Sorting by

×

Life After Death According to Samuel

  Before getting sidetracked with other things, I was discussing the intriguing story of 1 Samuel 28, where the king of Israel, Saul, illicitly consults a medium in an attempt to communicate with his now-dead advisor and predecessor, the prophet Samuel.  This is the only case of necromancy in the entire Bible.   In this post I want to consider what the author of the passage seems to think about those who go to Sheol after death. Recall the story: Saul is experiencing both internal turmoil (his rival David is on the rise and there is civil war) and external threat (from the warring Philistines).  He wants advice about how to proceed, but there is no one to turn to.  So he takes on a disguise and resorts to a medium (after having, as king, outlawed mediums!) to call up Saul from the realm of the dead. She does as he asks.  As Samuel “comes up” from the ground, the medium realizes that it is Saul who is her client and that she’s in big trouble [...]

2020-04-03T02:28:05-04:00April 4th, 2017|Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, Public Forum|

Returning from the Dead in the Hebrew Bible

In thinking about Sheol and death in the Hebrew Bible, it is worth reflecting on passages where the dead come back to life or are contacted by the living.  This does not happen much at all – a couple of instances of resuscitation and one of necromancy. Probably the most famous resuscitation – the bringing back to life of a dead person – involves the prophet Elijah in 1 Kings 17:17-24.   Elijah has been helping an unnamed widow from the town of Zarephath, miraculously providing her and her son with food during a divinely-mandated drought/famine (which the prophet brought to teach the wicked King Ahab a lesson).   But the boy dies.  The widow is understandably distraught – the prophet was supposed to be helping her and now her son has died.  Some help. Elijah takes the boy, though, and raises him from the dead.  The woman responds appropriately, declaring him Elijah a man of God who speaks the word of God. In 2 Kings 4:32-37 a similar story is told about the prophet Elisha – [...]

2020-04-03T02:30:27-04:00March 30th, 2017|Afterlife, Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, Public Forum|
Go to Top