Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

1 Samuel 28:24

The woman had a fattened calf in the house, and she quickly slaughtered it; and she took flour, kneaded it and baked unleavened bread from it.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Bread;   En-Dor;   Familiar Spirits;   Saul;   Sorcery;   Witchcraft;   Thompson Chain Reference - Animals;   Arts and Crafts;   Baking;   Bread;   Calves;   Flour;   Unleavened Bread;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Beds;   Calf, the;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Endor;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Farming;   Food;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Bread, Bread of Presence;   Descent into Hell (Hades);   Easton Bible Dictionary - Calf;   Knead;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - House;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Calf;   Cattle;   Divination and Magic;   Flour;   Knead, Kneading Bowl;   Samuel, Books of;   Unleavened Bread;   Urim and Thummim;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Death;   En-Dor;   Manger;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Descent into Hades;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Bread;   House;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Calf;   Dwelling;   Saul;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Bread;   Calf;   House;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Calf;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Hebrew Monarchy, the;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Bread;   Calf;   Samuel, Books of;   Sanctuary;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Bread;   Cattle;   Endor, the Witch of;   Leaven;   Maẓ;   Root;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

The woman had a fat calf - The ancients used great despatch in their cookery. In hot countries they could not keep flesh meat by them any length of time; hence they generally kept young animals, such as calves, lambs, and kids, ready for slaughter; and when there was occasion, one of them was killed, and dressed immediately.

Unleavened bread - There was not time to bake leavened bread; that would have taken considerable time, in order that the leaven might leaven the whole lump.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 28:24". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/1-samuel-28.html. 1832.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And the woman had a fat calf in the house,.... This was reckoned a very dainty dish in those countries, and fit for any guests, see Genesis 18:7; Josephus saysF12Antiqu. l. 6. c. 14. sect. 3. 4. , she vouchsafed to feed and take care of it in her house, and it was very familiar with her; and he highly commends the liberality of the woman, and as worthy of imitation:

and she hasted and killed it; and dressed it in some way or another, and which in those times was done speedily:

and took flour and kneaded it, and did bake unleavened bread therewith; which was soonest made, she not having time to leaven it.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 28:24". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/1-samuel-28.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

And the woman had a fat calf in the house; and she hasted, and killed it, and took flour, and kneaded [it], and did bake l unleavened bread thereof:

(l) Because it required haste.
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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 28:24". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/1-samuel-28.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

and she hasted, and killed it, etc. — (See on Genesis 18:1-8).

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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 28:24". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/1-samuel-28.html. 1871-8.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

And the woman had a fat calf in the house; and she hasted, and killed it, and took flour, and kneaded it, and did bake unleavened bread thereof:

Unleavened — Not having time to leaven it.

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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Bibliographical Information
Wesley, John. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 28:24". "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 28:24 And the woman had a fat calf in the house; and she hasted, and killed it, and took flour, and kneaded [it], and did bake unleavened bread thereof:

Ver. 24. And she hasted, and killed it.] That he might go safe out of her house, and she not be questioned for his death, as she might have been if he had there swooned quite away. Josephus highly commendeth her for this her courtesy to Saul: as also he doth him for his valour in dying in defence of his country. But so did the Decii, Curtii, and other Romans of old: and so do those Turkish desperadoes the Spahyes at this day.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 28:24". 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

Not having time to leaven it.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 1 Samuel 28:24". 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

24.A fat calf in the house — At this day cattle are kept stalled in the caves of Endor. Dr. Thomson saw little calves at the mouths of these caves, where they were kept while their mothers were at pasture.

She hasted, and killed it — “With the Bedouin it is nearly universal to cook the meat immediately after it is butchered, and to bake fresh bread for every meal.’ A sheep or a calf will be brought and killed before you, thrust instanter into the great caldron, which stands ready on the fire to receive it, and, ere you are aware, it will reappear on the great copper tray, with a bushel of burgul, (cracked wheat,) or a hill of boiled rice and leben ’ It seems that this killing, cooking, and eating in rapid succession is a very old custom. Abraham, and Manoah, and many others, besides the witch of Endor, were expert in getting up such impromptu feasts; and our Saviour has given it a proverbial expression in the fatted calf of the prodigal son.” — The Land and the Book; vol. ii, p. 162.

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 28:24". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/1-samuel-28.html. 1874-1909.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Calf, destined for a victim or feast, Luke xv. 23., and Proverbs xv. 17. (Calmet) --- The generosity of this woman deserves commendation. (Josephus, [Antiquities?] vi. 15.) (Haydock)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 28:24". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/1-samuel-28.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

house = shed.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 28:24". "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 the woman had a fat calf in the house; and she hasted, and killed it, and took flour, and kneaded it, and did bake unleavened bread thereof:

The woman had a fat calf in the house. The flesh of the herd was reckoned, when young, one of the greatest delicacies. The houses in the village of In-dor are built at the entrance to the caves, and the cattle are stalled in them, along with their owners.

She hasted, and killed it. The cookery was performed with singular despatch, because the animal must have been slaughtered, and the bread baked (unleavened, of course, there being no time for the leavening process), after midnight. But this was not uncommon (see the note at Genesis 18:7-8; Judges 13:1; Luke 15:27-29), and is still practiced in the tents of the Bedouins. In less than half an hour a sheep or calf is brought and killed in presence of the guest, and then, having been thrust into a large cauldron swung over the fire, the contents are taken out and placed on an immense tray, and served up amid a mass of roasted grain (Burghul), boiled rice, and leban (curdled or sour milk). Exhausted by long abstinence, overwhelmed with mental distress, and now driven in despair, the cold sweat broke on his anxious brow, and he had sunk helpless on the ground. But the kind attentions of the woman and his servants having revived him, Saul returned to the camp refreshed in body, but with a sad depression of spirits, which was ominous of his approaching doom.-This story has led to much discussion, as involving several topics about which a difference of opinion is naturally entertained. These topics are:

(1) Whether the scene described was the device of an artful sorceress, or there was an actual apparition.

(2) Whether, there being an apparition, it was called up by the incantations of the necromancer.

(3) Whether it was produced by demoniacal agency, or was allowed by the special interposition of God.

On the one hand, the woman's profession, which was forbidden by the divine law; her pretended ignorance of her visitor (though the stature of Saul, and the deference paid to him by his two attendants, must have betrayed his real rank); the refusal of God to answer Saul; the well-known age, figure, and dress of Samuel, which she could easily represent herself or by an accomplice-the alleged figure being evidently at some distance, the head and shoulders only rising above the ground, being muffled, and not actually seen by Saul [wayidaa`, and (Saul) understood, i:e., concluded; Septuagint, egnoo, knew], whose attitude of prostrate homage, moreover, must have prevented him distinguishing the person, though he had been near; and the voice seemingly issuing out of the ground, and coming along to Saul, with the vagueness of the information, imparting nothing as to the past, but what must have been notorious throughout all Israel, regarding the alienation of Samuel from Saul, with the causes of it, and nothing as to the future but what might have been reached by natural conjecture as to the probable inane of the approaching conflict; together with the fact that all the sons of Saul did not perish in the battle-the want of the word "when" in the original (2 Samuel 2:9) text, indicating that the "loud voice" was not the effect, but a sequence merely, of her seeing Samuel, and the customary tone (triste et acutum; Horace, 'Sat.,' 8:, lib. 1:) which was employed by sorceresses; and, lastly, the woman's coolness in ministering to Saul, as if nothing unusual in her experience had occurred;-all these circumstances have led many to think that the whole scene was a deception-the imposture of a necromancer-somewhat akin to the pretensions of mesmerism, the tricks of medium clairvoyantes.

But many, perhaps, are firmly of opinion that this is a wrong view, because it appears that before the woman had begun her incantations there was the appearance of something extraordinary, which struck her with astonishment and terror; and, though they cannot suppose that God would allow the spirits of the just made perfect to be called from their rest in glory at the bidding of a witch, it must be admitted that she was either the cause or the instrument of evoking an unusual object. But what was that object? Was it Samuel, exhibited to the eye and imagination only-a deceptio visus-or the prophet in propria persona?

Some consider that Satan, in whose service this enchantress was employed, conjured up a personified likeness of Samuel, and that there was an apparition, though a fictitious one (Willet, 'Harmonie,' p. 319, followed by Poole, Henry, Brown, and other popular commentators). But undoubtedly the historian would have mentioned Satan by name, had this been the case, and not have so repeatedly spoken of Samuel, when the father of lies was meant. To adopt such an hypothesis is, as Henderson ('Inspiration,' pp. 140-145) justly remarks, 'contrary to the style of the sacred writers, and to unsettle the entire basis of the divinely-inspired narrative.' Besides, however sagacious and penetrating Satan may be, from his lengthened observation and experience, to anticipate the issue of many events, there is no reason to believe that he can predict what is to happen in the future [ maachaar (Hebrew #4279), tomorrow, is taken by some in an indefinite sense here, as meaning soon. But there is no example of such a use of the term (see Gesenius, sub voce)].

Not a few eminent writers, therefore, considering that the apparition came before the witch's arts were put in practice-that it is called in the Hebrew text (1 Samuel 28:14) [ Sh

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Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 28:24". "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

(24) Unleavened bread.—There was no time to be lost; so she did not wait to leaven the dough, but at once baked it, and set it before the king.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 28:24". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/1-samuel-28.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And the woman had a fat calf in the house; and she hasted, and killed it, and took flour, and kneaded it, and did bake unleavened bread thereof:
a fat calf
Genesis 18:7,8; Luke 15:23
Reciprocal: Genesis 19:3 - unleavened

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 28:24". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/1-samuel-28.html.