The Witch of
Endor and Samuel (1 Samuel 28)
- 1 Samuel 28:8-15
- The Witch of Endor and Samuel
- This passage is used by Spiritualists to give Scriptural support to
their idea that living people can communicate with the souls of the
- This passage provides evidence for neither "heaven going" not
- Samuel (a righteous man) came "up" out of the earth, not down
from heaven. (vs. 15).
- The witch saw an old man, not an intangible soul. (vs. 14).
- Samuel said, "Why hast thou disquieted me...?" This indicates
that he was not enjoying the bliss of heaven, but rather the sleep
of death. (cf. Job 3:17; Ecc. 9:5,10; Jn. 11 esp. vs. 11,24,25,44).
- Some have suggested that this passage in Samuel is really a fake
seance. The following evidence is usually given:
- The king saw nothing.
- The witch said that she saw an old man with a mantle. (vs. 14).
This was an ambiguous description. Was Samuel the only old man to
wear a mantle?
- Samuel was buried at Ramah, not Endor. (1 Sam. 25:1).
- This explanation, however seemingly plausible, cannot be
accepted because of its inability to explain the predictions made by
Samuel, vs. 19.
- A more convincing explanation to the events in this chapter is the
- God raised Samuel for the occasion in order to rebuke a fool
according to his folly.1
- This accounts for the precise predictions of verses 15-19, as
well as the surprise of the witch (when "she cried with a loud
voice", vs. 12), when suddenly confronted by an unexpected
- Two objections to this explanation must be considered:
- Would God raise Samuel in these circumstances after instructing
Israel: "Regard not them that have familiar spirits, neither seek
after wizards, to be defiled by them, I am the LORD your God"? (Lev.
19:31). God could have used the witch as He did the lying prophet of
Bethel. (1 Kings 13). In so doing, it no more implies sanction to
the witch's activities than it does to Beelzebub in Jesus' allusion,
(Matt. 12:27) or to the belief of the Pharisees in Luke 16:19-31.
- Samuel was buried at Ramah, not at Endor where the resurrection
would have taken place. The rejoinder to this is simply that for
God, there is no more difficulty in reassembling Samuel in Endor
than to transport Philip from the Gaza Road to Azotus. (Acts
- God punished Saul with death. "So Saul died for his transgression
which he committed against the LORD, even against the word of the
LORD, which he kept not, and also for asking counsel of one
that had a familiar spirit, to inquire of it; And inquired
not of the LORD: therefore he slew him, and turned the kingdom unto
David the son of Jesse." (1 Chronicles 10:13-14).