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Saul and the Witch of Endor

The Biblical Witch of Endor: Contacting the Spirit of a Prophet

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The Witch of Endor is also known as the biblical Medium of Endor. According to legend, she was a medium who apparently summoned the Prophet Samuel's spirit. She is known from the Old Testament but became a part of other traditions too.

A Legend in Ancient Books

The Witch of Endor became an important legend for Judaism, Christianity, and pagan spiritual practitioners. She appears as one of the most mysterious people described in the Old Testament in the First Book of Samuel, chapter 28:3-25.

She also appears in the Jewish Book of Sirach (46:19-20). She is called אֵ֥שֶׁת בַּֽעֲלַת־אֹ֖וב בְּעֵ֥ין דֹּֽור (’êšeṯ ba‘ălaṯ-’ōḇ bə-‘Êndōr), "a woman who has a familiar spirit at Endor" in the Biblical Hebrew language.

She is not named in the passages, but in the rabbinical tradition, she was perhaps the mother of Abner, Saul’s cousin and commander-in-chief of his army. She could also have been Sedecla, the daughter of a priest of Madian. Her name was connected with the Canaanite village Endor (or En Dor, Ein Dor), which was located in the Jezreel Valley in Lower Galilee, Israel.

Saul was the legendary first king of a United Kingdom of Israel and Judah. His reign is tentatively dated to the late 11th century BC. Both Saul and the Witch of Endor appear as historical persons, not just legends.

Witch of Endor by Nikolai Ge, 1857. ( Public Domain )

It is said in the Bible that when Samuel died his body was buried in Ramah, five miles north-west of Jerusalem. The new king of Israel was Saul. He looked to God’s wisdom to choose the right path in his struggle with the Philistines. He wanted to solve the problem and take action against their assembled forces.

Saul didn't receive any answers from his dreams, the prophets he asked, or other places. He asked all the possible necromancers and magicians who lived in and around Israel. He was looking for a person who was a strong medium. Finally, he discovered the existence of a woman who lived in Endor. She claimed that she could see the ghost of Samuel.

As the Bible says:

Then said Saul unto his servants, Seek me a woman that hath a familiar spirit that I may go to her, and enquire of her. And his servants said to him, Behold, there is a woman that hath a familiar spirit at Endor. And Saul disguised himself, and put on other raiment, and he went, and two men with him, and they came to the woman by night: and he said, I pray thee, divine unto me by the familiar spirit, and bring me him up, whom I shall name unto thee. And the woman said unto him, Behold, thou knowest what Saul hath done, how he hath cut off those that have familiar spirits, and the wizards, out of the land: wherefore then layest thou a snare for my life, to cause me to die?

Saul and the Witch of Endor (1635) by Matthias Stom. ( Public Domain )

The ghost first complained of being disturbed, but with time, he started to collaborate with the Witch of Endor. He left a prophecy saying that Saul was going to perish with his army in a battle the next day.

Saul was shocked, but he decided not to listen to the words of the ghost. The Witch of Endor tried to cheer him up, but perhaps hoped that he would listen to the wise ghost. Unfortunately, Saul decided to attack the enemy and his army was defeated. After the battle, the king committed suicide.

A “Ventriloquist”

The story of the Witch of Endor survived through the Jews, Christians, and Pagans. Her story was celebrated in the medieval Jewish text Yalkut Shimoni , but also appeared in many Christian texts. For centuries the bishops debated about the theological reasons for the popularity of this story. The most worrying was the case of using magic by the woman.

Saul and the Witch of Endor in a 15th century manuscript. ( Public Domain )

In the 2nd century BC, in the Septuagint, they described her as ''ventriloquist'', which perhaps reflected the trend of the Alexandrian translators, who were responsible for describing the story. The base of all the stories seems to be the quote:

And Saul swore to her by the LORD, saying, As the LORD liveth, there shall no punishment happen to thee for this thing. Then said the woman, whom shall I bring up unto thee? And he said, bring me up Samuel. And when the woman saw Samuel, she cried with a loud voice: and the woman spoke to Saul, saying, why hast thou deceived me? For thou art Saul. And the king said unto her, Be not afraid: for what sawest thou? And the woman said unto Saul, I saw gods ascending out of the earth. And he said unto her, what form is he of? And she said, an old man cometh 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 bowed himself.

Saul and the Witch of Endor (1777) by Benjamin West. ( Public Domain )

According to Josephus, who lived in the 1st century, the story was completely credible. The story of the Witch of Endor was also interesting for Martin Luther and John Calvin, who mentioned her in their works. In some medieval works, the authors wondered if she was a demon. For pagans, she became an example of an ancient witch.

The Influence of the Witch of Endor

The Witch of Endor became a popular motif for fans of fantasy art and many people related to religious and non-religious trends. She is known as one of the first legendary women connected with witchcraft. Some specialists in religion suggest that she could also be considered a prophet. Her story influenced the imagination of many artists and writers.

Saul and the Witch of Endor (1526) by Jacob Cornelisz van Oostsanen. ( Public Domain )

Throughout the ages, many things have been inspired by the legendary witch. New versions of the story have also appeared quite often. For example, in the 16th century, the writer Gillaume du Bartas suggested in his influential poem about the creation of the world, La Semaine that the Witch of Endor used a “flambeau” made from the fat of her own son in the necromantic arts .

She also appears in a number of other tales, novels, and poems. The Witch of Endor was honored with a special place in the Star Wars saga as well. The planet where the Ewoks live is called Endor.

Top Image: Saul and the Witch of Endor (1828) by William Sidney Mount. Source: Public Domain

By Natalia Klimczak

References:

G. Vermes, The Resurrection, 2008.

E. Klostermann (ed.), Orígenes, Eustathius von Antiochien und Gregor von Nyssa über die Hexe von Endor, 1912

http://biblelight.net/witch_of_endor.htm

https://www.biblegateway.com/resources/all-women-bible/Witch-Endor

Comments

Hi All,

It's taken a bit to write a stint on this Subject of the witch of Endor it wasn't till it became a Jeopardy question; that I learned Star Wars creator, incorporated the name Endor, as the Homeworld for the Ewoks, addressed in The Bible.

Just wanted to share that I've re-watched an Episode of Finding your Root's hosted by Dr. Henry Louis Gates. Jr since this Pandemic PBS has been playing a lot of documentaries and other educational programs to ease tensions.

Of course I enjoyed watching Dr. Gates Finding your Root's. They replayed an episode about this Hollywood Producer of iconic 70's Comedies, Norman Lear who happens to be 100% Jewish.

I kid you not the research Team on the Segment; showed Abraham's DNA Blue Print let me tell you it was a thing of beauty. That wasn't half of it Norman Lear is an Ancestor of the branch Levi in Israel.

Some people are familiar with The Tribes of Israel, others not so much.

Levi was the 3rd Son of Israel and Leah, grandson of Isaac and Rebekkah, Great-grandson of Abraham and Sarah.

As for Abraham and Sarah; they are the Great-grandchildren to Shem whom we get the Word Semite from, it was away in the Ancient World, of identifying who your Tribe was a different version of possessing an Identification Card or Passport of some kind.

The Tribe of Levi according to The Bible; was ordained by the Ancient of Day God the Father to be his Pastor's, Spiritual Counselors, Ministers, an prophet's & Prophetess. In fact all of God's prophet's/Prophetess came out of the Tribe of Levi with the exception for 5 separate occasions God chose other prophet's from with Israel.

As a rule The Levities were never too own Land; because they were ordained in the Services for God, whatever the Levi's received came from God. Aaron, Miriam and Moses are of the Tribe of Levi to which Norman Lear is cousins too biologically.

Norman Lear is a Kotathite through Korah a son of Levi, they were selected by God to Carry His Ark of the Covenant Chest on their Shoulders. Speaking of prophet's the last Levite Prophet is John the Baptist.

Norman Lear's cousin 2000 years and counting I forgot this is the best part of all because John the Baptist, was Jesus' Earthly biological cousin this means through Levi, Norman Lear is Jesus' cousin by about 2000 Year's.

If one is familiar with The Bible that's a thing of Joy for some of Us.

Why'd I mention Finding your Root's hosted by Dr. Gates on PBS? I felt it was important before discussing this witch or medium the hundreds of different variations on who the witch of Endor could have been.

There is no question that Bible Verses in Exodus, Leviticus, Number's and Deuteronomy expressly forbid the practice of Medium's having familiar spirits, divination, Sorcery, Wizard's (I'm attempting a joke J.K. Rowling's has a lot of explaining to do before St. Peter).

I think human wise we can all agree The Bible, itself is The Book of No.

Why is God dead set against these forbidden arts the answer lies with a certain Biblical Book Enoch.

I won't dwell on the Enoch Book this time but, if anyone's interested they might want too search out an read
Enoch 1: The Book of The Watcher's Free online, I'd go through Google.

Explaining King Saul ill-fated meeting one has too understand what led Him to the point of seeking The Witch of Endor in the first place.

Fault could lie with assembly of Israel once their Judge, Prophet, and important Chiefly duties at the Tabernacle of The Lord where The Ark resided Samuel reached a Ripe Age they felt once dead no one could lead them so they felt they wanted a King despite God was Their King.

Too his credit Samuel tried talking Israel as a whole what was at stake with that request for a King but, they rejected the divinely inspired wisdom from God through Samuel so The Bible says In God's Anger He Gave The People A King.

God's Anger He Gave The People Saul out of the littlest Tribe of all Israel Benjamin whose name meant Son of my Right Hand but, were all genetically Left Handed.

Saul started out well but, then Saul hit two snags as King of all Israel He wanted His own way and began ignoring God's Commands through The Prophet Samuel.

Samuel tried teaching Saul who attempted to placate God through frivolous gestures with animal sacrifice; until, Samuel told Saul, that God favors Obedience more than any Sacrifice.

As an consequence God removed the Monarchy from Saul's Family No Child of Saul's would sit on the throne. Second consequence God gave Israel to someone else worthy to sit on Israel's throne. Third Consequence an in my opinion the deadliest consequence of all God removed His Spirit from Saul, and in God's place came Evil-spirits to disturb Him; thus the one anointed by God, a soldier equivalent to Joshua of the people Ephraim, or Caleb of King David's people Judah (this is strictly Biblical Perspective), then became an agent an Soldier of Satan God's protections was No Longer with Saul.

There are Dimensions, portals, entrances, exits that have been closed off to the Adversary so He has No Access in to Heaven an so God could not allow Saul an edge wise in to Heaven with Saul's prayers for Help.

It was too late the Door was closed off thus Saul resorted to conferring with The Witch of Endor.

In another twist to King Saul's interaction with this Woman in Endor (seriously what is it with Jezreel?) King Saul wasn't speaking too Samuel in the First Place; He was talking to an Evil-Spirit that had the Form of Samuel.

That's what people miss with this testimony in The Bible.

The first Medium in The Bible; is that Serpent whose True name was Gadreel; A Fallen Angel within the Ranks of Satan's Army (I'm aware other people don't share that view). That name Gadreel, I learned from reading Enoch.

Going back too what I said earlier that wasn't Samuel, King Saul was speaking too. It's one of the Main Reasons God forbids Mediums, Sorcerers/Sorceress, Witches, Wizard's that is Satan's weapons the arts people mess with.

In the Book of Act's Apostle Paul took on a Sorcerer the interesting thing the Apostle speaking with the power of the Full-Spirit of Christ He got God too Blind the Man for a Year so He would repent of his Sins to the Lord not just the Sorcery.

Honestly it may not have happened if he hadn't tried interfering with his Lordships Quest to learn more of the mysterious risen Savior Jesus.

The Sorcerer was coming between the Heavenly Father and his potential Child in the New Faith of Christ. Old Testament Days God upped and executed people when doing that.

In closing I hope I haven't confused anyone in this discussion about that Witch of Endor and King Saul. The Death of Saul brought in the reign of King David.

It should be Noted the reason why David was chosen by God to be King instead of Saul. if it came time to discipline David committing Sins He would accept the Punishment from God as Just an Not Rebel, like He eventually did in the case of Uriah the Hittie & His Wife Bathsheba.

Let me tell you David lost big with that punishment. Did you know David had bouts of depression right even unto his Death because of His Sinning with Bathsheba, one can read the change in the Scriptures pertaining too David.

Let's see what befell King David Four Dead son's.

1st the Infant son birthed by Bathsheba, died from bout of illness, Shemeiah David's Nephew plotted with his Son Ammon and advised trickery so that Ammon wound up raping his half sister Tamar.

Revenge filled Absalom killed Ammnon for the crime that David did not and would not punish Him for.

Turns out according to verses from Deuteronomy the Killing of Ammon by Absalom was justified and sanctioned by God through Moses on Mt. Sinai, in the Tables of The Law.

Ammon committed the Sin of Incest against his unwilling half-sister.

Absalom after being gone (did I happen too mention the depression David was in after His Sins with Bathsheba?), comes back arranged by dear cousin Joab who assisted David with The Murder of Uriah the Hittite, to come back in to the family fold.

Then David makes all new mistakes when dealing with Absalom, It's a very, very bad idea too leave and impressionable Prince by himself.

Stewing over the injustice of everything probably didn't help his half-sister Tamar the forgotten victim in the whole mess was living with Him for Safety; but David was so crippled with his Depression from Sinning with Bathsheba.

What a pile of mistakes. Anticipating trouble in the form of a Coo instigated by Absalom was far from King David's mind.

Joab left with little options executed Absalom Himself; after all the Prince made Joab look bad. That numbers for David 3rd Son Dead.

This is all a result of the Punishment from God because of Bathsheba and Uriah.

4th Son dies mercifully David's not alive too see it; King Solomon has Joab and Adijonah executed surprise twist Absaloms Full Brother Adijonah attempted to stage a Coo.

Wow it's like a Biblical Game of Thrones accept with the miracle of PBS an The Educational Program hosted by
Dr. Henry Louis Gates. Jr Finding your Root's I can't wait when He fine's someone that is 100% Jewish in the branch of Judah, how exciting that would be.

Caleb, King David, King Solomon, and Jesus out of the bloodline of Judah.

I figured since I opened this discussion with Finding your Root's, Norman Lear and Abraham's DNA Blue Print that I might as well end with it regarding Judah. How cool is that too find Levi, and what do you know Samuel is of Levi too.

Time for me too go thanks for glancing at my attempts to address King Saul and The Witch of Endor an again what is it with Jezreel? Until, next time Everyone, Goodbye!

Take a chill pill man it's a fairy story just like the Bible

Please turn to Leviticus 19:31. 20: 27.

God chose David to be next king, Saul was jealous, tries to kill David. 1 samuel 19. David spares Saul twice. Betraying against God, Saul's fate to lose his battle is sealed, being desperate he pursues a witch. Then Samuel rises and reminds him of his fate that he will lose his life. God demands for man to consult him, through chosen priest or chosen prophet, only. Any other way is deemed wicked, Ungodly. 1 Samuel 28:9. Saul cut off the spiritists from the land.. Now he consults one ??
1 Samuel 14:24.

Read all chapters 14 through 31.

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