I Sam. 28:3-25; 31:1-13; I Chron. 10:1-14
The lowest state of soul that a man can reach is to be separated from God. Saul, king of Israel had found himself to be in that condition. The Philistines were making war against Israel and the Lord had refused to hear his pleas for guidance.
Sorcery was forbidden by the Law of Moses and was punishable by death. In years past, Saul had expelled those who practiced witchcraft from the land. Since he could not get God to respond to his call for advice regarding the Philistines, he resorted to the forbidden medium.
The medium of En Dor seemed to be in retirement because she feared for her life when asked to conduct a séance for her visitor. There is much trickery in sorcery and the woman was greatly surprised when the dead prophet, Samuel appeared. She then realized that her “client” was Saul and felt even more danger for her life. The king reassured her of her safety, but the news for Saul was devastating to him.
Samuel rebuked Saul for disturbing him. The king stated his case and the spirit of Samuel reminded him of his rebellion against God regarding Amalek. His punishment had been set at that time and it was too late for it to change. Samuel’s final prophecy revealed that Saul and his sons would die the next day and that Israel would fall to the Philistines.
Saul had not eaten that day. His physical and emotional conditions caused him to faint at the words from Samuel. After having been served a meal by the medium, he and his men went away.
The Philistines fought against Saul and the men of Israel at Mount Gilboa. During the intense fighting, Saul’s sons Jonathan, Abinadab and Malchishua were killed. Saul was then severely wounded. In order that he not be captured and tortured by the Philistines, Saul ordered his armor-bearer to end his life with his sword. He refused out of fear and after seeing Saul fall upon his own sword, the armor-bearer killed himself. Saul and all of the men close to him died that day. The remainder of his army fled, leaving the land open for the Philistines to move in.
As a symbol of their victory, the Philistines beheaded the body of Saul, took his armor and fastened his body and his son’s bodies to the wall of Beth Shan. Saul’s armor was displayed in the temple of the Philistine idols.
Years earlier, Saul had liberated Jabesh Gilead. As a final act of respect and tribute, men from Jabesh Gilead came and removed their bodies. Due to the condition of the bodies they were burned and their bones buried “under the tamarisk tree at Jabesh.”