1 Samuel 28

1 At that time, the Philistine army joined together to fight against the Israelites. King Achish said to David, ‘I hope you know that you and your men must fight with me in the battle.’

2 David said, ‘Yes, sir. Then you will see how well I can fight!’

Achish replied, ‘Good. Then you will always be my guard to keep me safe.’

King Saul visits a woman who uses magic

3 Samuel had died before this. All the Israelites had been very sad at his death. They had buried him in Ramah, the town where he had lived. When Samuel had been alive, Saul had removed magicians from Israel. Saul removed everyone who used magic to speak to the spirits of dead people.

4 The Philistine army came together and they put up their tents at Shunem. Saul called together the whole Israelite army. They put up their tents at Gilboa. 5 Saul saw the camp of the Philistine army. He became very afraid. 6 Saul asked the Lord what he should do. But the Lord did not answer him in any way. He did not give Saul a dream. He did not use the Urim. He did not give a message to the prophets. 7 So Saul said to his servants, ‘Look for a woman who can talk to dead people. Then I will go and ask her what will happen.’

His servants replied, ‘There is a woman at Endor who can do that.’

8 Saul changed his clothes so that no one would recognize him. At night, Saul and two of his men went to see the woman. Saul said to her, ‘Use your magic to bring up the spirit of a certain dead man. I will tell you his name.’

9 But the woman said to him, ‘You know what King Saul has done. He has removed all the magicians from Israel. Are you using a trap to catch me? Do you want me to die?’

10 Then Saul promised the woman very strongly. He said, ‘As surely as the Lord lives, nobody will punish you if you do this.’

28:10God had said to Israel's people that nobody should try to speak with dead people. They must kill anyone who spoke with dead people. See Deuteronomy 18:10-11; Leviticus 19:31; Leviticus 20:6; Leviticus 20:27. Saul was not obeying God.

11 The woman said, ‘Who is it that you want me to bring for you?’ Saul replied, ‘Bring Samuel to me.’

12 The woman screamed when she saw Samuel. She said to Saul, ‘You have deceived me! You are King Saul!’

13 The king said to her, ‘Do not be afraid. Tell me what you can see.’

She replied, ‘I can see a spirit that is coming up from the ground.’

14 Saul asked, ‘What does he look like?’ She said, ‘I see an old man who is wearing a long coat.’

Saul realized that this was Samuel. He bent down low on his knees with his face towards the ground.

15 Samuel said to Saul, ‘Why have you caused this trouble for me? Why have you brought me back?’

Saul said, ‘I have a lot of trouble. The Philistines are fighting against me. God has turned away from me. He will not use the prophets or give me dreams to answer my questions. So I have called you to come here. Please tell me what I should do.’

16 Samuel said, ‘The Lord has turned away from you and he has become your enemy. So do not ask me what you should do. 17 I told you what the Lord would do. Now he has done it! The Lord has taken the kingdom away from you. He has given it to another Israelite, David. 18 The Lord has punished you today because you did not obey him. The Lord was very angry with the Amalekites. He told you to destroy them all. But you refused to do that. 19 The Lord will put you and the Israelites under the power of the Philistines. Tomorrow you and your sons will be with me in the place for dead people. The Lord will also let the Philistines win against Israel's army.’

20 Saul immediately fell down on the ground and he lay there. He was very afraid because of what Samuel had said. Saul was also very weak because he had eaten nothing all that day and night.

21 Then the woman came to Saul. She saw that he was very afraid. She said, ‘I have obeyed you, sir. I did what you asked me to do. I might have died because I did that. 22 Please listen to me now. I will give you some food to eat. Then you will be strong enough to travel back.’

23 Saul refused and he said, ‘I will not eat.’ But the woman and Saul's servants continued to say that he must eat some food. So Saul agreed. He got up from the ground and he sat down on a bed.

24 The woman had a fat calf at her home. She went quickly and she killed it. Then she took some flour and she cooked some flat bread without yeast. 25 She gave the food to Saul and to his men and they ate it. Then they left her house that night.