Verses 1, 2 – Achish’s request put David in a difficult position. David, however, never had to solve this dilemma because God protected him. The other Philistine leaders objected to his presence in battle; thus, he didn’t have to fight.
Verses 3-6 – Samuel had died and Saul had put all the mediums out of the land so he decided to ask God what to do. Saul may have not expected an answer from God. The text says God didn’t answer him. How sad. There’s nothing worse than dead silence when you pray and need an answer. Although Saul had removed the witchcraft from the land, he hadn’t dealt with the rebellion (witchcraft) in his own heart. Knowing what is right and condemning what is wrong does not take the place of actually doing what is right.
Verse 7, 8 – God had forbidden the Israelites to have anything to do with divination, sorcery, witchcraft, mediums, spiritualists, or anyone who consults the dead (Deuteronomy 18:9-14). In fact, sorcerers were to be put to death (Exodus 22:18). People would turn to the occult for answers God would not give. God does not reveal His will to Satan and his demons.
Verse 12 – First of all, Satan did not bring Samuel back from the dead. He does not possess that power. God brought Samuel back to give Saul a prediction regarding Saul’s fate, which Saul already knew. In no way does this episode condone contacting and communicating with the dead. God is against all such practices (Galatians 5:19-21).
Verse 15 – God didn’t answer Saul’s appeals because Saul had not followed God’s previous directions. Sometimes we wonder why our prayers are not answered. Maybe it’s because we haven’t fulfilled the responsibility God has already given. We shouldn’t be too surprised when God doesn’t give us further instruction.
Verse 18 – The words of Samuels’s spirit, “You did not obey the Lord,” is a reference to chapter 15:1-3, 7-9 when Saul failed to kill Amalek.
Verse 19 – The words of Samuel’s spirit, “You and your sons will be with me,” was a verdict of death on Saul and his house.
Verse 25 – The six-mile return journey would bring more stress on Saul, and he would not be prepared for the battle the next day.