The Woman of Endor

Bible Study for June 11, 2016

Background:  Saul was instructed to “Go and completely destroy those wicked people, the Amalekites; make war on them until you have wiped them out (I Samuel 15:18).  Samuel told him: Why did you not obey the Lord?  Why did you pounce on the plunder and do evil in the eyes of the lord? “But I did obey the Lord, Saul said.   Saul’s explanation was:  The Soldiers took the sheep and cattle from the plunder, the best of what was devoted to God, in order to sacrifice them to the Lord your God of Gilgal ( I Samuel 15:19 and 15:21).  Saul replied, “I have sinned.  I violated the Lord’s command and your instructions.  I was afraid of the people and so I gave in to them (I Samuel 15:24).  But Samuel said to him (Saul), I will not go back with you.  You have rejected the word of the Lord, and the Lord has rejected you as King over Israel! (I Samuel 15:26).

Her character: Compassionate to Saul on the eve of his death, she exercised power by acting as a medium.

Her sorrow: To have delivered a hopeless message to Israel’s king.

Key Scriptures: 1 Samuel 28:3-25

  1. “Please,” the voice insisted, “consult a spirit for me, and bring up for me the one I name.”  This was Saul’s request out of desperation to the Woman of Endor.  In his desperation Saul turns to a pagan practice that he himself had previously outlawed. Saul’s desperation must have been very great for him to consult with a medium to dabble in the occult.
  2. Right from the start, God commended his people not to have anything to do with witch craft in any form.  “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.” Leviticus 20:27).
  3. “Surely you know what Saul has done. He has cut off the mediums and spiritists from the land. Why have you set a trap for my life to bring about my death?” she replied.  The woman is very cautious about practicing her trade with strangers lest she be betrayed to Saul.  Cut off refers to expelled is used in verse 3; possibly a euphemism for “put to death.”
  4. Then the woman asked, “Whom shall I bring up for you?” “Bring up Samuel,” he said.  This was Saul’s reply to the question asked by The Woman of Endor.
  5. The same Saul who refused to heed Samuel’s prophetic words when he was alive now disobeyed the very laws he had put into effect in order to hear Samuel one last time.
  6. So the woman sat down and yielded herself, making her soul a bridge for the dead to    walk across.
  7. When the woman saw Samuel, She cried out at the top of her voice and said to Saul, “Why have you deceived me? You are Saul!” The episode has been understood in many different ways, among them the following:  1. God permitted the spirit of Samuel to appear to the woman.  2.  The woman had contact with an evil spirit in the form of Samuel by whom she was deceived and controlled.  3.  By using parapsychological powers such as telepathy or clairvoyance, the woman was able to discern Saul’s thoughts and picture Samuel in her own mind.  As Samuel had previously announced (15:26, 28), because of Saul’s unfaithfulness to the Lord, death from the impending battle would come; and his hopes of a dynasty would be dashed and his reign would conclude with a devastating defeat of Israel to the Philistines’.
  8. “An old man wearing a robe is coming up,” she said.  These words are Woman of Endors      interpretation of Samuel appearing.
  9. Samuel said to Saul, “Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?” In an answer to Samuel’s question; Saul admitted that he was in great distress, because God had turned away from him and that God no longer answers him.
  10. Samuel said, “Why do you consult me, now that the Lord has turned away from you and become your enemy? The Lord has done what he predicted through me. The Lord has torn the kingdom out of your hands and given it to one of your neighbors—to David.  Tomorrow you and your sons will be with me. The Lord will also hand over the army of Israel to the Philistines.”
  11. The woman shuddered, the message delivered. Little wonder the king had seemed so desolate. Fear had crushed the life out of his once-strong face, hollowing the eyes, etching deep lines across cheeks and forehead.
  12. Taking pity, she spoke to him: “Look, your maidservant has obeyed you. I took my life in my hands and did what you told me to do. Now please listen to your servant and let me give you some food so you may eat and have the strength to go on your way.”
  13. Kindly, she served what may have been Saul’s last meal. The next day he was dead. Wounded in battle, he fell on his own sword, determined to finish the job before his enemies could reach him. True to form, Saul, who had always tried to control his destiny, controlled even the manner of his death. But he could not control what happened next. Discovering his body, the Philistines celebrated by severing his head and hanging it in the temple of their god. Then they tacked his naked corpse to the walls of a nearby town as a trophy. Israel’s first king had become a gruesome spectacle.
  14. The aged monarch tried desperately to find some advice or guidance from other prophets or priests, but the Lord would not speak to him. As a young man, Saul had been close to God. But after ascending the throne, he became cruel and rebelled against God’s Word. Once he even had a whole village of priests murdered. King Saul had persistently New International Version (NIV)

Women of the Bible, 52 Bible Studies for Individuals and Groups, Copyright © 1999, 2002 by Anne Spangler and Jean Syswerda by Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49530

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide

biblegateway.com/devotionals/women-of-the-bible/2014/05/19 This devotional is drawn from Women of the Bible: A One-Year Devotional Study of Women in Scripture by Ann Spangler and Jean Syswerda. Used with permission.

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Michal -22 Points for Bible Study, April 16, 2016

Key Scriptures:  I Samuel 18:20-29; 19:11-17; 2 Samuel 6:16-23.

  1. Her name means: ” Who is like God?”
  2. Her Character:  A woman of strong emotions, she was unable to control the important circumstances of her life.  Forcibly separated from two husbands, she lost her father and her brother, who were savaged by their enemies.
  3. Michal was the younger daughter of King Saul.  “Saul’s sons were Johnathan,  Ishvi, and Malki-Shua.  The name of his older daughter was Merab, and that of the younger daughter was Michal.” (I Samuel 14:49)
  4. Michal’s mother name was not found.  His, (King Saul’s) wife’s name was Ahinoam daughter of Ahimaaz. (I Samuel 14:50). There was no indication that Ahinoam was Michal’s mother.
  5. David enters the scene as a musician/harpest, who became Saul’s armor-bearer. ( I Samuel 16:14-23)
  6. The Philistines were at war with the Israelites, Goliath was terrifying the Israelites with his stature, his taunts, and his record as a champion warrior. ( I Samuel 17: 1-16, 23-25)
  7. It was reported to David by the Israelites: ” The king will give great wealth to the man who kills him(Goliath).  He will also give him his daughter in marriage and exempt his father’s family from taxes in Israel.”(I Samuel 17:25-27)
  8. King Saul promised his oldest daughter, Merab, to David in marriage if he agreed to fight the Philistines, He wished for David to be killed by the Philistines because he had become jealous/afraid of David. (See I Samuel 18: 6-19).
  9. David refused to become King Saul’s son-in-law at that time. (I Samuel 18:18
  10. Saul gave the older daughter to someone else in marriage. (1 Samuel 18:19).
  11. Michal loved David (I Samuel 18:20-30), which pleased her father.  This is reported to be  ” the only instance in all biblical narrative in which we are explicitly told that a woman loves a  man”( The Art of Biblical Narrative, p. 118; cf. similarly Adele Berlin, “Characterization in Biblical Narrative: David’s Wives,” JSOT 23 (1982).
  12. Michal was used by her father, King Saul to ensnare David, which backfired. ( I Samuel  18:28-29).
  13. Michal’s brother becomes an ally for David. (I Samuel 19:1-8.)
  14. Michal warned David and helped him escape when Saul sent men to David’s house to kill him. (I Samuel 19:11 – 17).
  15. ” Saul said to Michal, ” Why did you deceive me like this and send my  enemy away so that he escaped?”  Michal told him, “He said to me, Let me get away.  Why should I kill you?” ( I Samuel 19:17).
  16. But Saul had given his daughter Michal, David’s wife to Paltiel, son of  Laish, who was from Gallim. ( I Samuel 25:44).
  17. Michal is returned to David.  13.  “Good,” said David. “I will make an agreement with you.  But I demand one thing of you: Do not come into my presence unless you bring Michal, daughter of Saul when you come to see me.”  14.Then David sent  to Ish-Bosheth son of Saul, demanding, “Give me my  wife Michal, whom I betrothed to myself for a price of a hundred Philistine foreskins.”  15. So Ish-Bosheth gave orders and had her taken away from her husband, Paltiel son of Laish.  16.  Her husband, however, went with her, weeping behind her all the way to Bahurim.  Then Abner said to him, “Go back home!” So he went back. ( 2 Samuel 3:13-15)
  18. David Becomes King Over Israel.  1. All the tribes of Israel came to David at Hebron and said, “We are your own flesh and blood. 2.  In the past, while Saul was king over us, you were the one who led Israel on their military campaigns.  And the Lord said to you, “You will shepherd my people Israel and you will become their ruler. 3.  When all the elders of Israel had come to King David at Hebron,  the king made a compact with them at Hebron before the Lord, and they anointed David king over Israel.  (2 Samuel 5:1-3, NIV)
  19. The Ark Brought to Jerusalem. 1.  David again brought, the Lord together out of Israel  chosen men, thirty thousand in all. 2. He and all his men set out for Baalam of Judah to bring up from there the ark of God, which is called by the Name, the name of the Lord Almighty, who is enthroned between the cherubim that are on the ark. of God on a new cart and brought it from the house of Abinadab, which was on the hill. Uzzah and Ahio, sons of Abinadab, were guiding the new cart with the ark of God on it, and Ahio was walking in front of it. David and the whole house of Israel were celebrating with all their might before the Lord, with songs and with harps, lyres, tambourines, sistrums and cymbals.( 2 Samuel 6:1-5)
  20. Michal Dispised David. As the ark of the Lord was entering the City of David, Michal, daughter of Saul watched from a window.  And when she saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord, she dispised him in her heart. (2 Samuel 6: 16)
  21. Michal Confronts King David.20.  When David returned home to bless his household, Michal daughter of Saul came out to meet him and said,” How the king of Israel has distinguished himself today, disrobing in the sight of the slave girls and servants as any vulgar fellow would.” (2 Samuel 6:20)
  22.  Michal had no children.  And Michal daughter of Saul had no children to the day of her death.  (2 Samuel 6:23)

Sources:

1. The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Volume 3, The Zondervan Corporation, 1992.

2. The Holy Bible, New International Version, The Zondervan Corporation, 1973.

3. Syswerda, Jean E, Women of the Bible, The Zondervan Corporation, 1999.

 

 

 

 

Hannah—14 Key Points for Bible Study August 15th, 2015

Our lesson comes from I Samuel 1:1-2:11; 2:19-21

Supporting Scriptures—Gen. 16:2; Gen. 18:13-14; 29:30; 29:31; 30:1-3, 22-23; Num. 8: 23-26

  1. Hannah, her name means “Graciousness or Favor”. (2; pg. 83)
  2. Her character: “Provoked by another woman’s malice, she refused to respond in kind. Instead, she poured out her hurt and sorrow to God, allowing Him to vindicate her”. (2; pg. 83)
  3. There was a certain man… whose name was Elkanah…. He had two wives; one was called Hannah and the other Peninnah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah had none. (1; 1: 1-2)
  4. Yearly Elkanah went to worship and sacrifice to the Lord as required. He gave portions of the meat to Peninnah and all her children. “ But to Hannah he gave a double portion because he loved her, and the Lord had closed her womb”.  (1; 1:3-5) NIV Footnote 1:5—“The Lord gives and withholds children”.                                        NOTE: Compare Elkanah’s love for Hannah to Jacob and Rachael. (Gen.29:30)
  5. Hannah was deeply grieved by her barren condition.                                                       NOTE: In Israelite culture it was the woman’s duty to bare children, especially sons. (2; pg. 84; parag. 2-3)  Also, children were seen as a blessing from God and infertility as a curse. (Gen. 18:13-14; 29:31; 30:1-2; 22-23)
  6. Elkanah loved Hannah deeply and was greatly disturbed by her grief.  Elkanah said to her, “Hannah why are you weeping? Why don’t you eat? Why are you downhearted?   Don’t I mean more to you than ten sons?” (1; 1:8)
  7. On one occasion when in the temple in Shiloh, Hannah was observed by Eli, the priest, as she began to cry out to the Lord expressing her utmost pain and sorrow because of her infertility. She then made a vow to the Lord, “if you will only…..give your servant a son, I will give him to the Lord for all the days of his life and no razor will ever be used on his head”. (1; 1:11) NIV Footnote 1:11—Hannah’s vow goes above and   beyond. The normal period of service for Levites was age 25-50 years. (see Num. 8:23-26)                                                                                                                                            WHY WAS HANNAH CONSIDERED A WOMAN OF FAITH? (2; pg. 84 parag. 5)  HOW DID SHE DIFFER FROM SARAH AND RACHAEL? (Gen 16:2; 30:3)
  8. Eli observed Hannah’s mouth moving, but heard no words. Thinking she was drunk, he confronted her. Hannah assured him she had had neither wine nor beer, but had been praying to the Lord out of “great anguish and grief”. (1; 1:16)
  9. Hannah’s outlook and demeanor changed immediately. She said, “may your servant find favor in your eyes. Then she went her way and ate something, and her face was no longer downcast”. (1; 1:18b)                                                                                    WHAT CHANGED ABOUT HANNAH AND WHY?                                                        Eli responded, “go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of Him”. (1; 1:17)
  10. Elkanah and Hannah were together and she conceived and bore a son.  “She named him Samuel  saying, “because I asked the Lord for him”. (1; 1:19-20)
  11. After weaning the child ( NIV Footnote 1:22—about 3 years) Hannah took him to the temple as she had vowed to the Lord, “the boy ministered before the Lord under Eli the priest”. (1; 2:11)                                                                                                      NOTE: Compare to Jochebed’s actions with the baby Moses. ( Ex. 2:2-4)
  12. Each year, Hannah and Elkanah visited their child at the Temple. Eli would bless them saying “May the Lord give you children by this woman to take the place of the one she prayed for and gave to the Lord”. (1; 2:20)
  13. Hannah was greatly blessed by the Lord as she subsequently “conceived and gave birth to three sons and two daughters”. (1; 2:21)
  14. What does Hannah’s experience tell Christians today? “We’re not considered God’s faithful people because of all that happens to us. We’re faithful because of how we respond to all that happens. In spite of good times or bad, God’s faithful people trust Him with both their present and their future”. (2; pg. 84; Our Life and Times)

1. The NIV Study Bible; Zondervan edition 1985

  1. Women of the Bible 52 Bible Studies for Individuals and Groups, Jean E. Syswerda

Women of the Bible – Hannah – Rescheduled for September 12, 2015

Hannah is our next study from the series Women of the Bible, 52 Bible Studies for Individuals and Goups by Jean E Syswerda. The study of Hannah is found on page 83. The Bible Study will meet 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. For complete information call Glenda at 727-542-4683.

Announcement: The Tenth Anniversary Celebration & Pot Luck will be held with our Saturday Bible Study, September 26, 2015 at 4:00 p.m. Please contact Glenda for information at 727-542-4683.

Abigail Bible Study – 10 Key Points for Bible Study 08/02/2014

For our lesson of Abigail, 1 Samuel 25:2-42, here are some important points. The points do not directly answer the questions on pages 91-95 of the text, but may help you in our discussion of the Saturday Bible Study 08/02/2014.

1.Her name means, “My Father is Joy”. 3. (pg. 161)

2. Wife of Nabal and later David. 1. ( Vol. A-D, pg. 7)

3. She was an intelligent and beautiful woman, but her husband, a Calebite, was surly and mean in his dealings. (1 Samuel 25:3)

4. Abigail is described as: generous, quick-witted, and wise, she was one of the Bibles’ great peacemakers. 3. (pg. 161)

5. Abigail’s sorrow: To have a mismatched marriage to her first husband. 3. (pg. 161)

6. One of the servants told Nabal’s wife, Abigail: David sent messengers from the desert to give our master his greetings, but he hurled insults at them. (1 Samuel 25:14)

7. Wasting no time and without a word to her husband, she loaded a caravan of donkeys with gifts for David and his men— freshly baked bread, skins of wine, red meat, and various delicacies—and took them to David’s camp. As soon as she saw him, she fell to the ground at his feet, making one of the longest speeches by a woman recorded in the Bible. 3. (pg. 167)

8. Abigail was a courageous woman, who made the best out of a difficult situation. She knew the cultural principles at work here: Nabal —out of just plain good hospitality and out of gratitude for the protection David’s men had provided —should have given David’s men what they asked for. Yet when David sought vengeance, Abigail interceded, realizing that vengeance wasn’t something that was up to David —or her—to give. 3. (pg.  167)

9. David said to Abigail, “Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, who has sent you today to meet me. May you be blessed for your good judgment and keeping me from bloodshed this day and from avenging myself with my own hands. (I Samuel 25:32-33)

10. When Nabal was informed of his wife’s action on the morrow after his nocturnal debauch, he suffered a stroke and died within ten days. Shortly thereafter, David took Abigail for his wife. 1. (Vol. K-Q pg. 491)

1. The Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible, Abingdon Press, 1962.

2. The NIV Study Bible, Zondervan, 1995.

3. Women of the Bible, Ann Spangler and Jean E. Syswerda, Zondervan, 2007.

 

Women of the Bible, Abigail – August 2, 2014

Abigail is our eighth study in our series from Women of the Bible, 52 Bible Studies for Individuals and Groups by Jean E Syswerda. The study of Abigail is found on page 91. The Bible Study small group will be held on  August 2, 2014, 4:00-6:00 p.m. If you have not received your books for the study, please see Glenda. Remember that all materials are free as they are gifts to you from students participating in Homewords Small Group Bible Study Ministry. For information contact Glenda at 727-542-4683.