Witches, Mediums & Magicians

Hi everyone! I am reading the Book of Samuel, and I came across a passage that explained how the witch of Endor summoned the spirit of Samuel.

Why did God give the power to witches, mediums & magicians to perform “miracles?” Were these “miracles” from demons? Also, why doesn’t God allow the summoning of spirits to occur today? Was there a purpose for His doing so in the OT?

I apologize for the many questions in one post!


Hello, @OJMCKEE! This is a really good question. I remember struggling with this when I came across it years ago.

What we have to understand is that God did not and does not give power to witches, mediums, and magicians to perform “miracles.” They draw their power from the darkness of demonic forces. This was just one of the reasons for which they were forbidden, the first and foremost reason being that the Israelites (along with us) were only to depend upon and trust in God and His power.

The next thing that is important to understand when we are reading our Bibles is that there are many different types of literature used through which to communicate. We cannot read all these different types in the same way. The books of Samuel, along with several other Old Testament books, are to be read as narratives. In narratives, not everything said or done is condoned or encouraged by God or even the author. In this instance, the point of the story is to show how low Saul went in rebelling against God. Saul had previously worked to rid all of Israel of these witches, mediums, magicians, etc, for the very reason that they are in rebellion against and opposed to God and His ways. Saul, in rejecting God’s silence in his ordeal for which he sought advice, rebelled against God by doing this wicked thing. God did not allow the summoning of the spirit in the way that He made it okay. Like He does with all of us, He allowed Saul the free will to reject and rebel against Him, and this was the result. God has never made (and never will) an allowance for the summoning of spirits.

I think my response for the previous questions covers this one, too. God allowed Saul the free will to disobey and rebel against Him. The spirit was summoned by demonic power. Romans 1:24-25 says that God hands over those who reject Him and His ways to the destruction of their own ways, which is what He did here with Saul.

There are other instances in the Bible in which there were feigned miracles, such as when Moses was showing signs to Pharaoh in Egypt to convince him to let the Hebrew people go. The royal magicians performed many of the same signs Moses did in “mock miracles,” or miracles that are demonic illusions meant to deceive.

Even in this instance with the raising of Samuel, the woman who supposedly conjured him was surprised (“there was a spirit coming up out of the earth”) and couldn’t even identify the spirit except for by description (even after Saul had already told her who he wanted her to conjure!) (1 Samuel 28:13-14). Suspicious? I’d say so!

Here is an article you might find helpful:

Here is another good one from Got Questions to take a look at:

Looking at a variety of resources is helpful, but I found these articles to be the best out of what I read from the search results.

Let me know what you think :slight_smile:


@psalm151ls I was not aware of the apparitions of Mary, nor of any other miracles being claimed today! Interesting (but disturbing)… I have never been a believer of witchcraft, Magic or miracles (other than the Divine miracles in the Bible), but after reading the Book of Samuel and being aware of Jesus’ warnings of false prophets and miracles, it has made me aware of the actual possibility of these happenings after all!


@OJMCKEE Great question :slight_smile: In this particular story, there is good reason to believe that the witch herself was shocked when Samuel actually showed up! She cries out in a loud voice and Saul has to tell her not to be afraid—which suggests that God is doing something that neither the witch nor Saul had planned.

For a Biblical look at spiritual warfare, I recommend Chip Ingram’s “Invisible War” series. It is free on YouTube. Christ grant you wisdom as you study the Word.

1 Samuel 28:12-14 -When the woman saw Samuel, she cried out at the top of her voice and said to Saul, “Why have you deceived me? You are Saul!”

13 The king said to her, “Don’t be afraid. What do you see?”

The woman said, “I see a ghostly figure coming up out of the earth.”

14 “What does he look like?” he asked.

It seems as if this experience was different from her usual practice of divining departed spirits. Why? Perhaps the narrator is mocking her. In my judgment the reason has to do with the wider context of Samuel. This particular story is an example of God bringing up the dead from Sheol (Samuel) and bringing down the living to Sheol (Saul), exalting the humble and abasing the proud.


Yes, they are there—but are nothing to worry about :slight_smile:. We have God’s Word by which to measure any experience. For instance, we know God would not endorse someone going to a medium to raise a spirit from the dead, because in His Word He has expressly prohibited that (Leviticus 19:31). Oh, and there was a verse that should have been in my first response that escaped me yesterday: “Saul died for his unfaithfulness which he had committed against the Lord, because he did not keep the word of the Lord, and also because he consulted a medium for guidance” (1 Chronicles 10:13, New King James Version). There was a question in the Bible Questions category recently in which someone asked how we can discern against the real and the counterfeit. Here is the thread:

I gave the same article as I gave to you here to sort of cover the bases a little better on this subject. But there are other comments there besides mine that are helpful.

Check out @SeanO’s response. He brought some good resources in, too :slight_smile:

Anyways, some more info in case it helps you further!


Along with this verse you might throw in the magicians of Pharaoh as they competed with the God of Moses. I would also like to add a link from a previous discussion on the witch of Endor that might give you a slightly different perspective.


@SeanO Thanks for the article link to “What’s Up with the Witch of Endor?” Love how Mr. Dempster tied the parable of the rich man and Lazarus to the Saul story.

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As I was doing a bit more pondering I came across an article that stated this:

“In October 2013, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia declared that, yes, he most certainly believes in the existence of Satan. But why don’t we see him? Well, “you know, it is curious. In the Gospels, the Devil is doing all sorts of things. He’s making pigs run off cliffs, he’s possessing people and whatnot. And that doesn’t happen very much anymore … It’s because he’s smart … What he’s doing now is getting people not to believe in him or in God. He’s much more successful that way.”

This article was written by an atheist, but ironically, it helped a lot with one of my questions! :smile:

@kelelek Glad you found it helpful :slight_smile:

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