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Great Nights of the Bible (7 of 16)
The Night with the Medium
Clarence E. Macartney
1 Sam. 28:8
By night! And, as we shall see from him who came, it
was night in two ways-night in that the day was over
and the sun was gone, but night also in that darkness
had come down over the soul. John said of Judas that
when he went out "it was night." Perhaps John meant
only the time of the day. But reading his narrative we
know that for Judas it was a night that knew no
morning. So it was for this great man of the Old
Testament who came to the woman by night.
Gilboa's mountain is wrapped in gloom. Far off in the
distant valley there is the occasional flash of a
torch, and now and then on the evening wind comes the
faint echo of a trumpet in the camp of the army of the
Philistines. Here on this side of the mountain is a
cavern, and by the mouth of the cave sits a venerable
witch, a woman with a "familiar spirit" who has, or
claims to have, power over the unseen world.
Suddenly, as the woman sits by her steaming caldron,
there appears at the mouth of the cave a man of great
stature accompanied by two other men, all of them in
complete disguise. The cautious witch reminds her
visitors of the royal commandment against the trade of
the soothsayer and the death penalty upon those who
invoke the dead. But the tall stranger guarantees her
protection and safety. "As the Lord liveth," he says
to her, "there shall no punishment happen to thee for
this thing." Then the woman asks, "Whom shall I bring
up unto thee?" Her visitor, who is the disguised king
of Israel, Saul, answers, "Bring me up Samuel."
The witch went through her ritual and incantations,
and then to her amazement and terror Samuel himself
appeared. The woman then knew that her client was none
other than King Saul. The king, who apparently at
first either did not see Samuel or did not recognize
him, quieting her fears said to the woman, "What
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