֤אמֶר לָהּ֙ מַֽה־תָּאֳר֔וֹ וַתֹּ֗אמֶר אִ֤ישׁ זָקֵן֙ עֹלֶ֔ה וְה֥וּא עֹטֶ֖ה מְעִ֑יל וַיֵּ֤דַע שָׁאוּל֙ כִּֽי־שְׁמוּאֵ֣ל ה֔וּא וַיִּקֹּ֥ד אַפַּ֛יִם אַ֖רְצָה וַיִּשְׁתָּֽחוּ׃ [2] Hebrew: מַה־תָּאֳרוֹ. [3] Ecclesiasticus 46:20: “And after his death he prophesied, and shewed the king his end, and lifted up his voice from the earth in prophecy, to blot out the wickedness of the people.” [4] Origen (c. 185-c. 254) succeeded Clement of Alexandria as the head of the catechetical school in Alexandria. He was perhaps the greatest scholar of his age. [5] Anastasius Sinaita (died after 700) was a priest and abbot of Saint Catherine’s Monastery on Mount Sinai. Little is known about his life. In antiquity he was frequently confused with the sixth century Anastasius, Patriarch of Antioch. [6] Ὁδηγός. [7] Leo Allatius (1586-1669) was born to Greek parents, but he embraced Roman Catholicism. With his unique background, he greatly desired, and labored for, the reunion of the Eastern and Western Churches. Allatius was a prolific author, and his works display wide reading. He was appointed as the keeper of the Vatican library by Pope Alexander VII (1661). [8]De Engastrimytho Syntagma. Allatius calls the Witch of Endor an “Engastrimyth” because of the oracular speech (mythos) arising from within her belly (engastri-). [9] Robert Bellarmine (1542-1621) entered the Order of the Jesuits in his late teens. He became one of the great theologians of his era, a Cardinal, and, after his death, a Doctor of the Church. [10] Basil the Great was a fourth century Church Father and stalwart defender of Nicean Trinitarianism. [11] Ambrose (340-397), Bishop of Milan, was a man of great influence, ecclesiastically and politically, and was instrumental in the conversion of Augustine. [12] Eleazar הרוקח, the Perfumer, of Worms (c. 1176-1238) was a German Rabbi, Talmudist, and Kabbalist. He commented on a great part of the Hebrew Bible, and his comments tend toward pietism and mysticism. [13] Saadias Ben Joseph (892-942) was a leader (Gaon) in the Babylonian Jewish community and a champion of Talmudic orthodoxy. His scholarship flourished, even in the midst of a difficult academic and intellectual climate. He produced an Arabic version of the Pentateuch, and translations and commentaries for the books of Isaiah, Job, and Proverbs. He tends to interpret, and sometimes to wrest, the text, so that it might conform to traditional rabbinic interpretation. [14]Midrash Shmuel (c. 1000) contains haggadic interpretations and homilies on the Books of Samuel, drawing heavily from preceding Rabbinic authorities. [15] Cornelius Jansen (1510-1586), Bishop of Ghent, was a Flemish Roman Catholic scholar and exegete. He served as Professor of Theology at Leuven. Jansen composed commentaries on the Gospels, Psalms, Proverbs, and Ecclesiasticus. [16] Rupertus (1091-1135) was a learned Benedictine, Abbot of Tuits on the Rhine. [17] John Rainolds (1549-1607) was an Oxford academic and churchman. He was Puritan in his views, and played an important role in initiating the Authorized Version. [18]Censura Librorum Apocryphorum Veteris Testamenti. [19] See Jeremiah 28:1, 5, 10, 12, 15, 17. [20] Titus 1:12. [21] Hosea 9:7. [22] In Roman mythology, Julus Ascanius is the son of Æneas, and progenitor of the Julian family. [23] Deuteronomy 18:11: “Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer (וְדֹרֵ֖שׁ אֶל־הַמֵּתִֽים׃, and one resorting to the dead).” [24] See Genesis 41. [25] Eustathius was a fourth century Archbishop of Antioch. He is remembered for his stance against Arianism at Nicea and thereafter, and his opposition to the growing influence of Origen. His only surviving work (at least in its entirety) is his De Engastrimytho contra Origenem. [26] Crœsus was king of Lydia from c. 585 to c. 546, and famously wealthy. He supported the Oracle at Delphi with lavish gifts. [27] It is said that Crœsus’ mute son spoke for the first time, when Lydia was being taken by the Persians, crying out when he saw a Persian about to take Crœsus’ life. [28] A sesterce was worth about a quarter of a denarius. [29] Suetonius’ “Life of Domitian” 16; Cassius Dio’s Roman History 67:16. Larginus Proculus was a first century Germanic soothsayer. He predicted Domitian’s death using a form of divination based on the interpretation of lightning. [30] John Zonaras (twelfth century), native of Constantinople, was a historian and theologian. [31] Julian the Apostate (331-363) was the last pagan Emperor of Rome. He was raised as a Christian, but he rejected Christianity in favor of Theurgy, a form of Neoplatonism. He sought to revive paganism and to reduce the influence of Christianity. He died after a battle with Persian forces, and it is said that his dying words were, Vicisti, Galilæe, Thou hast conquered, O Galilean. [32] Joannes Xiphilinus (latter half of the eleventh century) was a monk and preacher. He composed an epitome of the Roman History of Dio Cassius (c. 165-c. 235). [33] Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Caracalla was Roman Emperor from 198 to 217. [34] Macrinus became Emperor in 217, and reigned briefly with his young son, Diadumenianus, in 218. [35] Ammianus Marcellinus (c. 330-c. 390) was Roman noble, soldier, and historian. His Res Gestæ covered the period of Roman history from the reign of Nerva in 96 to the Battle of Adrianople in 378; unhappily, only the last portion (353-378) survives. [36] Appius Claudius Pulcher (97-49 BC) was a Roman general and politician, serving as consul in 54 BC. He was a scholar, expert in Roman law and antiquities, and in the lore of the augural college. [37] Eubœa is a large island off the eastern coast of Greece. [38] Factorum et Dictorum Memorabilium Libri Novem. [39] Paulus Orosius (c. 385-420) was a disciple of Augustine and active in Pelagian controversy. His Historiæ adversum Paganos chronicled the calamities that had befallen unbelieving mankind from the fall to his own day. [40] Pharsalus was the site of Cæsar’s defeat of Pompey. [41] Serapis was a Greco-Egyptian god, derived from Osiris and Apis, with the powers of Hades, Demeter, and Dionysus ascribed to him. His worship was commended as a matter of state policy, as a means to unify the Greek and Egyptian subjects of the Ptolemaic Kingdom. [42] Exodus 13:14: “And it shall be when thy son asketh thee in time to come (מָחָר/ tomorrow), saying, What is this? that thou shalt say unto him, By strength of hand the Lord brought us out from Egypt, from the house of bondage…” [43] Deuteronomy 6:20: “And when thy son asketh thee in time to come (מָחָר/ tomorrow), saying, What mean the testimonies, and the statutes, and the judgments, which the Lord our God hath commanded you?” [44] Joshua 4:6: “That this may be a sign among you, that when your children ask their fathers in time to come (מָחָר/tomorrow), saying, What mean ye by these stones?” [45] Joshua 4:21: “And he spake unto the children of Israel, saying, When your children shall ask their fathers in time to come (מָחָר/tomorrow), saying, What mean these stones?” [46] Exodus 4:10: “And Moses said unto the Lord, O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore (גַּ֤ם מִתְּמוֹל֙ גַּ֣ם מִשִּׁלְשֹׁ֔ם, neither yesterday nor three days ago), nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue.” [47] Joshua 3:4: “Yet there shall be a space between you and it, about two thousand cubits by measure: come not near unto it, that ye may know the way by which ye must go: for ye have not passed this way heretofore (מִתְּמ֥וֹל שִׁלְשֽׁוֹם׃, yesterday three days ago).” [48] Verse 18. [49] Isidore (c. 560-636) was Archbishop of Seville and a bright and shining light of learning in the intellectual darkness of his age. He presided over the Second Council of Seville (619), which ruled against Arianism, and the Fourth Council of Toledo, which required bishops to establish seminaries in their principal cities. [50] Gabriel Prateolus (1511-1588) was a French Roman Catholic theologian. He taught theology at the College of Navarre, and was a zealous opponent of the Reformation. [51] Porphyry (c. 232-c. 304) studied in Rome under Plotinus. He endeavored to make the obscure Neoplatonism of Plotinus intelligible to the popular reader. [52]De Abstinentia. [53]De Mirabilibus Sacræ Scripturæ was written in 655 by an anonymous Irishman, sometimes referred to as Augustine Hibernicus. In this treatise, the author endeavors to explain the miracles of Scripture as extreme examples of natural phenomena. [54]Metamorphoses 3:1-137. Cadmus was the legendary founder of Thebes. [55] See 2 Kings 1:1-8. [56] See Luke 16:22-25. [57] In Roman Catholic theology, latria is the highest form of worship, due to God alone. [58] 1 Samuel 28:13: “And the king said unto her, Be not afraid: for what sawest thou? And the woman said unto Saul, I saw gods ascending (אֱלֹהִ֥ים רָאִ֖יתִי עֹלִ֥ים) out of the earth.” [59] Methodius (died c. 311) was bishop of Olympus in Lycia according to Jerome (Lycian Patara according to a sixth century tradition), and an opponent of Origen, ending his course in martyrdom. [60] Gregory Nyssen (c. 332-396) was Bishop of Nyssa, and a divine of profound learning and great piety. Gregory was a fierce opponent of Arianism, and he took an active part in drafting the Constantinopolitan enlargement of the Nicene Creed. [61] Cyril of Alexandria (c. 378-444) was a participant in the third ecumenical council, held at Ephesus. He repudiated the heretical Nestorian Christology but tended himself to the monophysitism. [62] Philastrius (died c. 397) was Bishop of Brescia. He participated in the anti-Arian synod of Aquileia held in 381, and wrote Diversarum Hereseon Liber. [63] Procopius of Gaza (c. 465-528) was a Christian teacher, rhetorician, and writer. He composed catenic commentaries on the Pentateuch, Joshua, Judges, Samuel, Kings, Chronicles, Isaiah, Proverbs, Song of Solomon, and Ecclesiastes. [64]Nicholas Rémy (1530-1616) was a French magistrate; he oversaw the execution of hundreds of purported witches. His Dæmonolatreiæ libri tres replaced the Malleum Maleficarum as the acknowledged handbook for witch-hunting.

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Dr. Dilday
Dr. Dilday
Dec 05, 2023

Matthew Henry: 'Samuel, who was lately dead, is the person whom Saul desired to have some talk with; and the witch, with her enchantments, gratifies his desire, and brings them together. 1. As soon as Saul had given the witch the assurance she desired (that he would not discover her) she applied to her witchcrafts, and asked very confidently, Whom shall I bring up to thee? 1 Samuel 28:11. Note, Hopes of impunity embolden sinners in their evil ways and harden their hearts. 2. Saul desires to speak with Samuel: Bring me up Samuel. Samuel had anointed him to the kingdom and had formerly been his faithful friend and counsellor, and therefore with him he wished to advise. While Samue…

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Dr. Dilday
Dr. Dilday
Dec 05, 2023

Study 1 Samuel in detail with Matthew Poole! www.fromreformationtoreformation.com/1-samuel

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