Daily Tanach Shmuel 1 Chapter 28 Part 2: Shaul consults with a woman who practices Ov

* The article below is an excerpt from the above Sefer
  • The soul of Shmuel is aroused through necromancy: [The woman performed her sorcery and aroused the soul of Shmuel.] When she saw Shmuel, she let out a great cry [of panic[1], as she saw that Shmuel showed respect towards Shaul from which she concluded that he must be the king[2]] and she then confronted Shaul saying, “Why did you fool me, you are Shaul.” The king replied to her that she should not fear [as he already swore that he would not kill her[3]]. He then asked her as to what she saw [to be able to tell that he was the king[4], as the way that this sorcery works is that the asker can hear but not see, while the person who did this sorcery can see but not hear[5]]. She replied that she had seen [men of[6]] G-d going up from the earth [in a way different than usual, as commonly they are erected feet first and here, he was erected headfirst which must be due to the honor and respect that he is paying to the king[7]]. [In addition to arousing the soul of Shmuel, the soul of Moshe was also aroused.[8]] Shaul asked her as to what the man looked like, and she replied that an old man has been erected and he is wearing a coat. At that moment Shaul knew that it indeed was Shmuel, and he prostrated himself and bowed his face onto the ground.

1.      Shmuel converses with Shaul:

  • Shmuel confronts Shaul: Shmuel said to Shaul, “Why have you frightened me to bring me up today [from my place of rest in the heavenly world’s, making me think that today is the great day of judgment on earth and I was being called up for my judgment[9]]?”
  • Shaul defends himself: Shaul replied, “I am in a great state of distress as the Philistines have come to fight against me and G-d has left me and does not answer me anymore. I asked him through the prophets and through dreams but have received no reply from Him. Therefore, I had no choice but to call you, so you can let me know what to do.” [However, due to the shame of having annihilated the city of Nov, Shaul did not mention that he had also consulted with the Urim Vetumim and did not receive a reply.[10] This shame awarded Shaul with a portion of the world to come, and from here we learn that whoever is ashamed of his sin that he committed is forgiven.[11]]
  • Shmuel tells Shaul that he, his son, and the Jewish people will fall in battle to the Philistines: Shmuel replied to him, “Why then do you ask me if G-d has left you, and has become a help for your enemy [Dovid[12]]? G-d will do to you as he spoke to me and he will tear your monarchy from your hands and hand it over to your colleague Dovid. Being that you did not listen to the instructions of G-d and you did not take proper vengeance against Amaleik therefore this is happening to you today, as G-d is taking retribution against you on this day. Tomorrow, G-d will hand you and the Jewish people into the hands of the Philistines. You and your son will die and be with me [in my portion in the garden of Eden[13]] and the armies of Israel will be handed to the Philistines.”

2.      Shaul faints on the floor and is unable to get up:

  • Shaul hurried [to prostrate himself before Shmuel] and he fell on his face onto the ground as he was petrified by the words that he had heard from Shmuel. He had no energy [to even stand up from the ground[14]] being that he did not eat bread that entire day and that entire night.
  • The woman approached Shaul after seeing that he was in a state of shock and she said to him, “Your maidservant has listened to your voice and I placed my life on the line to follow your instructions that you spoke to me [as you have decided to kill anyone who practices Ov[15]]. Now, please listen to the instructions of your maidservant and I will place before you bread for you to eat in order so you have energy so you can go on your way.”
  • Shaul however refused to listen and said that he will not eat. So, his servants as well as the woman pressed upon them to eat bread and finally, he listened to their voice and he got up from the ground and sat on the bed [to eat]. The woman had a fattened calf in the house, and she hurried and slaughtered it [to provide them with meat]. She also took flour and kneaded it and baked Matzos. She served the food before Shaul and before his servants and they ate the food.
  • After they finished eating, they got up and left that same night.


[1] Radak 28:12

[2] See Rashi 28:12

[3] Radak 28:12

[4] Radak 28:12

[5] Rashi 28:14; Metzudos Dovid 28:12; Tanchuma Emor 2

[6] Radak and Metzudos Dovid 28:13

[7] Rashi and all Mefarshim 28:12

[8] Rashi and Radak 28:13; However, see Rashi there that it was Shmuel who brought Moshe along as he feared he was being brought up for judgment, while according to the Radak it was the woman who aroused also the soul of Moshe so that he asks for mercy on behalf of the Jewish people

[9] Rada 28:15k

[10] Rashi and other Mefarshim 28:15

[11] Radak 28:19

[12] Metzudos Dovid 28:16

[13] See Rashi and other Mefarshim 28:19; See Radak ibid that Samuel informed him that in the merit of him dying in battle to the Philistines his sin of killing the city of Nov will be forgiven and he will merit a portion of the world to come.

[14] Radak 28:20

[15] Radak 28:21

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