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Saturday, May 28, 2011

Mediums and Maxims

            After the death of Samuel and his burial in Ramah, King Saul made a decree to put out the spiritualists from the land (I Samuel 28:3).  Ramah is, “a town in the tribal territory of Benjamin near Saul’s home” (Myers, TEBD, Page 871).  At the threat of a Philistine attack, King Saul attempted to query the Lord and was met with silence.   I Samuel 28:6 records, “And when Saul inquired of the LORD, the LORD did not answer him, either by dreams or by Urim or by the prophets.”  The Urim and the Thummim were, “Objects used by the priests for determining the will of God” (Myers, TEBD, Page 1032).  There is no definite description of the objects given in scripture; although, due to the fact that they fit in the priest’s ephod, it is thought that they were small.  It is possible that they were pebbles or sticks made from precious metals (Myers, TEBD, Page 1032).  The Urim and Thrummin were cast similarly to dice to inquire of God's will.  At God’s silence, King Saul chose to consult a medium.  His foolish vacillation is made even more preposterous as he disguises himself to consult the medium at En Dor.  King Saul asks the woman, “. . . Please conduct a séance for me, and bring up for me the one I shall name to you” (I Sam.28:8).  The woman answers in fear, as she knows that the king has decreed that sorceries be abated in the land.  King Saul, in disguise, swears by the Lord that no harm would come to her.  This is a grand example of leadership deceit ad cowardice.  The medium calls up the spirit of Samuel.  Whether or not this was indeed the spirit of Samuel is open to debate.  Surely, it is within God’s power to allow this occurrence, if He so wills.  Peter would attest that he saw the spirits of Moses and Elijah at the Mount of Transfiguration (Matt. 17:1-8).  The scripture records Samuel’s reply in I Samuel 28:15, “. . . Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?”  King Saul relates his fears regarding the Philistine garrison that threatened him.  Samuel’s reply is grim and definite, “Because you did not obey the voice of the LORD nor execute His fierce wrath upon Amalek . . . Moreover the LORD will also deliver Israel with you into the hand of the Philistines.  And tomorrow you and your sons will be with me” (I Sam.28:19).  King Saul’s repentance is obviously ego-driven; as, he sprawls on the ground and refuses to eat. This is yet another example of weak leadership and the devastating effects it has on those being led.
Myers, Allen C. The Eerdmans Bible Dictionary. Grand Rapids:  William B. Eerdmans
             Publishing Company, 1987.

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