Winners and Losers: Part 26 - The Witch at Endor

Kathy's Sunday School Lessons - Written for Young Boys and Girls by Kathryn Capoccia

© Copyright Kathryn Capoccia 2001. This file may be freely copied, printed out, and distributed as long as copyright and source statements remain intact, and that it is not sold.

I.  Who Was She? 1SA 28:7-25.


            A. What was her name? Her name is not mentioned (1SA 28:7ff; see PRO 10:7).


B. Where did she live? She lived at Endor, a town about 6 miles northwest of Jerusalem, and 10 miles from Gilboa (Saul’s camp).


C. When did she live? She lived in the time of the latter reign of Saul, 1st king of Israel, about 1010 B.C.


D. Who were her people? Unknown.


II. What Did She Do?


            A. She practiced divination.


1. Definitions:


a.  “Divination is the practice of consulting beings (divine, human, or departed) or things (by observing objects or actions) in the attempt to gain information about the future and such other matters as are removed from normal knowledge,” The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible, © 1975, vol.2 , pg.146.


b. “Witch”: N. from wiccian, to use sorcery: “ A person supposed to have supernatural power by a compact with the devil or evil sprits, a sorcerer or sorceress.” V. from witched: “To cause , bring, effect, etc. by witchcraft; to put a magic spell on; to charm, fascinate”, Webster’s New Twentieth Century Dictionary, pg. 2100.


c. “Witchcraft”: “The power or practices of witches”, Webster’s, pg. 2100.


d. “Sorcery”: “The supposed use of an evil supernatural power over people and their affairs: witchcraft: black magic”, Webster’s, pg. 1732.


e. “Magic”: “The pretended art of producing effects or controlling effects by charms, spells, and rituals supposed to govern certain natural or supernatural forces”, Webster’s, pg. 1083.


f. “Occult”: L. occultus, concealed- from celare, to conceal; “Secret: esoteric; designating certain mystic arts or studies, such as magic, alchemy, astrology, etc.”, Webster’s, pg. 1237.


2. Practice: She was a medium: “A woman who is a medium… (lit., ‘the mistress or possessor of a conjuring spirit’; medium means “bottle”, spiritist means “familiar spirit”)”, 1SA 28:7.


            a. She consulted the dead through a “familiar spirit”


*This meant that she was one of two things:


1) She was possessed by a spirit which contacted the spirits of the departed, or,


2) She was a charlatan who pretended to have access to supernormal spiritual power.




                        1) God condemned divination:


a) LEV 19:26, “Do not practice divination and sorcery”.


b) LEV 19:31, “Do not turn to mediums or seek out spiritists, for you will be defiled by them.”


c) LEV 20:6, “I will set my face against the person who turns to mediums and spiritists to prostitute himself by following them, and I will cut him off from his people”.


d) LEV 20:27, “A man or woman who is a medium or spiritist among you must be put to death. You are to stone them; their blood will be on their own heads.”


e) ISA 8:19, “When men tell you to consult mediums and spiritists, who whisper and mutter, should not a people inquire of their God? Why consult the dead on behalf of the living?”


f) DEU 18:10-12, “Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist, or who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the LORD…”


g) 2CH 33:6, “He [Manasseh] sacrificed his sons in the fire in the Valley of Ben Hinnom, practiced sorcery, divination and witchcraft, and consulted mediums and spiritists. He did much evil in the sight of the LORD, provoking Him to anger”.


                                                2) Saul had outlawed mediums


a) 1SA 28:3, “Saul had expelled the mediums and spiritists from the land”.


b) 1SA 28:9,10, Saul punished remaining mediums with death in accordance with LEV 20:27.


                                    c. WHY DID GOD CONDEMN DIVINATION?


*God is a Holy and Jealous God and He demands devotion and holiness from His people. Divination was evil because:


                                                1) It defiled the practitioner (LEV 19:31).


                                                2) It caused him/her to become an idolater (LEV 20:6).


3) It made him/her become detestable to God (DEU 18:10-12) .


4) It caused him/her to be cease to be blameless (DEU 18:13).


                                                5) It causes God to be provoked to anger.


            B. She practiced divination for Saul.


1. How did she “bring up” Samuel’s spirit? The Scriptures are silent on how or what she did; however, she communicated with an apparition of some kind and learned that Saul was her customer.


                        2. Did she really contact Samuel?


                        *There are four possibilities:


a. She saw the real Samuel whom she expected to see (but she shouted at Saul when she saw Samuel).


b. She saw the real Samuel whom she did not expect to see (this implies that she may have been a charlatan and that this experience was a miracle from God).


c. She saw the spirit who controlled and deceived her and who looked like Samuel.


d. She saw an evil spirit masquerading as Samuel who came to deceive Saul.


                        Which one was it?


*The early Church held that this appearance was a demonic deception because God had forbidden necromancy. Modern scholars believe it was truly a miracle of God for His own purposes because:


1) The spirit looked like Samuel and was called Samuel (VS. 13,14).


2) The spirit rebuked Saul for not accepting God’s chastening silence and reminded Saul that he had forfeited his kingdom through the type of disobedience in which he was presently engaged with the medium.


3) The spirit predicted Saul’s death and the defeat of Israel, which came to pass.




HEB 9:27 says that, “Man is destined to die once and after that to face judgment”, and LUK 16:23-26 says that the wicked are confined in the agony of Hades so that they are unable to leave.


            C. She appeased Saul but did not renounce her divination (1SA 28:21-25).


*The medium had just been part of a revelatory interview yet she seemed unaffected by it; nowhere does it say that her heart was opened to discern sin or godliness. Her greatest concern was her own safety.


1. She reminded Saul of his promise of impunity.


2. She attended to Saul’s bodily needs:


            a. She went to Saul in his distress.


b. She urged Saul to eat to be strengthened.


            c. She prepared ceremonial food for Saul and his men.


            d. She served Saul and the men.


3. She was left unharmed and apparently unchanged (1SA 28:25).




III. What Can We Learn From Her?


A. There may be real or only apparent power in occult practices but God is in final control over all things.


B. God expects His children to obey Him and to remain untainted by any form of witchcraft or divination.


            C. Those who practice divination will be deceived and enslaved by it.


 Added to Bible Bulletin Board's "Kathy Capoccia's Sunday School Lessons for Young Adults" by:

Tony Capoccia
Bible Bulletin Board
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