“And when the woman saw Samuel, she cried with a loud voice: And the woman spoke to Saul, saying, ‘Why hast thou deceived me? for thou art Saul’” (I Samuel 28:12).
It was the night before Saul’s death, and the Philistines were at hand. Furthermore, the Lord had departed from Saul (I Samuel 28:16) and already David had been anointed (I Samuel 16:13) the next king. Samuel, as judge and prophet, had anointed Saul as King (I Samuel 10:1) in response to the people’s desire for a king (v.19). But Saul disobeyed by not utterly destroying the Amalekites and their livestock (15:9). For this grievous disobedience, Samuel had to tell Saul of the impending end of his reign. What he told Saul bears on our study verse above. “For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the Word of the LORD, He hath also rejected thee from being king” (v.23).
With that backdrop, we come to the unbelievable plight of one utterly broken by the hand of the Lord. Saul's forces are to fight the Philistines once more. Samuel is dead (I Samuel 25:1); the Spirit of the Lord has departed from Saul (I Samuel 16:14); and David has already been anointed to take Saul's place as king. Saul, in desperation, searches out a witch to bring back Samuel from his grave to advise him as to what he should do, but Samuel confirms the defeat of Israel and the death of Saul and his sons on the following day (28:18,19).
What shame had come upon God’s appointed king; yet this is the same fundamental plight which God gives to all who disobey His Word. On the other hand, to those who heed it—to those who obey His Word and keep His covenant: They “shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people” (Exodus 19:5). KBC