King Saul and the Witch of Endor
Question: In the book of 1Samuel, it states the witch of Endor conjured up the prophet Samuel for King Saul. By whose power did she do this?
Answer: The city of Endor, where the witch was located, is in the Northern part of the land God gave to the Israelite tribe of Issachar. It was a city, however, assigned to the tribe of Manasseh (Joshua 17:11).
The first question to ask is how did this first human king of Israel, selected by God, got to a point where he would use the services of a witch? Although his rule started out well, he soon began to have troubles. He disobeyed God's law when he offered burnt and peace offerings before a battle, a responsibility given only to priests (1Samuel 13:7 - 14). His punishment for this action was that his descendants would not rule Israel.
Saul later disobeyed the Eternal and lied to Samuel when, instead of killing all the Amalekites and destroying all their possessions, he kept the evil Amalekite king alive and tried to take the best of the animals for himself (1Samuel 15:1 - 26). Additionally, the spirit of the Lord which was upon Saul was soon taken from him and he began to be troubled by an evil spirit (1Samuel 16:14). David's rise in popularity (1Samuel 18:7) leads Saul to fits of rage and revenge against him. Sometime later, his friend and mentor Samuel dies (1Samuel 28:3).
King Saul unsuccessfully tried to consult God regarding his upcoming battle with the Philistines through the accepted means of the Urim and the prophets (1Samuel 28:6). He was now clearly a troubled, rejected man who desperately wanted counsel regarding what he should do next. It is at this point in his life he seeks to contact the prophet through a woman who had a 'familiar spirit,' a witch of the city of Endor.
Saul disguised himself in order to meet with the witch. When he finally visited her in secret, he asked her to contact the dead spirit of Samuel.