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

* The article below is an excerpt from the above Sefer

Chapter 28: Shaul consults with a woman who practices Ov

1.      The Philistines prepared to battle the Jewish people with the “help” of Dovid:

  • It was in those days that the Philistines gathered their army together to fight against Israel. Akish their king said to Dovid that he assumes that Dovid and his men will follow him into the battlefield [to fight against the Jewish people]. Dovid replied to Akish connivingly that he will see what wonders he will do for him. So Akish said to Dovid that if that is the case then he will appoint him as the eternal personal guard.

1.      Israel and the Philistines prepare for war:

  • Shmuel dies: Shmuel had died and all the Jewish people had eulogized him and buried him in Ramah in his city. [This information is repeated in order to inform us of the reason for why Shaul needed to seek out an Ov to tell him prophecy, as Shmuel was no longer alive.[1]]
  • The annihilation of the Ovos and Yidoni: At that time Shaul had already managed to annihilate all of the [prophets of witchcraft] Ovos and Yidoni from the land of Israel.
  • The positions of the Israeli and Philistine army: The Philistines gathered their army in the area of Shuname while Shaul had gathered all the Jewish people in Gilboa.
  • Shaul is overtaken by fear of the war: Shaul looked and saw [the great army of[2]] the Philistines and his heart became filled with trepidation.
  • Shaul consults with G-d with no success: Shaul tried to consult with G-d and G-d did not answer neither in his dreams, nor through the Urim Vetumim and nor through the prophets.


2.      Shaul seeks a woman who practices Ov to bring up the soul of Shmuel:

  • Shaul turned to his servants and asked them to find him a woman who was a master in the Ov necromancy so that they can go to her and seek guidance from her [to arouse the dead]. His servants said to him that indeed there is a woman who is a master of the Ov necromancy found in the city of Ein Dor. [The sages teach that this woman was none other than the wife of Tzefanya, the mother of Avner.[3]]
  • Shaul disguises himself and arrives to the woman who practices Ov: Shaul disguised himself with common [non-kingly[4]] garments. He and another two men went towards the woman at night and said to her that they are seeking her help to perform the Ov sorcery and to bring up the soul of a certain dead person that they would like to converse with. The woman replied to him, “I am sure that you very well know that which Shaul has done to annihilate all those who practice Ov and Yidoni from the land. Why then do you come here to look for reasons to take my life and set me up to be put to death?” Shaul then swore to her by the name of G-d saying, “I swear to you by the life of G-d that no punishment will occur to you due to this [as I will not reveal it to anyone[5]].” So, the woman asked him as to which person he wants her to bring up from the dead for him to speak with, and Shaul replied that he wants her to bring up the soul of Shmuel the prophet.


[1] Rashi and Mefarshim 27:3

[2] Metzudos Dovid 28:5

[3] Radak 28:7

[4] Radak 28:8

[5] Pirush Rabbeinu Yeshaya 28:10

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