1 Samuel 26:1-28:25, Luke 9:1-17
Thought from Today’s Old Testament Passage:
Did Samuel really appear to Saul? Did Saul actually talk with him in the witch’s cave? There is little doubt that satanic powers are able to produce illusionary images and communicate with the living by this means…. On the other hand, it certainly lies within God’s power as well to present an appearance for the purpose of conveying His message by a special revelation.
The oracle delivered by this shade or apparition sounded like an authentic message from God, with its announcement of doom on the guilty, unfaithful king…. Therefore it is entirely possible that this apparition was the actual shade of Samuel himself.
On the other hand, it should be observed that the witch herself was quite startled by this ghostly visitor, as she said, “I see a god [Heb. elohim] coming up out of the earth” (1 Sam. 28:13). This clearly implies that this authentic appearance of the dead (if such it was) was no result of her own witchcraft; rather, it was an act of God Himself that terrified her and that she had in no sense brought about in her own power. It would seem that God chose this particular occasion and setting to give His final word to the evil king who had once served His cause with courage and zeal. No scriptural basis for spiritism is furnished by this episode, or for necromancy—both of which are sternly condemned as abominations before the Lord (Deut. 18:9-12; Ex. 22:18; Lev. 19:26, 31; 20:6, 27; Jer. 27:9-10).
Gleason L. Archer, Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1982), pages 180-181