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1 Samuel 28:3-10

Context

28:3 Now Samuel had died, and all Israel had lamented over him and had buried him in Ramah, his hometown. 1  In the meantime Saul had removed the mediums 2  and magicians 3  from the land. 28:4 The Philistines assembled; they came and camped at Shunem. Saul mustered all Israel and camped at Gilboa. 28:5 When Saul saw the camp of the Philistines, he was absolutely terrified. 4  28:6 So Saul inquired of the Lord, but the Lord did not answer him – not by dreams nor by Urim 5  nor by the prophets. 28:7 So Saul instructed his servants, “Find me a woman who is a medium, 6  so that I may go to her and inquire of her.” His servants replied to him, “There is a woman who is a medium in Endor.”

28:8 So Saul disguised himself and put on other clothing and left, accompanied by two of his men. They came to the woman at night and said, “Use your ritual pit to conjure up for me the one I tell you.” 7 

28:9 But the woman said to him, “Look, you are aware of what Saul has done; he has removed 8  the mediums and magicians 9  from the land! Why are you trapping me 10  so you can put me to death?” 28:10 But Saul swore an oath to her by the Lord, “As surely as the Lord lives, you will not incur guilt in this matter!”

1 tn Heb “in Ramah, even in his city.”

2 tn The Hebrew term translated “mediums” actually refers to a pit used by a magician to conjure up underworld spirits (see 2 Kgs 21:6). In v. 7 the witch of Endor is called the owner of a ritual pit. See H. Hoffner, “Second Millennium Antecedents to the Hebrew ’OñBù,” JBL 86 (1967): 385-401. Here the term refers by metonymy to the owner of such a pit (see H. A. Hoffner, TDOT 1:133).

3 sn See Isa 8:19 for another reference to magicians who attempted to conjure up underworld spirits.

4 tn Heb “he was afraid, and his heart was very terrified.”

5 sn See the note at 1 Sam 14:41.

6 tn Heb “an owner of a ritual pit.” See the note at v. 3.

7 tn Heb “Use divination for me with the ritual pit and bring up for me the one whom I say to you.”

8 tn Heb “how he has cut off.”

9 tn See the note at v. 3.

10 tn Heb “my life.”



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