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Poole's on 1 Samuel 28:15-19: The Witch at Endor, Part 4

Verse 15:[1] And Samuel said to Saul, Why hast thou disquieted me, to bring me up? And Saul answered, (Prov. 5:11-13; 14:14) I am sore distressed; for the Philistines make war against me, and (1 Sam. 18:12) God is departed from me, and (1 Sam. 28:6) answereth me no more, neither by prophets (Heb. by the hand of prophets[2]), nor by dreams: therefore I have called thee, that thou mayest make known unto me what I shall do.

Samuel said to Saul; as the devil appeared in Samuel’s shape and garb, so also he speaketh in his person, that he might insnare Saul, and encourage others to seek to him in this wicked way. And God permits him to do so for Saul’s greater condemnation and punishment.

[Why hast thou disquieted me, that I might be roused?לָ֥מָּה הִרְגַּזְתַּ֖נִי לְהַעֲל֣וֹת אֹתִ֑י] Why, oh why, or for what reason, hast thou awakened (disturbed [Septuagint, Syriac, Arabic], irritated [Montanus, Osiander], rendered disquieted [Tigurinus, Piscator]) me (that is, from my rest [Munster]) by making (to cause [Montanus]) me to ascend? (Pagnine, Syriac, Arabic), or by calling me forth? (Junius and Tremellius). That thou mayest lead me back? (Tigurinus). By rousing me? (Strigelius, similarly Vatablus). As in the appearance of Samuel, so also in the words of Samuel, the devil was lying: thus in the whole chapter (Junius). For, the souls of the just are not disquieted. But Samuel speaks in a human manner according to the expectation of Saul; who believed that this happened by his summonings (Malvenda). Disquiet does not befall the souls of the saints, but those that, brought from a place of quiet and peace, are involved in vexatious matters are commonly said to be disquieted (Menochius). If this were the true Samuel, he lied; for neither was Saul able to call him forth, nor would he have considered it disquiet to obey divine commandments (Leo Allatius’ Treatise concerning the Engastrimyth 23). But Saul was not the cause, but the occasion, of the rousing (Lapide). Response: It is false that he was disquieted to any extent (Rainolds).

Neither by prophets, nor by dreams; he omitteth the Urim here, because he neither did nor could inquire by that, because Abiathar had carried it away to David, and so he expected no answer that way.

Verse 16:[3] (Ecclus. 46:20[4]) Then said Samuel, Wherefore then dost thou ask of me, seeing the LORD is departed from thee, and is become thine enemy?

[Why dost thou ask me?] That is to say, Can it be that thou art ignorant that I am not able to favor thee, since thou art an enemy of my Lord? (Menochius).

[And He is gone over to thine enemy, וַיְהִ֥י עָרֶֽךָ׃] And He is thine foe, or enemy (Munster, Tigurinus, Junius and Tremellius, Piscator, Castalio, Strigelius, Dutch, English). And He is reckoned as thy rival (Montanus). And He is with thine enemy (Pagnine, Vatablus out of Jonathan); that is, He favors him (Vatablus): He is with thy neighbor (Septuagint, similarly the Syriac). [They appear to have read it with the letters transposed, רֵעֲךָ, thy neighbor.]

Verse 17:[5] And the LORD hath done to him (or, for himself;[6] Prov. 16:4), (1 Sam. 15:28) as he spake by me (Heb. mine hand[7]): for the LORD hath rent the kingdom out of thine hand, and given it to thy neighbour, even to David…

[For the Lord will do to thee, וַיַּ֤עַשׂ יְהוָה֙ ל֔וֹ] And the Lord will do, or did, to him (Jonathan, Syriac, Pagnine, Montanus, English, Vatablus), that is, to David. Thus the Septuagint and Jonathan in Mariana, that it might be a relative in the place of the antecedent; or to him, namely, to thine enemy; that is, to David (Vatablus). For the sake of David did He this (Martyr). Others: He did to Himself (Junius and Tremellius), or for Himself (English); He did this for His own sake: so that what He predicted was going to happen might be true (Martyr, similarly Junius); for His own glory, and according to His own good pleasure (Dutch). And indeed the Lord hath done for Himself (Munster). Others: to thee He hath done, or will do (Septuagint, Castalio, Strigelius). I preferred to read לְךָ, to thee, which is in the margin; just as Jerome and the Septuagint have translated it; rather than לוֹ, to him (Castalio). The third person is taken instead of the second; for thus is the custom of exchanging persons among the Hebrews (Mariana).

The Lord hath done to him, that is, to David, as it is explained in the following words; the pronoun relative put before the noun to which it belongs, as is usual in the Hebrew text, as Psalm 87:1; 105:19; Proverbs 7:7, 8; Jeremiah 40:5. Otherwise, to him is put for to thee; such changes of persons being frequent among the Hebrews. Otherwise, for himself, that is, for the accomplishment of his counsel, and prediction, and oath, and for the glory of his justice and holiness.

[Ad He will rend the kingdom] Thus he spoke, because the kingdom was torn in a certain measure between David and Ishbosheth[8] (Martyr). God also often compelled evil spirits to speak the truth. See Matthew 8:29, and Tertullian’s Apology 23:16 (Grotius).

As he spake by me: still he nourisheth this persuasion in Saul, that it was the true Samuel that spake to him.

Verse 18:[9] (1 Sam. 15:9; 1 Kings 20:42; 1 Chron. 10:13; Jer. 48:10) Because thou obeyedst not the voice of the LORD, nor executedst his fierce wrath upon Amalek, therefore hath the LORD done this thing unto thee this day.

[Upon Amalek] He recalls this one sin of Saul. He ignores the rest, even greater sins; that he had killed the Priests, had pursued innocent David, and now had recourse to a magician and idolater. It is not characteristic of a pious preacher, to address one thing, and to pass over in silence another thing that is no less worthy of address (Martyr). He says, thou executedst not His wrath, etc., that is, that which the Lord had commanded in wrath (Piscator, thus Vatablus), namely, the extermination of the Amalekites. A Metonymy of the efficient (Piscator).

Nor executedst his fierce wrath upon Amalek; he mentions this as an eminent instance of his disobedience.

Verse 19:[10] Moreover the LORD will also deliver Israel with thee into the hand of the Philistines: and to morrow shalt thou and thy sons be with me: the LORD also shall deliver the host of Israel into the hand of the Philistines.

[Tomorrow thou and thy sons shall be with me (thus all interpreters, except the Septuagint, which has, thou, and thy sons with thee, shall fall] Ye shall be with me, either, 1. In the chamber of the just. Thou shalt be killed indeed, etc., but that sin shall be expiated through thine obedience, since thou declinest not from the fight for the people of God (Munster). With me: He understands in the same quiet. The Demon claims for himself divine honors. He determines the time, tomorrow; and he insinuates his dignity, with me. Just as Christ did, today thou shalt be with me in paradise[11] (Leo Allatius’ Treatise concerning the Engastrimyth 18). Or, 2. With me; that is, ye shall be dead, like Samuel (Junius, thus Piscator, Malvenda, Estius, Menochius, Lapide). Or, together below, but not in the same part (Lapide, similarly Estius). The Demon makes sport by ambiguity, indicating that Saul in spirit was going to be with the devil himself; which was not true of Jonathan (Piscator). Satan knows how to lie so cunningly, that he sprinkles certain lies with many truths, for which reason we must be cautious, so that we might detect the figments of Satan, lest he impose upon us (Osiander).

With me, that is, in the state of the dead; and so it was true both of Saul and Jonathan. Or, in the state of rest; for though thou shalt suffer here for thy sin, yet after death thou shalt be happy, as dying in the Lord’s quarrel: so the devil’s design might be to flatter Saul into an opinion of his own future happiness, and to take him off from all serious thoughts and cares about it. And it is here observable, that as it was the manner of the heathen oracles to answer ambiguously, the better to save his credit in case of mistake; (the devil himself not being certain of future events, but only conjecturing at what was most likely;) so doth this counterfeit Samuel here. For, as concerning the time, he says tomorrow; which he understood indifferently for the very next day, or for some short time after. And, as concerning the condition, thou shalt be with me; which may be understood either of a good condition, if understood as spoken in the person of Samuel; or of a bad condition, if understood as spoken by an evil spirit; or at least indefinitely of a dead condition, be it good or evil; which last he foresaw by circumstances to be very likely.

[1] Hebrew: וַיֹּ֤אמֶר שְׁמוּאֵל֙ אֶל־שָׁא֔וּל לָ֥מָּה הִרְגַּזְתַּ֖נִי לְהַעֲל֣וֹת אֹתִ֑י וַיֹּ֣אמֶר שָׁ֠אוּל צַר־לִ֙י מְאֹ֜ד וּפְלִשְׁתִּ֣ים׀ נִלְחָמִ֣ים בִּ֗י וֵֽאלֹהִ֞ים סָ֤ר מֵֽעָלַי֙ וְלֹֽא־עָנָ֣נִי ע֗וֹד גַּ֤ם בְּיַֽד־הַנְּבִיאִם֙ גַּם־בַּ֣חֲלֹמ֔וֹת וָאֶקְרָאֶ֣ה לְךָ֔ לְהוֹדִיעֵ֖נִי מָ֥ה אֶעֱשֶֽׂה׃ [2] Hebrew: בְּיַד־הַנְּבִיאִם. [3] Hebrew: וַיֹּ֣אמֶר שְׁמוּאֵ֔ל וְלָ֖מָּה תִּשְׁאָלֵ֑נִי וַיהוָ֛ה סָ֥ר מֵעָלֶ֖יךָ וַיְהִ֥י עָרֶֽךָ׃ [4] 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.” [5] Hebrew: וַיַּ֤עַשׂ יְהוָה֙ ל֔וֹ כַּאֲשֶׁ֖ר דִּבֶּ֣ר בְּיָדִ֑י וַיִּקְרַ֙ע יְהוָ֤ה אֶת־הַמַּמְלָכָה֙ מִיָּדֶ֔ךָ וַֽיִּתְּנָ֖הּ לְרֵעֲךָ֥ לְדָוִֽד׃ [6] Hebrew: לוֹ. [7] Hebrew: בְּיָדִי. [8] See 2 Samuel 2-4. [9] Hebrew: כַּאֲשֶׁ֤ר לֹֽא־שָׁמַ֙עְתָּ֙ בְּק֣וֹל יְהוָ֔ה וְלֹֽא־עָשִׂ֥יתָ חֲרוֹן־אַפּ֖וֹ בַּעֲמָלֵ֑ק עַל־כֵּן֙ הַדָּבָ֣ר הַזֶּ֔ה עָשָֽׂה־לְךָ֥ יְהוָ֖ה הַיּ֥וֹם הַזֶּֽה׃ [10] Hebrew: וְיִתֵּ֣ן יְ֠הוָה גַּ֣ם אֶת־יִשְׂרָאֵ֤ל עִמְּךָ֙ בְּיַד־פְּלִשְׁתִּ֔ים וּמָחָ֕ר אַתָּ֥ה וּבָנֶ֖יךָ עִמִּ֑י גַּ֚ם אֶת־מַחֲנֵ֣ה יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל יִתֵּ֥ן יְהוָ֖ה בְּיַד־פְּלִשְׁתִּֽים׃ [11] Luke 23:43.

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