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28 Now[a] in those days the Philistines gathered their forces for war to fight against Israel. So Achish said to David, “Certainly you realize that you must go out with me in the army, you and your men.” David said to Achish, “Very well, you will know what your servant can do.” Achish said to David, “Very well, I will make you my bodyguard[b] for life.”

Saul Inquires of the Medium at Endor

(Now Samuel had died, and all Israel had mourned for him, and they had buried him in Ramah, his own city. And Saul had expelled the mediums[c] and the soothsayers from the land.) Then the Philistines assembled and came and encamped at Shunem, so Saul assembled all Israel, and they encamped at Gilboa. When Saul saw the army of the Philistines, he was afraid and his heart trembled greatly. And Saul inquired of Yahweh, but Yahweh did not answer him, not by dreams or by the Urim[d] or by the prophets. So Saul said to his servants, “Search for me a woman who is a medium[e] so that I may go to her and inquire of her.” His servants said to him, “Look there is a woman who is a medium in Endor.” So Saul disguised himself and put on other clothes, and he went with two of his men.[f] And they came to the woman by night and he said, “Please consult a spirit for me through the ritual pit,[g] and bring up for me the one whom I tell you.” But the woman said to him, “Look, you know what Saul did, how he exterminated the mediums[h] and the soothsayers from the land! Why are you setting a trap for my life to kill me?” 10 Then Saul swore to her by Yahweh, “As Yahweh lives,[i] you will not be punished[j] for this thing.” 11 So the woman asked, “Whom shall I bring up for you?” He said, “Bring up Samuel for me.” 12 When the woman saw Samuel, she cried out with a loud voice, and the woman said to Saul, “Why did you deceive me? You are Saul!” 13 The king said to her, “Do not be afraid! What do you see?” And the woman said to Saul, “I see a god[k] coming up from the ground!” 14 Then he said to her, “What is his appearance?” She said, “An old man is coming up, and he is wrapped in a robe.”[l] Then Saul realized that it was Samuel, and he knelt with his face to the ground and bowed down.

15 Then Samuel said to Saul, “Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?” And Saul said, “I am in distress![m] For the Philistines are about to make war against me, but God has turned away from me, and he does not answer me any more, not by the prophets[n] or by the dreams. So I called to you to let me know what I should do.” 16 Then Samuel said, “Why do you ask me, since Yahweh has turned away from you and has become your enemy? 17 Yahweh has done to you just as he spoke by my hand! Yahweh has torn the kingdom from your hand and has given it to your neighbor, to David. 18 Because you did not obey[o] Yahweh and did not carry out the fierce anger of his wrath[p] against Amalek, therefore Yahweh has done this thing to you today. 19 And Yahweh will also give Israel with you into the hands of the Philistines, and tomorrow you and your sons will be with me, and Yahweh will also give the army of Israel into the hand of the Philistines.” 20 Then Saul immediately fell prostrate[q] to the ground, and he was very afraid because of the words of Samuel; there was no more strength in him, for he had not eaten food all day and all night. 21 Then the woman came to Saul and realized that he was absolutely[r] terrified, so she said to him, “Look, your female servant has obeyed you,[s] and I have risked my life.[t] I have listened to your words that you have spoken to me. 22 So then, you also please listen to the voice of your female servant, and let me set before you a morsel of bread, and you eat so that you will have strength[u] in you when you go on your[v] way.” 23 But he refused and said, “I will not eat!” However, his servants urged him, and the woman also. So he listened to what they said,[w] and he got up from the ground and sat on the bed. 24 Now the woman had a fattened bull calf in the house, so she quickly slaughtered it[x] and took flour, kneaded dough, and baked him some unleavened bread. 25 She brought it before Saul and his servants, and they ate. Then they got up and went away that very night.


  1. 1 Samuel 28:1 Literally “And it happened”
  2. 1 Samuel 28:2 Literally “the keeper of my head”
  3. 1 Samuel 28:3 Or “necromancers”
  4. 1 Samuel 28:6 A device for revealing God’s decisions; see Exod 28:30; Num 27:21; Neh 7:65; Prov 16:33
  5. 1 Samuel 28:7 Literally “a woman of an owner of a spirit of the dead” (= “a woman who owns a ritual pit for summoning spirits of the dead”)
  6. 1 Samuel 28:8 Literally “and two of his men with him”
  7. 1 Samuel 28:8 Literally “the spirit of the dead”
  8. 1 Samuel 28:9 Or “necromancers”
  9. 1 Samuel 28:10 Literally “The life of Yahweh”
  10. 1 Samuel 28:10 Literally “guilt will not meet you”
  11. 1 Samuel 28:13 Or “a divine being”
  12. 1 Samuel 28:14 Literally “he is wrapping himself with a robe”
  13. 1 Samuel 28:15 Literally “Great distress is for me”
  14. 1 Samuel 28:15 Literally “by the hand of the prophets”
  15. 1 Samuel 28:18 Literally “did not listen to”
  16. 1 Samuel 28:18 Literally “face”
  17. 1 Samuel 28:20 Literally “Saul did at once and fell with the fullness of his height”
  18. 1 Samuel 28:21 Hebrew “very”
  19. 1 Samuel 28:21 Literally “has listened to your voice”
  20. 1 Samuel 28:21 Literally “I have put my life in my palm”
  21. 1 Samuel 28:22 Literally “it will be your strength”
  22. 1 Samuel 28:22 Hebrew “the”
  23. 1 Samuel 28:23 Literally “their voice”
  24. 1 Samuel 28:24 Literally “and she did quickly and she slaughtered it”