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.