1 Samuel 28:19
Moreover the LORD will also deliver Israel with you into the hand of the Philistines: and to morrow shall you and your sons be with me: the LORD also shall deliver the host of Israel into the hand of the Philistines.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(19) Moreover the Lord will also deliver Israel . . . into the hands of the Philistines.—Three crushing judgments, which were to come directly upon Saul, are contained in the prophet’s words related in this 19th verse. (a) The utter defeat of the army of Israel. (b) The violent death of Saul himself and his two sons in the course of the impending fight. (c) The sacking of the Israelitish camp, which was to follow the defeat, and which would terribly augment the horrors and disasters of the rout of the king’s army.

“This overthrow of the people was to heighten Saul’s misery, when he saw the people plunged with him into ruin through his sin.”—O. von Gerlach.

To morrow shalt thou and thy sons be with me.—The Hebrew word here rendered “to morrow,” machar, need not signify “the next day,” but some near future time. In saying “thou shalt be with me,” Samuel does not pronounce Saul’s final condemnation, for he had no mission to do so, but rather draws him by his tenderness to a better mind. He uses a mild and charitable expression, applicable to all, good and bad, “Thou shalt be as I am: no longer among the living.” In the vision of the world of spirits, revealed to us by our blessed Lord, the souls of Dives and Lazarus may be said to be together in the abode of the departed spirits, for Dives saw Lazarus, and conversed with Abraham, though there was a gulf fixed between them. “If Samuel had said to Saul, ‘Thou shalt be among the damned,’ he would have crushed him with a weight of despair, and have hardened him in his impenitence; but by using this gentler expression, he mildly exhorted him to repentance. While there was life there was hope: the door was still open.”—Bishop Wordsworth.

“Shalt thou be with me” does not refer to an equality in bliss, but to a like condition of death.—St. Augustine. Augustine here means that to-morrow Saul would be “a shade,” like to what Samuel then was; he says, however, nothing respecting Saul’s enjoying bliss like that which he (Samuel) was doubtless then enjoying.

The host.—“Host” here should be rendered camp. The meaning, then, of the whole verse would be: first, there would be a total defeat of the royal army; secondly, Saul and his sons would fall; thirdly, the rout would be followed by the sack of the camp of Israel, and its attendant horrors.

1 Samuel 28:19. Moreover, the Lord will also deliver, &c. — Samuel here predicts three things: 1st, That the Lord would deliver Israel, with Saul, into the hand of the Philistines. 2d, That Saul and his sons (namely, the three that were with him in the camp) should be with him, that is, should, like him, be in the state of the dead, or another world. 3d, That this should take place on the morrow. Now as no evil spirit or impostor of any kind could possibly know these particulars, which were all exactly accomplished next day, nor even Samuel himself, unless he had been divinely inspired with the knowledge of them, it is surprising that any person should imagine that this appearance of Samuel was either a human or diabolical imposture; for it is evident it could only proceed from the omniscient God. And if we consider the whole attentively, we may see a peculiar propriety in it. When Samuel denounced God’s judgments upon Saul he was clad in a mantle, which Saul tore on that occasion. He now came to repeat and to ratify the sentence then denounced; and, to strike him with fuller conviction, he appears in the same dress, the same mantle, in which he denounced that sentence. And since he now again denounced a rending of the kingdom from Saul’s posterity, why may we not presume that the mantle showed now the same rent which was the emblem of that rending? Is it irrational to suppose that when he spoke of this he held up the mantle and pointed to the rent? It is well known the prophets were men of much action in their speaking, and often illustrated their predictions by emblems. It may be observed further, that although Samuel in his lifetime often reproved Saul for his guilt, and told him that God had given away his kingdom from him for that guilt; yet he never told him to whom, nor when the sentence should be executed upon him. How proper, then, to raise from the dead the same prophet who predicted that sentence, to confirm it; to tell him that the kingdom should be taken from him that day; and to name the very person to whom it should be given; to show by whom, and where, and how the sentence should be executed; and that the execution of it was instant, and should be deferred no longer. Was not this an occasion worthy of the divine interposition? The son of Sirach, who probably had as much wisdom, penetration, and piety, as any critic that came after him, is clearly of opinion with the sacred historian, that it was Samuel himself who foretold the fate of Saul and his house in this interview. And it is no ill presumption that his judgment was also that of the Jewish Church upon this head. It has been a question with some, whether the Jews had any belief in the immortality of the soul? This history is a full decision upon that point, and perhaps the establishment of that truth upon the foot of sensible evidence, was not the lowest end of Samuel’s appearance upon this occasion. See Delaney.28:7-19 When we go from the plain path of duty, every thing draws us further aside, and increases our perplexity and temptation. Saul desires the woman to bring one from the dead, with whom he wished to speak; this was expressly forbidden, De 18:11. All real or pretended witchcraft or conjuration, is a malicious or an ignorant attempt to gain knowledge or help from some creature, when it cannot be had from the Lord in the path of duty. While Samuel was living, we never read of Saul's going to advise with him in any difficulties; it had been well for him if he had. But now he is dead, Bring me up Samuel. Many who despise and persecute God's saints and ministers when living, would be glad to have them again, when they are gone. The whole shows that it was no human fraud or trick. Though the woman could not cause Samuel's being sent, yet Saul's inquiry might be the occasion of it. The woman's surprise and terror proved that it was an unusual and unexpected appearance. Saul had despised Samuel's solemn warnings in his lifetime, yet now that he hoped, as in defiance of God, to obtain some counsel and encouragement from him, might not God permit the soul of his departed prophet to appear to Saul, to confirm his former sentence, and denounce his doom? The expression, Thou and thy sons shall be with me, means no more than that they shall be in the eternal world. There appears much solemnity in God's permitting the soul of a departed prophet to come as a witness from heaven, to confirm the word he had spoken on earth.Rather, "will deliver Israel also." Saul had not only brought ruin upon his own house but upon Israel also; and when Saul and Jonathan fell the camp (not "host") would be plundered by the conquerors 1 Samuel 31:8; 2 Samuel 1:10. 8-14. bring me him up, whom I shall name unto thee—This pythoness united to the arts of divination a claim to be a necromancer (De 18:11); and it was her supposed power in calling back the dead of which Saul was desirous to avail himself. Though she at first refused to listen to his request, she accepted his pledge that no risk would be incurred by her compliance. It is probable that his extraordinary stature, the deference paid him by his attendants, the easy distance of his camp from En-dor, and the proposal to call up the great prophet and first magistrate in Israel (a proposal which no private individual would venture to make), had awakened her suspicions as to the true character and rank of her visitor. The story has led to much discussion whether there was a real appearance of Samuel or not. On the one hand, the woman's profession, which was forbidden by the divine law, the refusal of God to answer Saul by any divinely constituted means, the well-known age, figure, and dress of Samuel, which she could easily represent herself, or by an accomplice—his apparition being evidently at some distance, being muffled, and not actually seen by Saul, whose attitude of prostrate homage, moreover, must have prevented him distinguishing the person though he had been near, and the voice seemingly issuing out of the ground, and coming along to Saul—and the vagueness of the information, imparted much which might have been reached by natural conjecture as to the probable result of the approaching conflict—the woman's representation—all of this has led many to think that this was a mere deception. On the other hand, many eminent writers (considering that the apparition came before her arts were put in practice; that she herself was surprised and alarmed; that the prediction of Saul's own death and the defeat of his forces was confidently made), are of opinion that Samuel really appeared. With me, i.e. in the state of the dead; and so it was true both of Saul and Jonathan. Or, in the state of rest; for though thou shalt suffer here for thy sin, yet after death thou shalt be happy, as dying in the Lord’s quarrel: so the devil’s design might be to flatter Saul into an opinion of his own future happiness, and to take him off from all serious thoughts and cares about it. And it is here observable, that as it was the manner of the heathen oracles to answer ambiguously, the better to save his credit in case of mistake; (the devil himself not being certain of future events, but only conjecturing at what was most likely;) so doth this counterfeit Samuel here. For, as concerning the time, he says

to-morrow; which he understood indifferently for the very next day, or for some short time after. And, as concerning the condition,

thou shalt be with me; which may be understood either of a good condition, if understood as spoken in the person of Samuel; or of a bad condition, if understood as spoken by an evil spirit; or at least indefinitely of a dead condition, be it good or evil; which last he foresaw by circumstances to be very likely. Moreover, the Lord will also deliver Israel with thee into the hands of the Philistines,.... Not a word of comfort does he speak unto him, it being the business of this foul spirit to drive him to despair by the permission of God; had he been the true Samuel, he would have directed him to have altered his course of life, and especially his behaviour toward David, and advised him in those difficulties to send for him, who might have been of singular use unto him; he would have exhorted him to repentance for his sins, and humiliation before God on account of them, and given him hope on this that God would appear for him, and work deliverance, as he had done; but instead of this tells him, that he and his army would be delivered into the hands of the Philistines, which he might make a shrewd guess at, and venture to say from the circumstances of things, and the situation Saul and his people were in; the armies of the Philistines were very numerous, and those of Israel comparatively weak; Saul was quite dispirited, and God had forsaken him:

and tomorrow shalt thou and thy sons be with me; which if understood in what sense it may, seems to be a lie of the devil, and at best an ambiguous expression, such as he has been wont to give in the Heathen oracles; if he meant this of himself as an evil spirit, it could not be true of Saul and all his sons, that they should be with him in hell, especially of Jonathan who appears throughout the whole of his life to have been a good man; if he would have it understood of him as representing Samuel, and of their being with him in heaven, it must be a great stretch of charity to believe it true of Saul, so wicked a man, and who died in the act of suicide; though the Jews (k), some of them, understand it in this sense, that his sins were pardoned, and he was saved; and if it is taken in the sense of being in the state of the dead, and in the earth, from whence he is said to ascend, and where the body of Samuel was, which seems to be the best sense that is put upon the phrase, "with me"; yet this was not true, if he meant it of all the sons of Saul, as the expression seems to suggest; for there were Ishbosheth, and his two sons by Rizpah, which survived him; nor was it true of Saul and his sons that they were cut off, and that they died the next day; for the battle was not fought till several days after this, see 1 Samuel 28:23; if it should be said, that "tomorrow" signifies some future time, and not strictly the next day, this shows the ambiguity of the expression used, and the insignificance of it to the present purpose; for who knew not that Saul and his sons would die some time or another?

the Lord also shall deliver the host of Israel into the hand of the Philistines; which is only a repetition of what is said in the first clause.

(k) T. Bab. Beracot, fol. 12. 2.

Moreover the LORD will also deliver Israel with thee into the hand of the Philistines: {h} and to morrow shalt thou and thy sons be with me: the LORD also shall deliver the host of Israel into the hand of the Philistines.

(h) You will die, 1Sa 31:6.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
19. will also deliver Israel] Will deliver Israel also. The guilt of the king involves the nation also in punishment. In this clause the impending disaster is foretold generally; in the second and third clauses it is further defined as the death of the king and the defeat of the army.

with me] In Sheôl or Hades, the abode of departed spirits of righteous and wicked alike. Cp. Job 3:17; 2 Samuel 12:23.The king quieted her fear, and then asked her what she had seen; whereupon she gave him a fuller description of the apparition: "I saw a celestial being come up from the earth." Elohim does not signify gods here, nor yet God; still less an angel or a ghost, or even a person of superior rank, but a celestial (super-terrestrial), heavenly, or spiritual being.
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