Saul and the Witch

A few weeks ago, we considered the life of Samson and the consequences sin inflicts upon his life, and we noted that sin deceives us, separates us from God, and costs us our souls. After this, we looked at Saul’s attitude toward sin when he denies the problem in his life, his rationalizations for his actions, and the temporary remorse he feels for his actions regarding the Amalekites.

Seeking Out a Witch

In I Samuel 25:1, Samuel dies, and, in I Samuel 28, we read of the Philistines gathering for war against Israel. Their forces cause Saul to fear in verse 5, so he asks his servants to seek out a witch, an oracle, for him to consult. Saul knows where to find what he is looking for. He disguises himself, in verse 8, and goes to this woman under the cover of darkness. Finally, he will demonstrate that he does not take God’s consequences seriously.

In Deuteronomy 18:10-12, God through Moses clearly condemns the use of oracles, mediums, witches, and other forms of deception through trickery and the appearances of supernatural. Early in his reign, Saul mandates these people driven out from the land, but, when he sees the medium, he claims Jehovah will not punish her for her practices in I Samuel 28:10. In this, he reflects the words of the serpent when it claimed, “You shall surely not die.”

Falling Into Saul’s Patterns

Paul writes that we are to put our man of sin to death. However, we might keep our sinful self where we can find it when we need it. We put on the appearance of driving sin from our lives, but may be unprepared to completely abandon it. I Corinthians 6:9 calls upon us to avoid fooling ourselves. “Do you not know…?” Paul reminds us that sinful living disqualifies us from God’s promises. Galatians 5:16-17 reminds us that we struggle with our sinful desires, that our old selves will not go away peacefully. It takes effort and dedication to truly drive sin from one’s life. We have to ask ourselves if we’ve truly put our old man of sin to death or if we’ve just put him on hold until we need him.

Saul disguises himself when he goes to see the medium, and we may be guilty of disguising our Christianity at times. There are situations where it is simply easier to mask our religious convictions. We want to fit in. We don’t want to be ridiculed or perceived as difference in our language, in our clothing, in our views. We want to disguise ourselves., ignoring that we can never hide from God. Returning to I Samuel 28, Saul requests the medium to call up Samuel the Prophet in verse 11. Samuel responds to Saul, saying that the king’s neglect of God’s will will result in Saul’s death and the deaths of his sons.

This returns to the point that Saul has problems taking God’s consequences seriously. He misleads the medium, and he has misled himself. Numbers 32:23 records the well-known passage that one’s sin will find him or her out. There is no escaping the consequences of sin. Additionally, Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 concludes the book regarding the purpose of life, and the final verse is a warning that God will bring every deed – open and hidden – into judgment. In speaking to Saul, Samuel reminds Saul of the warnings he gave, the consequences the king was earning. Finally, Revelation 20:11 describes the throne of judgment from which there is no place to hide. As Saul would learn, we will have to face the consequences for our sins if we continue to disregard God’s warnings.


We cannot follow this pattern set by Saul. We must completely put sin from our lives, and we cannot turn back to sin when we think we need it. We cannot make excuses, ignore the problem, or hide ourselves from God. Our Lord takes sin seriously. The question is, do we? Sin separates us from God, but He offers us reconciliation if we would just reject sin and turn to Him.

lesson by Tim Smelser