1 Samuel 28 Commentary

Another Philistine-Israelite war (28:1-29:11)

When the Philistines set out to attack Israel, Achish made David and his troops his personal bodyguard (28:1-2). Back in Israel, Saul was terrified. He asked God what he should do, but God refused to show him (3-6). So he went to a woman who consulted the spirits of the dead, hoping that through her he could get directions from Samuel (7-14).

Samuel spoke to Saul from the world of the dead, but he gave him neither comfort nor help. He merely confirmed what he had told Saul earlier concerning God’s rejection of him. He made it clear that David was the man God had chosen to succeed him, and added that Saul and his sons would die in the coming battle (15-19). Saul was now more terrified than ever, but the woman gave him some food to help strengthen him for the fight ahead (20-25).

The Philistine leaders also had their problems. The four rulers who shared the military command with Achish were suspicious when they saw David with six hundred Israelites among their own forces. They well knew of David’s previous victories over the Philistines, and suspected that David and his men might turn against the Philistines during the battle (29:1-5). They therefore sent David and his men back to Ziklag. David was disappointed at this, for he had possibly planned to do what the Philistine leaders suspected he would do. At the same time the Philistine leaders may have saved David from an act of folly, because if he had fought in war against his own people, they would hardly want to accept him as their king (6-11).

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