Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

1 Samuel 28:14

He said to her, "What is his form?" And she said, "An old man is coming up, and he is wrapped with a robe." And Saul knew that it was Samuel, and he bowed with his face to the ground and did homage.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Clairvoyance;   En-Dor;   Familiar Spirits;   Miracles;   Necromancy;   Samuel;   Saul;   Sorcery;   Witchcraft;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Idolatry;   Miracles through Evil Agents;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Soul;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Samuel;   Saul, king of israel;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Descent into Hell (Hades);   Magic;   Sheol;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Dress;   Magic;   Saul;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Divination;   Dress;   Mantle;   Saul;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Burial;   Divination and Magic;   Homage;   Medium;   Obeisance, Do;   Samuel, Books of;   Urim and Thummim;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Death;   En-Dor;   Eschatology;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Descent into Hades;   King James Dictionary - Cover;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Garments;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Magic;   Saul;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Mantle,;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Hebrew Monarchy, the;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Cloak;   Form;   Intercession;   Samuel;   Samuel, Books of;   Sheol;   Woman;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Ancestor Worship;   Burial;   Endor, the Witch of;   Necromancy;   Samuel;   Shroud;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

An old man cometh up, and he is covered with a mantle - This seems to have been a second apparition; she cannot mean that she had seen gods ascending out of the earth, and these gods were like an old man with a mantle. The angelic appearance first mentioned prepared the way for Samuel; and the whole was done so as to show to the woman that her art had not prevailed in the present instance, and that what was now taking place was wholly independent of her incantations.

Saul perceived that it was Samuel - The description was suitable to his person and clothing.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 28:14". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/1-samuel-28.html. 1832.

The Biblical Illustrator

1 Samuel 28:14

And Saul perceived that it was Samuel.

The appearance of Samuel

This is altogether a strange and mysterious scene. It is a difficult and much debated question how we are to understand it. One or two remarks is all that can be offered here. In the first place, there is no ground whatever for supposing a collusion between the woman and Soul’s two servants. Nor, secondly, is it at all tenable that Satan appeared, personating Samuel. Whether, then, shall we hold that the whole phenomena both of sight and sound formed a vision presented supernaturally by God; or as actual and literal occurrence? Of visions there were two principal varieties: First, a symbolic representation seen in a trance, such as that presented to Peter (Acts 10:1-48) or those brought before the rapt mind of John (Revelation). Of this kind the scene before us could not be an example. The figure is not symbolic. The state of mind is calm and self-possessed. Secondly, a miraculous sight of objects real and present. Of this sort were the vision of Zacharias (Luke 1:1-80); of the angels at the tomb (Luke 24:23); and of Moses and Elijah on the mount (Matthew 17:9). In this latter sense, the vision does not differ much from the literal understanding of the occurrence. To the objection--that it was unjust to Samuel to “disquiet” him thus, it may be answered that the word refers only to his change of place in its outward aspect, and does not necessarily imply the endurance of pain. To the other objection--that the figure was seen “ascending out of the earth” and could not therefore represent the soul of Samuel, it may yet be deemed satisfactory to say that the earth being the resting place of the body, and the figure appearing in the character of a body, it was natural to present the mysterious apparition as emerging from the ground; and that, whatever may be thought of this, the objection holds equally against the visional supposition. The last objection calling for notice takes higher ground, and the answer to it will lead us in among the moral purposes served by this mysterious transaction. “It was neither worthy of God, nor fitted to secure objects important enough to commend to our reason an interposition such as the literary theory implies.” It will be seen at once that any answer which disposes satisfactorily of the second branch of the objection will be valid against the first. Now we shall not have to go far in quest of important ends actually served by the occurrence.

1. A stern rebuke to Saul. The guilty man had recourse to an agency which his conscience condemned, and which his own recent enactment proscribed as unlawful, and punished capitally as impious. The holy God met him in the face on that forbidden ground, in that unhallowed work. And to be confronted thus must have filled him with overwhelming confusion. The tenderhearted prophet denounced him without reserve or mitigation. And rebukes never fall so crushingly, or with such condemning evidence of their justice, as from the lips of forbearing gentleness.

2. A solemn rehearsal of the law which regulated the national fortunes. Calamity came in the wake of sin. The holy King of heaven constituted them a people on that basis. His command was broken signally in the case of Amalek. This dreadful offence was yet pouring out its vials of vengeance on the land. The catastrophe announced by Samuel as immediately to occur was to exhaust the dregs of this vengeance on the doomed dynasty of Saul. How wisely adapted to strike through their conscience the conviction that this great calamity was strictly punitive.

3. Proof that the God of Israel overruled all agencies of evil. It is indeed a mysterious thing, and unexampled, that the holy Jehovah should be a party in a scene like this. The same sovereign authority laid hold on Balaam, and made the bad man a true prophet.

4. An exhibition of important facts from the spiritual world. The existence of the soul after death; the continuance of all its powers, and among them memory--stored with the recollections of the past; the perpetuation of moral and spiritual character. (P. Richardson, B. A.)

The appearance of Samuel to Saul at Endor

There has been a great variety of sentiments among the learned and very different accounts have been given of this famed adventure.

I. The truth of the case. Some have thought that there was nothing more in it than trick and legerdemain, whereby a cunning woman imposed upon Soul’s credulity. But this opinion is highly improbable. For, if the woman had the sole conducting of that affair, intending only to impose upon Saul, she would most undoubtedly have contrived to make the pretended Samuel’s answer as agreeable and pleasing to the King as possible, and that for her own sake especially; for fear of offending Saul, and to save her own life, as well as to procure from Him the larger gratuity. For it must be observed further, that what was here spoken as from Samuel was really prophetic, and was punctually fulfilled a few days after. None but God Himself could have revealed the secret. And how unlikely is it that God should make use of this sorceress as a prophetess, and should give her the honour of revealing his counsels. For these reasons, we may presume to think and judge that the matter here related was not all a mere juggle or contrivance of an artful woman, but something more. There was most certainly an apparition in the ease, either of Samuel’s ghost, or of some other spirit personating Samuel. I incline to think that Samuel really appeared. The reasons for this interpretation are as follow:--

1. This method of proceeding is very conformable to what God had been pleased to do before, in other cases of like nature. As Balak had recourse to sorceries and divinations in hopes to procure some relief, or fair promises at least from them. In like manner when King Ahaziah had sent to consult Beelzebub, the demon of Ekron, to know whether he should recover of the sickness he then lay under, hoping, no doubt, to obtain a favourable answer there, as probably he might have done; God Himself took care to anticipate the answer by Elijah the Prophet, who assured the messengers, meeting them by the way, that their master Ahaziah should not recover, but should surely die. Thus probably was it in the case of Saul.

2. This interpretation is plain and natural, and least forced of any, agreeing well with the words of the text. The story is here told in such a way as one would expect to find, upon the supposition it really was Samuel. So that if we consider the letter of the text, and the most obvious and natural construction of it we shall be obliged to confess that the apparition was really Samuel and no other.

3. This construction is very ancient, the most ancient of any; and seems indeed to have been the general persuasion of the Jewish Church long before the coming of Christ. (Sirach 46:20). In the same sentiments was Josephus the Jewish historian, who lived in the apostle’s times; and thus thought many of the earliest Christian fathers.

II. Objections answered. It is objected that the text speaks of bringing up Samuel as it were out of the ground; whereas, if it had been Samuel, he should rather have come down from heaven. But the true reason why Samuel is represented as being brought up is because his body was under ground, to which his soul was still conceived to bear a relation; and it was upon this chiefly, that the popular prevailing notion of all separate souls being in the heart of the earth, was founded.

2. But it is further objected that the apparition here in the person of Samuel complains to Saul of being disquieted or disturbed by him. But God Almighty with whom the spirits of just men made perfect dwell, might please to send Samuel upon that occasion, to deliver the message from him.

3. But it is further objected that it is hard to give a reason why God, Who had refused to answer Saul either by dreams, or by Urim, or by prophets, should at length vouchsafe to answer him in such a way as this, and by the mediation of a wicked sorceress. But it may be easy to account for God’s answering Saul in this way, as it was exposing and afflicting him more severely than in any other, after he had richly deserved it.

4. But it is still further objected thatthe predict, ions of the apparition, under the name of Samuel, were not true, and therefore could not be Samuel’s. But the things foretold were exactly verified, and the event answered to the prophecy in every particular. The things came to pass four or five days after. It says, Tomorrow shalt thou and thy sons be with me. But it is acknowledged by the best critics that the word which we render in English, tomorrow, may as welt be rendered very shortly, which it really signifies in this place.

5. Well, but is it not said, Tomorrow shalt thou and thy sons be with me? Was Saul, then, so wicked a man, to go after death to the same blessed place with righteous Samuel? The text determines nothing at all of the state of either after death, All that is meant by the words, Thou shalt be with me, is, Thou shalt die; add so it proved.

III. Practical uses.

1. Observe how careless and unthinking men are apt to be in their prosperity, and till the hour of distress comes.

2. That in such cases, generally, God very justly turns away His ear, and will vouchsafe no answer in the ordinary way, to such grievous offender.

3. Observe, further, how miserable, how melancholy a thing it is for a man to have sinned to such a degree as to be entirely abandoned by God, and to have the best friend in the world become his enemy. The practical conclusion from the whole is that we learn to set a true value upon God’s favour and friendship, and that, we use our utmost endeavours both to procure and to preserve it. (D. Waterland, D. D.)

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Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "1 Samuel 28:14". The Biblical Illustrator. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/1-samuel-28.html. 1905-1909. New York.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And he said unto her, what form is he of?.... Of what stature is he? or rather of what age does he seem to be? and what clothes has he on? as appears from the answer:

and she said, an old man cometh up, and he is covered with a mantle; such as either priests or judges wore, and Samuel did in his lifetime:

and Saul perceived that it was Samuel; by the description she gave of him, by his age and apparel; for as yet it is not certain that he himself saw him, though it should seem as if he did by what follows: it is in the original, "that it was Samuel himself"; which seems to make for those who think the real Samuel appeared, and no doubt Saul thought it was really he himself:

and he stooped with his face to the ground, and bowed himself: either in reverence to Samuel, and from whom he hoped relief, and therefore was all obeisance; or he put himself in this posture, that he might listen and hear what should be said; it being a general notion that such spirits gave their responses whispering and muttering, Isaiah 8:19; though Abarbinel, as before observed, is of opinion, that this is to be understood of Samuel, that he bowed to Saul in reverence of him as a king; which does not so well agree with the connection of the words. Some have thought that it was the true Samuel, or the soul of Samuel, that appeared; so JosephusF5Ut supra. (Antiqu. l. 6. c. 14. sect. 2.) , and many other writers; but to this may be objected, that that would not have ascended out of the earth, but come down from heaven; and that it cannot reasonably be supposed that it was in the power of the witch, by the assistance of the devil, to fetch it from heaven; nor be thought that God would send it from thence on such an errand, to give Saul an answer, when he would not answer him by any prophet on earth, nor in any other way; and especially it seems quite incredible that he should send it at the motion of a witch, and through her enchantments, who, according to a law of his, ought not to live; whereas nothing could have given greater countenance to such a wicked profession than this: nor would the true Samuel have admitted such worship and homage to be paid him, as is expressed in this last clause, which angelic spirits have refused, Revelation 19:10; though perhaps no more than civil respect is intended: but rather this was a diabolical spectre, or apparition, or the devil, that appeared in the form and shape of Samuel, and mimicked him; and was one of those deceiving spirits Porphyry speaksF6De Abstinentia, l. 2. apud Grotium in loc. of, that appear in various shapes and forms, and pretend to be gods or demons, or the souls of the deceased. SomeF7See Webster's Displaying of supposed Witchcraft, &c. ch. 8. p. 166, &c. think all this was the cunning and imposture of the woman alone, or that she was assisted with a confederate, who acted the part of Samuel; but this is not probable.

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Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 28:14". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/1-samuel-28.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

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] f Samuel, and he stooped with [his] face to the ground, and bowed himself.

(f) To his imagination, even though it was Satan, who to blind his eyes took on him the form of Samuel, as he can do of an angel of light.
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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 28:14". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/1-samuel-28.html. 1599-1645.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

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.

A mantle — The usual habit of prophets, and particularly of Samuel, chap15:27. If it was not Samuel, but an other spirit in his shape, it is not true, that Saul perceived it was Samuel. It seems Saul did not see him, so soon as the woman, which occasioned his asking those questions.

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Wesley, John. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 28:14". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/1-samuel-28.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

1 Samuel 28:14 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.

Ver. 14. What form is he of?] Heb., What is his form? for as yet Saul saw him not; though soon after he both saw him, and heard him preaching his funeral sermon.

And he is covered with a mantle.] The clothes of a prophet, wherein also Samuel was buried, saith Lyra: but that is doubtful. Many great Papists hold it a gay business to be buried in a Franciscan or Dominican habit: and some at point of death have given great sums for licence to be buried in a cardinal’s purple robe.

And he stooped with his face to the ground.] This was what the devil chiefly aimed at: and it is well observed that everyone that consulteth with Satan worshippeth him, though he bow not. Neither doth that evil spirit desire any other reverence than to be sought unto.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 28:14". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/1-samuel-28.html. 1865-1868.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

He is covered with a mantle; the usual habit of prophets, 2 Kings 2:8,13 Zec 13:4, and particularly of Samuel, 1 Samuel 15:27.

Saul perceived that it was Samuel; the woman pretended, and Saul upon her suggestion believed, that it was Samuel indeed; and so many popish and some other writers conceived. But that it was not Samuel, but the devil representing Samuel, is sufficiently evident. For, first, It is most incredible that God, who had just now refused to answer Saul by the means which himself appointed and used in that case, would answer him, or suffer Samuel to answer him, in that way, and upon the use of those means which God detested and contemned; which would have given great countenance and encouragement to Saul and the witch, and all professors and consulters of those devilish arts. Secondly, There are divers passages in this relation which plainly discover that this was no good, but an evil spirit; as first, That he receives that worship from Saul, 1 Samuel 28:14, which good spirits would not suffer, Revelation 19:10 22:8,9. Secondly, That amongst his other sins for which he condemneth him, he omitteth this of asking counsel of one that had a familiar spirit, to inquire of it; for which transgression, with others, he is expressly said to have died, 1 Chronicles 10:13, which the true Samuel, who was so zealous for God’s honour, and so faithful a reprover, would never have neglected, especially now, when he takes Saul in the very fact. Thirdly, That he pretends himself to be disquieted and brought up, 1 Samuel 28:15, by Saul’s instigation, and the witch’s art; which is most false, and impious, and absurd to imagine, concerning those blessed souls who are returned to their God, Ecclesiastes 12:7, and entered into peace and rest, Isaiah 57:2, and lodged in Abraham’s bosom, Luke 16:22, and rest from their labors, Revelation 14:13. The only argument of any colour to the contrary is only this, that the devil could not so particularly and punctually discover Saul’s future events as this Samuel doth, 1 Samuel 28:19. But this also hath little weight in it; it being confessed and notoriously known, that evil spirits, both in the oracles of the heathen, and otherwise, have oft-times foretold future contingencies; God being pleased to reveal such things to them, and to permit them to be the instruments of revealing them to men, for the trial of some, and for the terror and punishment of others. Besides, the devil might foresee this by strong conjectures, as by the numerousness, strength, courage, and resoluteness of the Philistine host, and the quite contrary condition of the Israelites, and by divers other symptoms far above the reach of mortal men, but such as he by his great sagacity could easily discern. And for that express determination of the time, tomorrow, 1 Samuel 28:19, that word may be understood not of the very next day, but indefinitely of some short time after this, as it is taken, Exodus 13:14 Deuteronomy 6:20 Joshua 4:6,21. And then it was easy to gather from the present posture of the two armies, that the fight and the ruin of the Israelites was very near. And that it was not the very next day, but some days after this, is evident from the course of the story, and hath been proved by a late learned writer. See my Latin Synopsis on this place.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 1 Samuel 28:14". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/1-samuel-28.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

14.What form is he of — He uses the singular, תארו, his form, though the witch had spoken in the plural of gods. But having seen the image of the mantled prophet in his soul, she proceeds to describe it just as it was pictured there.

An old man cometh up; and he is covered with a mantle — Saul vividly remembered Samuel in connexion with that mantle the skirt of which he had laid hold of and rent at Gilgal, when the prophet uttered against him the last bitter oracle of judgment, (1 Samuel 15:27;) and a clairvoyant might see his mantled form just as it was imaged in the soul of Saul.

Saul perceived that it was Samuel — Observe, it is not said that he saw Samuel. He formed his opinion from the woman’s words. She described the form of Samuel just as he appeared in the memory of Saul — an old man wearing a mantle; and from this description, not from actual sight, he knew or understood (ידע; Septuagint, εγνω; Vulgate, intellexit ) that it was Samuel. There is no evidence in the whole passage that Samuel was seen by any one except the witch.

He stooped — Made obeisance, for he believed that Samuel was there.

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 28:14". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/1-samuel-28.html. 1874-1909.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

1 Samuel 28:14. An old man coming up — Although this appearance of Samuel is represented by the woman as coming up out of the earth, there is no reason to think that it did so in fact. Rather, the woman spoke according to the prevailing notion of both Jews and heathen of those days, that the place of abode of separate souls was under the earth. This opinion was the foundation of necromancy, or divining by the dead; and from a foolish supposition that they could call the dead from their sepulchres to consult them, it is that the Jews in the time of Isaiah are accused of having sacrificed in the gardens, and of remaining among the graves, for their sepulchres were in gardens, Isaiah 65:3-4; and Isaiah 29:4. Covered with a mantle — The usual habit of prophets, and particularly of Samuel, 1 Samuel 15:27. And Saul perceived that it was Samuel — But if it was not he, but another person, this declaration of the sacred writer is not true. It may be observed further, that the word ידע jedang, here rendered perceived, properly signifies to know, and sometimes to see. And the pronoun הוא hu, himself, which our translators have left out, is also added after the name Samuel. So that the words, literally translated, are, Saul knew that it was Samuel himself.

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 28:14". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/1-samuel-28.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Understood that it was Samuel. It is the more common opinion of the holy fathers, and interpreters, that the soul of Samuel appeared indeed; and not, as some have imagined, an evil spirit in his shape. Not that the power of her magic could bring him thither, but that God was pleased for the punishment of Saul, that Samuel himself should denounce unto him the evils that were falling upon him. See Ecclesiasticus xlvi. 23. (Challoner) --- The passage is decisive; (Tirinus) he slept and he made know to the king, and shewed him the end of his life, and he lifted up his voice from the earth, in prophecy, &c. Those who have called in question the reality of Samuel's apparition, seem not to have remembered this passage. (Haydock) --- Yet his soul was not united to his body, (Salien) nor was he adduced by the power of the devil, but (Du Hamel) by a just judgment of God, to denounce destruction to the wicked king. (St. Augustine, &c.) (Tirinus) --- The woman, beholding Samuel, fled out of the place, to Saul's companions, and left him alone with the king, ver. 21. --- Adored Samuel with an inferior honour, as a friend of God, exalted in glory. (Salien) --- That Samuel really appeared, is the more common opinion of the fathers. (St. Augustine, Cura. xv.) (Worthington)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 28:14". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/1-samuel-28.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

man. Hebrew. "ish. App-14. Not a spirit. mantle. If a spirit, why a mantle? Samuel"s spirit was with God (Ecclesiastes 12:7). And if Samuel"s body, it would be with "grave-clothes" (John 11:44).

perceived = understood: i.e. from what the medium said. He saw nothing.

stooped = did obeisance.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 28:14". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/1-samuel-28.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

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.

And he said unto her, What form is he of?, [ mah (Hebrew #4100) taa'

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 28:14". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/1-samuel-28.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(14) An old man Cometh up; and he is covered with a mantle.—The “mantle;” Heb., m’il. The garment so named was not a peculiar one, and bore no official signification; still, its mention here in this place would seem as though the woman recognised the well-known m’il which the prophet used to wear in life.

But it has been asked, How could a spirit bear the semblance of an old man? and further, How could such a being be clothed? Rabbi Moses Maimonides of Cordova (twelfth century), surnamed the “Eagle of the Doctors,” in his Yad Hachazakah, admirably replies to these queries when discussing certain similar expressions used with regard to the Holy One, who is a Spirit without a body or a frame. “We find,” says Maimonides, “such expressions as ‘under His feet,’ written with the finger of God,’ ‘the eye of the Lord,’ &c. Of Him one prophet says, ‘That he saw the Holy One—blessed be He !—whose garment was white as snow’ (Daniel 7:9); whilst another saw Him ‘like a warrior engaged in battle.’ Compare the saying of the sages in the Yad Joseph on Exodus 15:3 :—’On the sea He was seen like a man-of-war, and upon Sinai like a reader of prayers, wrapped (in a surplice); and all this though he had neither similitude or form, but that these things were in an apparition of prophecy, and in a vision.’”—Yad Hachazakah, bk. I., ch. 1 “God designed,” says Bishop Wordsworth, “that the spirit of Samuel should be recognised by human eyes; and how could this have been done but by means of such objects as are visible to human sense? Our Lord speaks of the tongue of the disembodied spirit of Dives in order to give us an idea of his sufferings; and at the Transfiguration He presented the form of Moses in such a garb to the three disciples as might enable them to recognise him as Moses.”

And he stooped . . . and bowed himself.—It Seems probable that at this juncture the king saw the form before him when he did obeisance. It is, however, not clear, from the language here used, whether this strange act of reverent homage did not at once follow the description of the woman.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 28:14". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/1-samuel-28.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

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.
What form is he of? Heb
What is his form? a mantle.
15:27; 2 Kings 2:8,13,14
Reciprocal: Judges 16:20 - the Lord;  1 Samuel 28:19 - and to morrow;  1 Kings 1:45 - This is;  1 Kings 19:19 - his mantle;  2 Kings 1:7 - What manner of man was he

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 28:14". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/1-samuel-28.html.