1 Samuel 28

* Achish puts confidence in David, Saul's fear. (1-6) Saul

consults a witch at Endor. (7-19) Saul's terror. (20-25)

1-6 David could not refuse Achish without danger. If he

promised assistance, and then stood neuter, or went over to the

Israelites, he would behave with ingratitude and treachery. If

he fought against Israel, he would sin greatly. It seemed

impossible that he should get out of this difficulty with a

clear conscience; but his evasive answer, intended to gain time,

was not consistent with the character of an Israelite indeed.

Troubles are terrors to the children of disobedience. In his

distress, Saul inquired of the Lord. He did not seek in faith,

but with a double, unstable mind. Saul had put the law in force

against those that had familiar spirits, #Ex 22:18|. Many seem

zealous against, sin, when they are any way hurt by it, who have

no concern for the glory of God, nor any dislike of sin as sin.

Many seem enemies to sin in others, while they indulge it in

themselves. Saul will drive the devil out of his kingdom, yet

harbours him in his heart by envy and malice. How foolish to

consult those whom, according to God's law, he had endeavoured

to root out!
7-19 When we go from the plain path of duty, every thing draws

us further aside, and increases our perplexity and temptation.

Saul desires the woman to bring one from the dead, with whom he

wished to speak; this was expressly forbidden, #De 18:11|. All

real or pretended witchcraft or conjuration, is a malicious or

an ignorant attempt to gain knowledge or help from some

creature, when it cannot be had from the Lord in the path of

duty. While Samuel was living, we never read of Saul's going to

advise with him in any difficulties; it had been well for him if

he had. But now he is dead, "Bring me up Samuel." Many who

despise and persecute God's saints and ministers when living,

would be glad to have them again, when they are gone. The whole

shows that it was no human fraud or trick. Though the woman

could not cause Samuel's being sent, yet Saul's inquiry might be

the occasion of it. The woman's surprise and terror proved that

it was an unusual and unexpected appearance. Saul had despised

Samuel's solemn warnings in his lifetime, yet now that he hoped,

as in defiance of God, to obtain some counsel and encouragement

from him, might not God permit the soul of his departed prophet

to appear to Saul, to confirm his former sentence, and denounce

his doom? The expression, "Thou and thy sons shall be with me,"

means no more than that they shall be in the eternal world.

There appears much solemnity in God's permitting the soul of a

departed prophet to come as a witness from heaven, to confirm

the word he had spoken on earth.
20-25 Those that expect any good counsel or comfort, otherwise

than from God, and in the way of his institutions, will be as

wretchedly disappointed as Saul. Though terrified even to

despair, he was not humbled. He confessed not his sins, offered

no sacrifices, and presented no supplications. He does not seem

to have cared about his sons or his people, or to have attempted

any escape; but in sullen despair he rushed upon his doom. God

sets up a few such beacons, to warn men not to stifle

convictions, or despise his word. But while one repenting

thought remains, let no sinner suppose himself in this case. Let

him humble himself before God, determined to live and die

beseeching his favour, and he will succeed.

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