New Defender's Study Bible Notes
28:2 what thy servant can do. David’s reply to Achish was intentionally ambiguous. He was in a serious dilemma, not wanting to fight his own people, yet not able openly to reject Achish. He also felt a real loyalty to Achish for giving him a safe refuge against Saul.
28:6 nor by Urim, nor by prophets. Saul had slain the priests (I Samuel 22:18), so did not have the Urim and Thummim to consult, and the prophet Samuel was dead, also.
28:7 familiar spirit. Communication with spirits is evidently as old as history, but has been strictly forbidden by God (Deuteronomy 18:9-14). The entities called forth by spirit mediums (a process called “channeling” in the New Age movement) are not the spirits of deceased human beings, as often claimed, but are evil spirits, or demons, under the direction of Satan. When a spirit controls the body of a medium, essentially the body is demon possessed. Any “guidance” from such a source will inevitably be deceptive and dangerous, leading the one so deceived still further from the Lord.
28:12 the woman saw Samuel. The “witch of En-dor” undoubtedly expected to call up her own “familiar spirit,” who could feign a message from Samuel. God, however, actually allowed Samuel’s own spirit to return to deliver one final message of condemnation to rebellious Saul. This is why the woman screamed out in shock and fear; her channeling had never before communicated with the departed spirits of real humans.
28:19 be with me. This incursion of Saul into the forbidden arts was the last straw and was the reason why God let him be slain the next day (I Chronicles 10:13-14).