The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The First Book of Kings
It happened at this time that the Philistines mustered all their array, to levy war on Israel. Be sure of this, said Achis to David, that thou and thy men shall march at my side to battle.
Why then, David answered, thou shalt have proof, now, of thy servant’s worth. Prove it, said Achis, and it shall be thine to guard my person at all times.
This was after the time when Samuel died, and was buried at his home in Ramatha, with all Israel to mourn him; after the time when Saul purged the country of soothsayers and diviners.
The Philistines had joined their forces and marched to Sunam, where they encamped; and Saul, with the whole muster of Israel, went out to mount Gelboe to meet them;
but as he looked down on the Philistine camp he was dismayed, and sorely his heart misgave him.
When he consulted the Lord, no answer was sent him, by dream or priest or prophet;
and at last he bade his servants find him some woman that was an enchantress, so that he could go and question her. There is such a woman, they told him, living at Endor.
So he disguised himself, and put on other garments, and, with two of his men in attendance, visited the woman at dead of night. Use thy enchantments, said he, to bring up from the dead the man I name to thee.
Nay, said she, thou knowest well how Saul has been at pains to rid the country of diviners and soothsayers; why wouldst thou entrap a poor soul, to bring her to her death?
But Saul swore to her, As the Lord is a living God, no harm shall befall thee.
And when she asked whom he would have brought up from the dead, he said, Bring up Samuel for me.
No sooner did Samuel appear to her, than the woman cried aloud, What is this trick thou hast played on me? Thou thyself art Saul!
But the king bade her have no fear, and asked what it was she had seen. It seemed, she told him, as if gods were coming up from beneath the earth.✻
What form is it thou seest? he asked. And she said, An old man has come up, wrapped in a cloak. Then Saul knew that it was Samuel, and he bowed his face to the earth, and did reverence.
Why hast thou disturbed my rest, Samuel asked, and brought me to earth again? I am hard pressed, Saul told him; the Philistines are levying war on me, and the Lord has forsaken me, giving me no answer by prophet or by dream; and I have summoned thee to tell me how I am to make shift.
Nay, answered Samuel, what need to ask? The Lord has forsaken thee, and gone over to one that is thy rival.
He means to make good the threat I uttered in his name, that he would snatch the kingdom from thy hand, and give it to another; it was of David he spoke.
And thy plight this day is the punishment the Lord sends thee for disobeying his command, instead of executing his vengeance on Amalec;
over thee and all Israel he will give the Philistines mastery. To-morrow, thou and thy sons will be with me, and the Lord will leave the camp of Israel at the mercy of the Philistines.
With that, Saul fell his full length on the ground, so daunted was he by Samuel’s words, so weak from taking no food all that day.
The woman went to his side, seeing him thus overcome; My lord, she said, I obeyed thee at the peril of my life, and since I have so humoured thee,
wilt thou not humour this handmaid of thine, by letting her set a mouthful of food before thee, to give thee strength for thy journey by the eating of it?
But he refused to take any food, until his servants and the woman together put constraint on him; then at last he rose from the ground and sat on the bed.
The woman had a calf by her that she had fattened; this she killed without more ado, took flour and kneaded it and baked it without leaven,
and so she gave Saul and his men their meal. When they had eaten it they rose to go, and on they journeyed the whole night through.
The Holy Bible