1 Samuel 28

1 After that, the Philistine army met together to fight the Israelites. Achish said to David, ‘You must know that you and your men will join my army.’

2 David said, ‘Yes, I am your servant. You will see what I can do.’

Achish replied, ‘Good. Until you die, you will stay near to me to keep me safe.’

Saul visits a woman who tried to speak with dead people

3 Samuel was dead by this time. All the Israelites had been very sad and they had cried. They buried Samuel in his own town, which was called Ramah. There had been people who tried to speak with dead people in Israel. But Saul had sent them away.

4 The Philistine army came together and they put their tents near the town called Shunem. Saul took the Israelite army and they put their tents by the mountain of Gilboa. 5 Saul saw the Philistine army. He was not happy and he became very afraid. 6 Saul asked the LORD what he should do. But the LORD did not answer him in a dream, or by the Urim or by a prophet. 7 So Saul said to his servants, ‘Go. Find a woman who can talk with dead people. I will go to her. I will ask her what will happen.’

His servants said, ‘There is a woman at the town called Endor who can do that.’

8 Saul changed his clothes. So nobody recognised that he was the king. At night, Saul and two of his men went to see the woman. Saul said, ‘Bring up a certain dead man. Talk to him on my behalf.’

9 But the woman said, ‘You know what King Saul has done. He has removed all the people who try to talk to dead people from Israel. Are you trying to catch me so that you can kill me?’

10 Then Saul said a serious promise to the woman. He said, ‘Nobody will punish you because you have done this. I promise the LORD that nobody will punish you.’

28:10God had said to Israel's people that nobody should try to speak with dead people. And they must kill people who spoke with dead people. And they must kill those who asked spirits for help. (See Deuteronomy 18:10, 11; Leviticus 19:31; 20:6, 27.) Saul had obeyed God when he was first a king.

11 The woman said, ‘Whom should I bring here?’

Saul replied, ‘Bring Samuel.’

12 The woman screamed when she saw Samuel. She said to Saul, ‘You did not say what was true. You are King Saul.’

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

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

14 Saul asked, ‘What kind of person?’

She said, ‘An old man is coming up from the ground. He is wearing a special coat.’

Saul knew that this was Samuel. Saul went on his knees and his face touched the ground.

15 Samuel said, ‘Why have you caused me to come to you? Why have you brought me back?’

Saul said, ‘I have a lot of trouble. The Philistines are fighting against me. God has left me. He will not answer me by the prophets or in dreams. So I have brought you here. Tell me what I should do.’

16 Samuel said, ‘The LORD has left you and he has become your enemy. So I do not know why you brought me up. 17 I told you what the LORD would do. And he has done it. The LORD has taken the kingdom away from you. He has given it to David instead. 18 The LORD has done this to you because you did not obey him. You did not show the Amalekites how the LORD was very angry with them. 19 The LORD will let the Philistines win this fight. Tomorrow you and your sons will be with me. The LORD will also let the Philistines beat the whole Israelite army.’

20 Saul immediately fell on his face to the ground. He was 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, your servant, have obeyed you. I did what you asked me to do. And I might have died because I did it. 22 Please listen to me now. I want to give you some food to eat. Then you will be stronger. And you will be able to travel.’

23 Saul refused and he said, ‘I will not eat.’

But the woman and Saul's servants repeated that he must eat. So Saul did what they said. He got up from the ground and he sat down on a bed.

24 The woman had a fat young cow. She went quickly and she killed it. Then she took some flour and she made some flat bread. 25 She gave the food to Saul and to his men and they ate it. They left her house while it was still night.