Evening Bible Study
anointed to be the first king, but through Saul’s continued disobedience to
God’s commands, God has told Saul that he will no longer king.
anointed the next king, a young man named David.
As God used
David to bring victory over the Philistines, Saul began to grow insanely
jealous, to the point of trying to have David killed.
David is now a man on the run. He’s
been hiding out in the deserts of Judah, moving from place to place as Saul
continues to try and find and kill David.
He’s now even resorted to living on the other side of the border, living
with the Philistines.
Because of David’s move to the Philistines, Saul has finally stopped
David has continued the work God has called him to do – fighting against the
enemies of Israel while the Philistines think he’s fighting Israel.
All along, David has been trusting God to take care of his enemy Saul.
We are now going to see the events that will lead up to the death of Saul,
and the establishing of David as king over Israel.
28:1-15 The Witch
:1 Now it happened in those days that the Philistines gathered their armies
together for war, to fight with Israel. And Achish said to David, “You
assuredly know that you will go out with me to battle, you and your men.”
:2 So David said to Achish, “Surely you know what your servant can do.” And
Achish said to David, “Therefore I will make you one of my chief guardians
– king of the Philistine city of Gath.
David has been living under the protection of Achish now for a little over
Achish is convinced that David is the best thing that’s ever happened to
There is a big battle that is brewing against Israel, and Achish wants
David to fight in the battle at his side.
battle map clip
We’ve been looking at things that have happened in the south in the area of
Judah. Now the focus is going to be up
north towards the Galilee.
The area we’ll be looking at is also known as the Jezreel Valley, where the
Megiddo is and where Armageddon will take place. This is just another of the battles that
would take place in that valley.
The Israelites will be gathering on Mount Gilboa while the Philistines will
be camping at Shunem.
:3 Now Samuel
had died, and all Israel had lamented for him and buried him in Ramah, in his
own city. And Saul had put the mediums and the spiritists out of the land.
:3 Samuel had died
We were told of Samuel’s death back in chapter 25:1.
The writer is simply letting us know that we’re in that same time period.
:3 mediums and the
Again, the writer is setting up the story for us by telling us of something
that Saul has already done.
speak of people who deal with the demonic, either by working with the aid of a
demonic spirit, or in an attempt to contact a dead person.
At some point
in his reign as king, Saul acted in obedience to the Law of Moses, which
outlawed these types of things. (Lev.
NKJV) ‘And the
person who turns to mediums and familiar spirits, to prostitute himself with
them, I will set My face against that person and cut him off from his people.
Last Sunday we
talked about Babylon the “Mother of all harlots”, and how spiritual
unfaithfulness was equated with immorality, just like it is here.
Why are these things wrong?
Is it because we will get bad information?
always. In fact, this is one
reason why people are sucked into these things, because there is a real power
here. Satan is at work and he draws
people in with demonstrations of power and knowledge.
There’s this fellow on TV named John Edward (not the
politician, John Edwards) who
claims to talk to people on the “other side”.
He seems to say some amazing things. Some of it may be a trick, but probably not
all of it.
“John Edward” clip.
He talked about the voices from those on the other side or
his “guides”, which are demonic beings feeding him ideas.
The problem is
that it opens the door to deception. You
start with little bit of truth, and then Satan takes you the wrong direction.
like a counterfeiter giving you a real bill first, then giving you the
counterfeits after you trust him.
worst of all, a person becomes dependent upon Satan instead of God.
The sad thing is that Saul’s upcoming death will partly be due to the fact
that he is consulting a medium, breaking his own law.
10:13–14 NKJV) —13
So Saul died for his unfaithfulness which he had committed against
the Lord, because he did not keep
the word of the Lord, and also
because he consulted a medium for guidance. 14 But he did not inquire of the Lord; therefore He killed him, and
turned the kingdom over to David the son of Jesse.
God is pretty serious about this stuff. It’s pretty dangerous. It will lead you astray and bring your
:4 Then the
Philistines gathered together, and came and encamped at Shunem. So Saul
gathered all Israel together, and they encamped at Gilboa.
Play Gath to Gilboa
The Philistines will be moving northward along the coast from Gath, through
the Megiddo pass, into the Valley of Jezreel, to Shunem.
It’s a mistake to think of Gilboa as a single mountain peak. It’s actually a line of hills. We have already seen Gilboa when we looked at
Gideon’s battle with the Midianites, which took place in the very same area as
this battle will.
:5 When Saul
saw the army of the Philistines, he was afraid, and his heart trembled greatly.
:6 And when Saul inquired of the Lord,
the Lord did not answer him,
either by dreams or by Urim or by the prophets.
Along with the “Thummim”, these stones were kept in a pouch on the
Somehow these stones were used in determining God’s answers to questions.
:6 the Lord did not answer him
In those days, there were three ways that God spoke: Dreams, Urim, or prophets.
For some reason God is not answering Saul.
When God is silent
Is there a reason God is silent?
Sin: Sometimes it’s because there is sin in
our lives that we aren’t dealing with.
59:1–2 NKJV) —1 Behold,
the Lord’s hand is not shortened,
That it cannot save; Nor His ear heavy, That it cannot hear. 2 But your
iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His
face from you, So that He will not hear.
Perhaps God didn’t answer Saul because he had killed the
priests (1Sam. 22)? That might do it.
Saul knows this principle. Back when
Jonathan had taken on the Philistines (1Sam. 14), the Israelites had fought hard all day, and
Saul wondered whether or not to continue the battle.
God was “silent”.
Saul assumed that it must have been because of sin:
(1 Sa 14:38 NKJV) And Saul said, “Come over here, all you chiefs of the people, and
know and see what this sin was today.
Saul decided to figure out who was the one to blame for
God being silent. I came across something in the ESV version this year in this
(1 Sa 14:41 ESV) Therefore Saul said, “O Lord
God of Israel, why have you not answered your servant this day? If this guilt is in me or
in Jonathan my son, O Lord, God
of Israel, give Urim.
But if this guilt is in your people Israel, give Thummim.” And Jonathan and Saul were taken, but
the people escaped.
If you want God
to talk to you, you’ll need to do something with your sin, like “change”.
Peter writes to husbands about their prayer life:
(1 Pe 3:7 NKJV) Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding,
giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs
together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered.
Some suggest this means that if husbands will treat their wives
correctly, that husbands and wives will pray together.
Others suggest this means that God isn’t going to hear the
husband’s prayers if he doesn’t treat his wife properly.
Deal with your sin. The Bible says,
(1 Jn 1:9 NKJV) If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our
sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Jesus can cleanse us from our sins because He died on a
cross to pay for our sins.
we simply need to wait for Him and His time.
Sometimes God is silent because it’s simply not time for us to get an
One of the things we’ve seen in Saul’s life is a tendency to be impatient
When Samuel was alive, Saul had been instructed to wait
for Samuel at Gilgal for seven days, and then Samuel would show up, perform a
sacrifice, and give Saul instructions of what to do. But one time it seemed that Samuel wasn’t
going to show up, and Saul needed to know what to do to fight the Philistines,
so instead of waiting, he jumped ahead of things and got into trouble (1Sam. 13:8-14).
Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, And He shall
strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord!
(Ps 37:7–9 NKJV) —7 Rest in
the Lord, and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret because of him who
prospers in his way, Because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass. 8 Cease from anger,
and forsake wrath; Do not fret—it only causes harm. 9 For evildoers shall be
cut off; But those who wait on the Lord, They shall inherit the earth.
If God isn’t giving you an answer, and you are not aware
of a sin you need to deal with, then the answer most likely is to wait.
:7 Then Saul
said to his servants, “Find me a woman who is a medium, that I may go to her
and inquire of her.” And his servants said to him, “In fact, there is a
woman who is a medium at En Dor.”
:7 a medium at En
We could also
call her a “witch”.
We know quite a bit about En Dor and who lives there. Play Ewok
Our “En Dor” is
not the forest moon from the Star Wars movie.
But at least now you know where George Lucas got the name.
Play En Dor map
Endor is actually on the other side of the Philistines from where Saul is. He has to scoot around the Philistines to get
to En Dor.
Saul had earlier made a law against witchcraft and psychics. Yet now he goes to look for help from the
very things he knows is wrong.
Stay in bounds
Don’t go outside the boundaries. Isaiah rebukes Israel for doing such
NKJV) —19 And when
they say to you, “Seek those who are mediums and wizards, who whisper and
mutter,” should not a people seek their God? Should they seek the
dead on behalf of the living?
Why would we seek answers from dead people, when we can
seek answers from God? It’s probably because we
don’t like what God says.
Paul warns Timothy about people who don’t want to hear the
(2 Ti 4:3–4 NKJV) —3 For the
time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their
own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for
themselves teachers; 4 and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be
turned aside to fables.
:8 So Saul disguised
himself and put on other clothes, and he went, and two men with him; and they
came to the woman by night. And he said, “Please conduct a séance for me, and
bring up for me the one I shall name to you.”
Why is Saul disguising himself?
Probably because he knows he’s doing a bad thing and he doesn’t want
anyone to recognize him.
:8 conduct a séance
The Hebrew speaks
of “divining” (asking questions) with a “familiar spirit” (demons). This is done by “contacting the dead”, but is
often simply connecting with the demon world.
:9 Then the woman
said to him, “Look, you know what Saul has done, how he has cut off the mediums
and the spiritists from the land. Why then do you lay a snare for my life, to
cause me to die?”
The medium is being careful. She
thinks she may be stepping into a trap.
:10 And Saul swore to her by the Lord,
saying, “As the Lord
lives, no punishment shall come upon you for this thing.”
Do you see the irony here?
Saul is swearing in the name of Yahweh that he isn’t going to punish this
medium for breaking the very laws of Yahweh.
:11 Then the woman said, “Whom shall I bring up for you?” And he said,
“Bring up Samuel for me.”
:12 When the woman saw Samuel, she cried out with a loud voice. And the
woman spoke to Saul, saying, “Why have you deceived me? For you are
:12 she cried out
with a loud voice
Apparently this “being” named Samuel tells the witch that the man before
her is King Saul.
Why did the woman cry with a loud voice?
is that she cries out because she realizes that Saul is in front of her, and he
could have her killed.
Another idea is
that she is experiencing something different than what she normally
experienced. This time it’s real.
Some have suggested that she was a fake, as some are who pretend to do
these things. And when she actually sees
something, whether or not it was really Samuel, she’s frightened.
Others have suggested that this woman is used to talking only with demonic
spirits, and if this was actually Samuel’s spirit, she’s blown away to see the
:12 the woman saw
Is this really Samuel?
There are two possible answers to that question.
I believe that most of the time that a person is trying to contact the
“other side”, what they are contacting is simply demons who pretend to be
something. Demons have been around a
long time, know a lot of things, and I don’t think it would be hard for them to
tell someone things that are unique or amazing.
Some people have suggested that this being that is called Samuel is
really a demon.
As uncomfortable as it is to say this, it seems to me that this is exactly
what the text is saying.
through this story, this “thing” is called “Samuel”. The text itself never gives us a reason to
think it is anything but Samuel.
Even though God has forbidden this practice of trying to talk to the dead,
this doesn’t mean that God might not have decided to allow Samuel to give Saul
one last strong message.
Charles Ryrie: “The
medium shrieked with fear when Samuel himself actually appeared, rather than
some spirit that would impersonate him. On this occasion God miraculously
permitted the actual spirit of Samuel to speak and announce Saul's imminent
nothing the “spirit” says is not true. The
predictions come true.
Praying to dead saints
The Roman Catholic
and Orthodox churches have a practice where they pray to the saints in heaven,
asking them to pray for them.
Their thinking goes like this – the book of James says,
(Jas 5:16b NKJV) …The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.
They will say, “There is no one more righteous than the
saints already in heaven, so we ask them to pray for us.”
The problem is
that Jesus taught us to pray differently, addressing our prayers to the Father:
But you, when you
pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place;
and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.
NKJV) In this
manner, therefore, pray: Our Father
in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.
In the book of Acts, we have several prayers recorded by the early church,
and they aren’t praying to saints, they’re praying to God.
We don’t need
any other kind of “mediator” to pray for us.
Jesus is our mediator:
(1 Ti 2:5
NKJV) For there
is one God and one
Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus,
My greatest concern over this practice is that it seems to be contradicting
the very things that our chapter is teaching us – that it’s dangerous to try
and “contact the dead”.
Saul is condemned for this activity.
:13 And the king said
to her, “Do not be afraid. What did you see?” And the woman said to Saul, “I
saw a spirit ascending out of the earth.”
I think the idea is that this woman is in some sort of “altered state of
consciousness” where she is able to see things, but nobody else in the room can
see what she sees.
:14 So he said to her, “What is his form?” And she said, “An old man
is coming up, and he is covered with a mantle.” And Saul perceived that
it was Samuel, and he stooped with his face to the ground and
Even though Saul can’t see Samuel, he bows to the ground anyway, out of respect.
:15 Now Samuel said to Saul, “Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?”
And Saul answered, “I am deeply distressed; for the Philistines make war
against me, and God has departed from me and does not answer me anymore,
neither by prophets nor by dreams. Therefore I have called you, that you may
reveal to me what I should do.”
:16 Then Samuel said: “So why do you ask me, seeing the Lord has departed from you and has
become your enemy?
Pretty heavy stuff to be hearing from Samuel, that God is Saul’s enemy.
:17 And the Lord has done for
Himself as He spoke by me. For the Lord
has torn the kingdom out of your hand and given it to your neighbor, David.
Samuel had warned Saul twice that he was going to lose the kingdom.
And as Samuel turned around to go away, Saul seized
the edge of his robe, and it tore. 28
:18 Because you did not obey the voice of the Lord nor execute His fierce wrath upon Amalek, therefore the Lord has done this thing to you this
:19 Moreover the Lord will
also deliver Israel with you into the hand of the Philistines. And tomorrow you
and your sons will be with me. The Lord
will also deliver the army of Israel into the hand of the Philistines.”
:19 Moreover …
Samuel will now give two specific prophecies of what would happen.
1. Israel is going to lose.
Philistines would win the battle.
2. Saul and his sons will die tomorrow.
Saul fell full length on the ground, and was dreadfully afraid because of the
words of Samuel. And there was no strength in him, for he had eaten no food all
day or all night.
Saul faints because of two things – he’s terrified at what Samuel has said,
and he hasn’t eaten all day.
:21 And the woman came to Saul and saw that he was severely troubled, and
said to him, “Look, your maidservant has obeyed your voice, and I have put my
life in my hands and heeded the words which you spoke to me.
:22 Now therefore, please, heed also the voice of your maidservant, and let
me set a piece of bread before you; and eat, that you may have strength when
you go on your way.”
:23 But he refused and said, “I will not eat.” So his servants, together
with the woman, urged him; and he heeded their voice. Then he arose from the
ground and sat on the bed.
:24 Now the woman had a fatted calf in the house, and she hastened to kill
it. And she took flour and kneaded it, and baked unleavened bread from
:25 So she brought it before Saul and his servants, and they ate.
Then they rose and went away that night.
This woman takes pity on Saul and serves he and his servants supper.
Perhaps she is hoping that he won’t change his mind and kill her.
They leave that night, having this terrifying prophecy hanging over them
that they will be dead before the next night.
Have you ever seen a TV show
or a movie where they keep jumping backward and forward in time? That’s what’s happening here.
We’re now going to back track in time a couple of days, to just before the
Philistines arrive up north at Shunem.
:1 Then the Philistines gathered together all their armies at Aphek, and
the Israelites encamped by a fountain which is in Jezreel.
:1 gathered together all their armies at Aphek
Play Aphek clip.
We’re backtracking from where we’ve been in the valley of Jezreel. We’re looking back to when the five lords of
the Philstines had rendezvoused on their way north to fight Israel.
Aphek is about halfway between Gath and Shunem.
We’re going to see that David never made it as far north as Shunem, and I
think part of the purpose in this is to show that David had absolutely nothing
to do with the death of Saul.
:2 And the lords
of the Philistines passed in review by hundreds and by thousands, but David and
his men passed in review at the rear with Achish.
I wonder what David and his men are thinking right now. They have never been disloyal to their nation
They have lied about who they’ve been fighting with, and they are about to
get caught in their lie.
It’s kind of like one of those movies where a guy promises a girl to go on
a date with her, then somehow has to pull off a date with another girl at the
same time. Sooner or later you know he’s
going to get caught.
:3 Then the princes of the Philistines said, “What are these Hebrews
doing here?” And Achish said to the princes of the Philistines, “Is
this not David, the servant of Saul king of Israel, who has been with me these
days, or these years? And to this day I have found no fault in him since he
defected to me.”
:3 who has been
with me … these years
David has been living with the Philistines, serving Achish, for one year
and four months (1Sam. 27:7).
:4 But the princes
of the Philistines were angry with him; so the princes of the Philistines said
to him, “Make this fellow return, that he may go back to the place which you
have appointed for him, and do not let him go down with us to battle, lest in
the battle he become our adversary. For with what could he reconcile himself to
his master, if not with the heads of these men?
:5 Is this not David, of whom they sang to one another in dances, saying:
‘Saul has slain his thousands, And David his ten thousands’?”
:4 he become our
The Philistine leaders don’t trust David and are afraid that David might
end up fighting against them to get on Saul’s good side.
I tend to think they are probably right.
:5 …they sang to
That old song has come back to haunt David again. This was the song that
got Saul jealous of David in the first place (1Sam. 18:7,8). It was also the song that caused David to not
stay in Gath the first time he came to hide among the Philistines (1Sam. 21:11).
Be careful when they start writing songs about you! Fame is not so glamorous.
:6 Then Achish
called David and said to him, “Surely, as the Lord lives, you have been upright, and your going out and
your coming in with me in the army is good in my sight. For to this day
I have not found evil in you since the day of your coming to me. Nevertheless
the lords do not favor you.
:7 Therefore return now, and go in peace, that you may not displease the
lords of the Philistines.”
:6 as the LORD
I find it interesting that Achish is now using Yahweh’s name.
It’s also kind of strange that he is using Yahweh’s name in regards to something
that is actually false. David has been
lying to Achish.
Is it okay to deceive?
Some would say that David’s end justifies his means.
When David lied to the priests, he got them killed.
This time he lies, gets away with it, and it actually helps him.
Sometimes the stories in the Bible don’t tie up in a pretty bow all neat
The Bible says:
19:11–12 NKJV) —11
‘You shall not steal, nor deal falsely, nor lie to one another. 12 And you
shall not swear by My name falsely, nor shall you profane the name of your God:
I am the Lord.
NKJV) Do not lie
to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds,
This is just a messy situation.
:8 So David said
to Achish, “But what have I done? And to this day what have you found in your
servant as long as I have been with you, that I may not go and fight against
the enemies of my lord the king?”
I wonder if David is really serious here.
He sounds as if he’s hurt, offended that the Philistines don’t trust
So far, David hasn’t been honest with them.
The Philistines think that David has been making raids against the tribe
of Judah, yet he’s been raiding the enemies of Israel instead (1Sam. 27:8-10).
Is David really sore that he can’t help defeat Saul? I don’t think so. I tend to think that the Philistine lords had
David pegged correctly.
:9 Then Achish answered and said to David, “I know that you are as
good in my sight as an angel of God; nevertheless the princes of the
Philistines have said, ‘He shall not go up with us to the battle.’
:9 as an angel of God
That sounds nice. It sounds as if a
pagan man has been impressed with David’s “witness”. Yet David has not been honest with Achish and
David has been living a lie. Achish has
been deceived by David.
:10 Now therefore, rise early in the morning with your master’s servants
who have come with you. And as soon as you are up early in the morning and have
:11 So David and his men rose early to depart in the morning, to return to
the land of the Philistines. And the Philistines went up to Jezreel.
:11 rose early to
God would use the suspicions of the Philistines to keep David from being in
a position to have to choose between fighting for Achish or fighting for Saul
God is not finished
This is a difficult time in David’s life.
He’s been living a lie, telling Achish one thing, but doing another.
And now, just as David is about to get caught into a situation where he is
actually supposed to be fighting against his own people, God moves in such a
way to get David out of the battle.
I think it also gives David his “alibi” in the death of Saul.
It really was the Philistines who would finish Saul.
You may have felt like you’ve been doing nothing but make bad
decisions. God isn’t through with
This doesn’t give us an excuse to make bad decisions. But sometimes God steps in and rescues us
from our own bad choices.
It’s kind of like how Abigail kept David from killing
Nabal and doing a foolish thing.
(Php 1:6 NKJV) being
confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will
complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;