- The conference between Achish and David, verse 1-2.
- The preparation of the Philistines, and the distress of Saul, verse 3-6.
- He applies to a woman which had a familiar spirit, to raise Samuel, verse 7-11.
- Samuel appears, and foretells his defeat and death, verse 12-19.
- Saul faints, and is with difficulty persuaded to take any sustenance, verse 20-25.
Can do - He speaks ambiguously, as he did before.
He trembled - Had he kept close to God, he needed not fear all the armies of the Philistines.
That hath, &c. - One that converseth with the devil, or dead men's ghosts, and by them can discover future things. See Isaiah 8:19.
Disguised - Both because he was ashamed to be known, or thought guilty of this practice; and because he suspected, the woman, had she known him, would not practice her art before him.
Samuel - Whose kindness and compassion as he had formerly experienced, so now he expected it in his deep distress. This practice of divination by the dead, or the souls of dead persons, was very usual among all nations.
Saw Samuel - The words are express, the woman saw Samuel, instead of the spirit whom she expected to see, God ordering it so for his own glory. She cried with a loud voice - Terrified and astonished, and thence easily conjectured, whom she had been talking with.
Gods - That is, a god, and divine person, glorious, and full of majesty and splendor, exceeding not only mortal men, but common ghosts. She used the plural number, gods, either after the manner of the Hebrew language, which commonly uses that word of one person: or, after the language and custom of the heathens.
A mantle - The usual habit of prophets, and particularly of Samuel, chap. 15:27. If it was not Samuel, but an other spirit in his shape, it is not true, that Saul perceived it was Samuel. It seems Saul did not see him, so soon as the woman, which occasioned his asking those questions.
Called Samuel - Happy had it been, if he had called Samuel sooner, or rather the God of Samuel! It was now too late: destruction was at hand and God had determined, it should not be stayed.
To him - To David.
Tomorrow shalt thou and thy sons be with me:
"What do these solemn words portend? A gleam of hope when life shall end. Thou and thy sons, tho' slain shall be To-morrow in repose with me. Not in a state of health or pain If Saul with Samuel doth remain; Not in a state of damn'd despair, If loving Jonathan is there."
Tho' these words may only mean, ye shall surely die, without any reference to the state of their souls after death. See note on "1Sa 31:8"|
Fell - As if the Archers of the Philistines had already hit him, and there was no strength in him, to bear up against these heavy tidings: especially, as we cannot doubt, but all his past sins were now brought to his remembrance and what authority has any man to affirm, that he felt no contrition all this time? Altho' it did not seem good to the holy ghost, to leave it upon record?
Came to Saul - From whom she departed, when she had brought him and Samuel together, that they might more freely converse together.
Unleavened - Not having time to leaven it.