Verse 25. "They rose up, and went away that night." - The transactions of this chapter occupy one night only. 1. Saul came by night to En-dor, ver. 8. 2. He consulted the woman, and had his conference with Samuel the same night; for no time whatever appears to have been lost after his arrival at En-dor. 3. He was overcome by the heavy tidings which he heard; and which for a time appear to have deprived him of all power. 4.
The woman kills a calf; dresses a part; makes and bakes bread; and Saul and his servants eat. And, 5. They rose and went away that night, ver. 25. The next day, in all probability, the battle happened in which Israel was defeated, and Saul and his sons lost their lives.
THERE is a considerable diversity of opinion, both among learned and pious men, relative to the subject mentioned in this chapter, that of raising Samuel from the dead. Some deny the possibility of the thing, and say that it was the devil that personified Samuel; and others, that the whole was the imposition of this cunning woman, and that there was no supernatural agency in the business. This is not a proper place to argue the point. I have given my opinion in the notes. I may sum up in a few particulars.
1. I believe there is a supernatural and spiritual world, in which HUMAN spirits, both good and bad, live in a state of consciousness.
2. I believe there is an invisible world, in which various orders of spirits, not human, live and act.
3. I believe that any of these spirits may, according to the order of God, in the laws of their place of residence, have intercourse with this world, and become visible to mortals.
4. I believe there is a possibility, by arts not strictly good, to evoke and have intercourse with spirits, not HUMAN; and to employ, in a certain limited way, their power and influence.
5. I believe that the woman of En-dor had no power over Samuel; and that no incantation can avail over any departed saint of God, nor indeed over any human disembodied spirit.
6. I believe Samuel did actually appear to Saul; and that he was sent by the especial mercy of God to warn this infatuated king of his approaching death, that he might have an opportunity to make his peace with his Maker.
7. I believe that the woman found, from the appearances, that her real or pretended charms had no effect; and that what now took place came from a totally different disposition of things from those with which she was conversant.
8. I believe that direct, circumstantial, and unequivocal oracles were now delivered concerning things which neither human nor diabolical wisdom could foresee or penetrate; that the defeat of the Israelites, and the death of Saul and his three sons on the following day, were matters which, from their nature, could only be known to God himself; and that no demon or bad spirit could be employed in such a transaction.