Chapter 27 picks up after Saul has blessed David and allowed him, again, to go on his way. David does, and having no trust in Saul’s ability to keep his word, he runs again to the Philistines.
The last time he went to Achish, David was a lone fugitive and the Philistine king would have had every reason to distrust this giant slayer. Now, David has been running from Achish’s enemy for some time, his militia could pose its own threat to the Philistines, yet alternatively could provide some free security on the frontier. David even appears to shift his loyalties, and Achish observes, “He has made himself an utter stench to his people Israel; therefore he shall always be my servant…”
Meanwhile, Achish and his fellow kings of the Philistines gather their forces for war… against Israel, and this is where the real meaty story happens today. As Saul looked out on the forces of the Philistines, his heart trembled greatly. He inquired of the LORD and received no response – which is no wonder given his extermination of the LORD’s priests at Nob. The author reminds us – curiously it seems – that Samuel is not available either.
So Saul is alone, cut off from the God who had enthroned him, from the prophet who had installed him, and from the soldier who had won so many battles for him. And so he turns to a medium, a necromancer – the Medium at En-dor.
The dialogue in their nighttime encounter bursts to fullness. The Medium tells a disguised Saul that she wants no part of crossing the king. Saul assures that no harm will come to her – which is a blasphemous promise on the LORD’s behalf. Saul asks to speak to the one man who always gave it to him straight. And to even the Medium’s horror, he arrives.
Just what is happening here, the author refuses to speculate. The story is presented with no secret meanings or turns of phrase. The Medium shrieks. Saul knew that it was Samuel. The spirit knows Saul’s story, and knows the LORD has abandoned him. And most importantly, he knows Saul’s future: not only will he lose the kingdom, but “moreover, the LORD will give Israel also with you into the hand of the Philistines…”
Our verse for this week is Romans 6:23: For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
1 Samuel 27 and 28. Now let’s read it!
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.