Counsel from a “Familiar Spirit”?

In 1 Samuel 28 we read the account of Saul seeking counsel from the Lord through a woman with a “familiar spirit”. The story seems to imply that the woman was successful in acquiring the requested communication from Samuel, who was dead. How do we explain this account?

To establish some of the background for this story, we are told early in this same chapter: “Now Samuel was dead, and all Israel had lamented him, and buried him in Ramah, even in his own city. And Saul had put away those that had familiar spirits, and the wizards, out of the land” (1 Samuel 28:3).

It is difficult to determine how long before the death of Saul that Samuel actually died. If we follow the story we are first told about Samuel’s death in 1 Samuel 25. It appears that much of the activity associated with Saul’s pursuit of David took place after the death of Samuel. Commentators indicate that Samuel died between 4 months and up to 2 years before the death of Saul.

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Author: The Advocate

Keywords: Saul and Samuel, Samuel and Saul, Spiritualism, Spirit, Immortal spirit, eternal spirit, undying spirit, undieing spirit, immortal soul, eternal soul, undying soul, immortality of the soul, breath of life, breath, life, life after death, communicating with the dead, communication with the dead, death, sorcerer, medium, seance, familiar spirit, divination, Witch of Endor, Saul and the witch, Speaking to the dead, Conjure, Conjuring, conjuring up the dead, Augury, Seeing the future, Predicting the future, Soothsaying, Soothsayer, Sooth sayer, Sooth saying, Necromancy, Necromancer, Diviner, hepatoscopy, Witchcraft

Bible reference(s): Exodus 22:18, Leviticus 19:31, Leviticus 20:6, Leviticus 20:27, Numbers 22:7, Numbers 23:23, Deuteronomy 18:10, Deuteronomy 18:11, 1 Samuel 28:3, 1 Samuel 28:7-20, 2 Kings 17:17, 2 Kings 21:6, 2 Kings 23:24, 1 Chronicles 10:13, 2 Chronicles 33:6, Isaiah 8:19, Isaiah 19:3, Isaiah 29:4, Jeremiah 14:14, Ezekiel 12:24, Ezekiel 13:6, Ezekiel 13:7, Ezekiel 21:21, Ezekiel 21:22, Ezekiel 21:23, Acts 16:16

Source: “Question Box,” The Christadelphian Advocate.

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