Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

1 Samuel 28:25

She brought it before Saul and his servants, and they ate. Then they arose and went away that night.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - En-Dor;   Familiar Spirits;   Saul;   Sorcery;   Witchcraft;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Beds;   Calf, the;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Endor;   Gilboa;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Descent into Hell (Hades);   Holman Bible Dictionary - Divination and Magic;   Samuel, Books of;   Urim and Thummim;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Death;   En-Dor;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Descent into Hades;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Saul;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Hebrew Monarchy, the;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Samuel, Books of;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Endor, the Witch of;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

They rose up, and went away that night - The transactions of this chapter occupy one night only.

  1. Saul came by night to En-dor, 1 Samuel 28:8.
  • He consulted the woman, and had his conference with Samuel the same night; for no time whatever appears to have been lost after his arrival at En-dor.
  • He was overcome by the heavy tidings which he heard; and which for a time appear to have deprived him of all power.
  • The woman kills a calf; dresses a part; makes and bakes bread; and Saul and his servants eat. And,
  • They rose and went away that night, 1 Samuel 28:25. The next day, in all probability, the battle happened in which Israel was defeated, and Saul and his sons lost their lives.
  • There is a considerable diversity of opinion, both among learned and pious men, relative to the subject mentioned in this chapter, that of raising Samuel from the dead. Some deny the possibility of the thing, and say that it was the devil that personified Samuel; and others, that the whole was the imposition of this cunning woman, and that there was no supernatural agency in the business. This is not a proper place to argue the point. I have given my opinion in the notes. I may sum up in a few particulars.
    1. I believe there is a supernatural and spiritual world, in which Human spirits, both good and bad, live in a state of consciousness.
  • I believe there is an invisible world, in which various orders of spirits, not human, live and act.
  • I believe that any of these spirits may, according to the order of God, in the laws of their place of residence, have intercourse with this world, and become visible to mortals.
  • I believe there is a possibility, by arts not strictly good, to evoke and have intercourse with spirits, not Human; and to employ, in a certain limited way, their power and influence.
  • I believe that the woman of En-dor had no power over Samuel; and that no incantation can avail over any departed saint of God, nor indeed over any human disembodied spirit.
  • I believe Samuel did actually appear to Saul; and that he was sent by the especial mercy of God to warn this infatuated king of his approaching death, that he might have an opportunity to make his peace with his Maker.
  • I believe that the woman found, from the appearances, that her real or pretended charms had no effect; and that what now took place came from a totally different disposition of things from those with which she was conversant.
  • I believe that direct, circumstantial, and unequivocal oracles were now delivered concerning things which neither human nor diabolical wisdom could foresee or penetrate; that the defeat of the Israelites, and the death of Saul and his three sons on the following day, were matters which, from their nature, could only be known to God himself; and that no demon or bad spirit could be employed in such a transaction.
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    Bibliographical Information
    Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 28:25". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/1-samuel-28.html. 1832.

    John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

    And she brought it before Saul, and before his servants, and they did eat,.... Of the fatted calf, and unleavened bread, which she set upon a table before them, in the best manner she could:

    then they rose up, and went away that night; that it might not be seen in what house they had been, and that they might get to the camp without being discovered by the Philistines, or known by the Israelites that they had been out.

    Copyright Statement
    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 28:25". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/1-samuel-28.html. 1999.

    Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

    Then they rose up, and went away that night — Exhausted by long abstinence, overwhelmed with mental distress, and now driven to despair, the cold sweat broke on his anxious brow, and he sank helpless on the ground. But the kind attentions of the woman and his servants having revived him, he returned to the camp to await his doom.

    Copyright Statement
    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 28:25". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/1-samuel-28.html. 1871-8.

    Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

    REFLECTIONS

    IF ever the contemplation of the wicked, in his progress from sin to sin can become profitable to deter from the commission of sin, and to keep back the soul, under grace, from presumption; surely there is not a character in scripture which teaches this more loudly, than that of Saul. Behold him from the moment of Samuel's anointing him king, to the hour in which the Holy Ghost hath here sketched his history, and what doth it afford but the very melancholy account of a desperately wicked heart. That heart of Saul was never changed by grace; for though he is said to have had another heart from what he had when seeking his Father's asses, when he came to the kingdom; yet not a new heart created in righteousness and true holiness. With this deceitful heart of nature, the acquired purple of a kingdom, and the power of a Prince, only furnished means of manifesting what that heart originally was by nature, and what it ever remained untouched by grace. It only was uniformly making a greater progression and ripeness in evil. Reader! behold in his history how he proposed to himself pleasure in offending God; fighting against the gracious hand that had given him a throne; and as one determined to sacrifice everything rather than that God should appoint a successor in his kingdom, who had, unasked, and unthought of, given a kingdom to him. Think here from what an awful thing it must be in the wicked to be found fighting against God.

    From the view of Saul, let us turn our thoughts to Jesus, whose redemption work becomes the only remedy for all sin, even in his children, who are by nature open and justly exposed to wrath even as others. We read the history of Saul to very little purpose if the sequel of it and indeed every part of it, doth not lead to this conclusion of the apostles; Are we then better than they? Are we in ourselves, and in our fallen state, by nature, less exposed to the same commission of sin? No, in no wise. For the scripture hath before proved all under sin. And God hath concluded all in unbelief as well as sin. Well may every truly awakened soul cry out, under the heart-felt conviction of the truth; Oh! the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God, how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out. Here then, Reader! let you and I join issue and rejoice. Jesus is set forth as a propitiation for sin through faith in his blood. He is the salvation and the righteousness of God to every sinner that believeth. Oh! Lord, grant us the fullness of grace to believe the record which God the Father hath given of his dear Son. And may that precious scripture be ever sounding in our ears, and ever living in its divine and saving influence in our hearts; God having raised up his Son Jesus hath sent him to bless you, in turning away everyone of you from his iniquities.

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    Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
    Bibliographical Information
    Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 28:25". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pmc/1-samuel-28.html. 1828.

    Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

    i.e. Before morning; for he came by night, 1 Samuel 28:8, and went away before day; not willing to have it discovered that he had consulted with a witch.

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    Bibliographical Information
    Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 1 Samuel 28:25". 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

    25.Went away that night — And returned to his camp on the heights of Gilboa. Some have questioned whether Saul could have travelled from the top of Gilboa to Endor and back in one night, besides holding the interview with the witch. Supposing him to have taken the route indicated in the note on 1 Samuel 28:7, it can be shown to have been by no means impossible. In May, 1852, Dr. Robinson travelled from the Wady Jalud, at the eastern base of Gilboa, to within a mile of Endor, in two hours and forty minutes, besides stopping thirty-five minutes to lunch. — Bib. Res., vol. iii, pp. 338-340. Doubtless Saul, travelling probably more rapidly and by well known paths, could have gone down from the top of Gilboa to the same valley, and thence nearly in the route pursued by Dr. Robinson, and have reached Endor in less than three hours. His return could have been effected in the same length of time; and, allowing two hours for his interview with the witch, the whole affair need not have occupied more than eight hours, while it is possible it may have been done in much less time.

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    Bibliographical Information
    Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 28:25". "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 28:25. They arose up and went away that night — “What remorse,”

    says Delaney, “what desolation of mind, what horrors of guilt, what terrors and anticipations of divine wrath haunted him by the way, may no reader ever learn from his own experience!” Some have expressed a hope, that as, no doubt, his past sins were now brought to his remembrance, he felt contrition for them. Of this, however, the Holy Ghost is silent; and considering that at last he was guilty of self-murder we have no reason to think he experienced any repentance that was of any service to his immortal interests.

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    These files are public domain.
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    Bibliographical Information
    Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 28:25". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/1-samuel-28.html. 1857.

    Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

    (25) Went away that night.—The same night they retraced their steps, and returned to Gilboa. “Saul was too hardened in his sin to express any grief or pain, either on his own account or because of the predicted fate of his sons or his people. In stolid desperation he went to meet his destiny. This was the terrible end of one whom the Spirit of God had once taken possession of and turned into another man—of one who had been singularly endowed with Divine gifts to enable him to act as the leader of the people of God.”—O. von Gerlach.

    Copyright Statement
    These files are public domain.
    Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
    Bibliographical Information
    Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 28:25". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/1-samuel-28.html. 1905.