Monday, November 17, 2014

Ancient Conceptions of Death and the Possibility of Necromantic Divination: Saul and the Witch of En-Dor


ANCIENT CONCEPTIONS OF DEATH AND THE POSSIBILITY OF NECROMANTIC DIVINIATION

Introduction

            The séance at En-Dor as recorded in 1 Samuel 28 has a broad history of interpretation.[1] Modern readers may find themselves becoming disconcerted as they read this text and they may begin to desire to deconstruct the text to fit their own worldview.[2] While, following R. Bultmann and O. Kaiser, a practice of demythologization may be helpful and necessary at times, one needs to read the text as it was written and with the intention with which it was written first. So, then, the question finally arises: What did Saul see at En-Dor? Was the apparition of Samuel a ghost, demon or something different? This paper seeks to answer these questions by providing an overview of the Old Testament (henceforth, OT) and ancient Near Eastern (henceforth, ANE) conceptions of death and the afterlife and evaluating whether these conceptions are reconcilable with Saul’s séance and the appearance of Samuel postmortem as presented in 1 Samuel 28.
En-Dor
            The biblical event concerning Saul and the witch (1 Samuel 28:3-25) takes place at En-Dor, a city whose exact location is unknown, but may be located within the territory of Issachar, which belonged to the inheritance of, but was never fully possessed by the tribe of Manasseh.[3] Saul had previously expelled all of the mediums, witches and necromancers from Israel, though this event is not recounted in 1 Samuel.[4] After God ceased speaking to Saul through dreams or by Urim,[5] Saul felt compelled to seek out a medium to speak to the recently deceased Samuel, disobeying his own command (1 Sam 28:3; cf. Deut 18:11). Saul was forced to disguise himself as he passed close by the Philistine camp at Shunem, probably in order to allude the Philistines and possibly to disguise himself from the witch.[6] He came to her by night. As he meets with her, they begin the séance and conjure a spirit (literally, “a god”), who is then recognized as Samuel. The apparitional Samuel says to Saul that Saul has “disturbed” him and then prophesies against Saul, informing him that he will die and “be with” Samuel. This leads one to question where exactly Samuel was that he could be disturbed and that Saul and his sons could be with him.
Death and the Afterlife in the OT and the ANE
שְׁאוֹל and the Nether World in the OT
            שְׁאוֹל (henceforth, Sheol) is the unique Hebrew word for the underworld in the OT.[7] Sheol is presented as the fate of humanity (cf. Ps 89:48; Eccl 9:10), albeit a fate the righteous desired to avoid but, nevertheless, to which they were ultimately consigned.[8] It is traditionally understood as the place of postmortem rest for both the good and the bad.[9] Sheol is generally presented negatively. It is presented as being a “silent” place below or in the depths of the earth (often presented in opposition to the heavens [cf. Ps 139:8; Job 11:8; Is 7:11; Amos 9:2]) where the dead do not praise the Lord (cf. Pss 6:5; 86:13; 115:17; Jon 2:2). It is presented as a place of weakness, decay and deterioration, and, much like the grave, these occur without respect to the (previous) status of those who are dead (cf. Ps 16:10; Job 24:19-20; Is 14:9-11).[10] Sheol is viewed as a place of finality from which there is no return (cf. 2 Sam 12:23; Job 7:9).[11] It is personified as dragging its victims down with ropes against their own efforts (1 Sam 22:6; Ps 18:4).[12] By the period of the New Testament writers, some hoped for and believed in an ultimate victory over Sheol to have been fulfilled by Christ (Rev 20:14; cf. 1 Cor. 15:50-58).[13] One may easily understand why an alternative belief concerning consignment in the afterlife for the wicked (γέεννα[14]) and the righteous (Abraham’s Bosom [Luke 16:22-23] and/or the later resurrection theology[15]) would have been preferable and why these beliefs were later developed.[16] However, the Israelites did not always view Sheol negatively. It was, in some ways, an escape from the pain and struggles of this world. Further, it was an escape even from God (Ps 139:8 notwithstanding): in his suffering and despair, Job eagerly desires to be in Sheol so as to be a slave free from his master (Job 3:17-19).[17]
            Some scholars (e.g., Tromp and Baumgartner) following Gunkel interpret אֶרֶץ (’erets: world, earth, land) on the basis of its etymological similarities to the Akkadian ertsetu and ’arets also to mean “nether world.”[18] The discoveries of Ugaritic literature also helps to confirm this understanding of ’erets from the Ugaritic ’rts.[19] The etymological similarities are convincing,[20] and several passages seem to support it (cf. 1 Sam 28:13; Ps 139:15; Job 10:21; Is 26:19; 44:23).[21] Many Ugaritic texts describe ’rts in language similar to how the OT describes Sheol and uses ’rts in similar ways as the OT uses Sheol.[22]
Death in the OT
            Death in the OT is presented as a natural and inevitable, [23] though lamentable, aspect of life, for death was the ultimate enemy.[24] Some OT scholars (e.g., Kaiser and Lohse) suggest that even the creation account in Genesis suggests that man was created mortal.[25] So, humankind is told to enjoy this transient life as much as and for as long as they are able (Eccl 2:24; 8:18; 9:7-9).[26] At the end of an exceptionally long, bad or misfortunate life, however, an Israelite might welcome death as a friend.[27] When life came to an end, existence for the Israelite in one sense life was certainly over. They were cut off from life on the earth and sank, in some sense, into a state of unconsciousness. However, the Israelite did not expect utter annihilation.[28] Instead, the Israelite understood death as the lowest or weakest form of life.[29] The Israelite’s existence in Sheol consisted as some kind of weak, ghostly or apparitional “death-soul” (cf. Samuel’s ghostly, god-like appearance at En-Dor in 1 Sam 28:13-14).[30] They seem to have merely existed in this place of darkness without the power to do as they wished, and were, at times, caused to do what they did not wish (1 Sam 28:15). These “death-souls” are sometimes referred to as rephaim (רְפָאִים; shades, apparitions) (cf. Ps 88:11; Prov 2:18; Job 26:5; Is 14:9)[31] and occasionally as ’ob (אוֹב; ghost, spirit) (cf. Is 29:4).[32] These apparitions were not confined to Sheol absolutely and some believed they did not go there immediately.[33] Clearly it was believed that in certain circumstances, a “death-soul” may arise from Sheol (1 Sam 28) and it may even have been believed that one could hear the weeping of Rachel at her tomb in Ramah when her sons (i.e., the inhabitants of the northern kingdom) were killed (cf. Jer 31:15).[34] There is also some connection between the spirits of the deceased and their final resting places.[35] There are at least two examples of some sort of paranormal or supernatural events that take place at someone’s tomb recorded in the OT, one of which being the sound of Rachel’s weeping (noted above) and the other being the dead man’s revival in Elisha’s tomb (2 Kgs 13:21).[36] In both of these cases there is no direct communication with the dead. However, the burial places of the departed were still regarded as important for communication with the dead, which will be discussed below.
Death and the Nether World in the ANE
            The ANE had a much greater interest in death and the nether world than the OT appears to have had.[37] Still, the ANE generally was as comfortable with death as humankind has ever been, which is to say, not very comfortable with it at all. This is exemplified in the Akkadian text, The Epic of Gilgamesh. It records how Enkidu’s death incites Gilgamesh’s search for eternal life.[38] Gilgamesh fears death and moved by that fear he prays that his life would be spared.[39] Gilgamesh spends the rest of the epic searching, finding and losing eternal life informing readers that the quest is ultimately futile. On tablet twelve, Gilgamesh, Enkidu, and the Nether World records Gilgamesh’s conversation with Enkidu in (or on the edge of) the nether world, from which, it was believed, Enkidu could enter and retrieve some of Gilgamesh’s lost items.[40] The attempt failed and Enkidu was captured and forced to stay in the nether world, until Gilgamesh, Ea and Nergal get Enkidu back to the land of the living. Apparently certain ANE thought believed that there could be physical contact made with the nether world, though the extent of contact is unclear. In connection with Sheol, those in the nether world are described as being weak and having to eat ash and dirt. In fact, the descriptions are quite similar to those of Sheol, excepting the increased activity in Gilgamesh’s nether world. Lexicographically, Sheol does not exist in Ugaritic or Akkadian.[41] However, ’rts is an indisputable synonym communicating the nether world.[42] Unlike the OT, ANE texts often seem concerned with death and the afterlife.
Inhabitants of the Nether World
            Those who inhabit the nether world in many ANE texts and occasionally in the OT are called “shades” (רְפָאִים). It was popularly believed in the ANE that these shades had the power to harm the living directly or to cause harm to the living indirectly.[43] The Israelite belief about shades differed drastically. These shades were lethargic, weak, and trembled before Yahweh but were unable to praise him. The term is used as a synonym for both death and the dead,[44] and in Israelite usage it can refer to Canaanites,[45] though the term is generally used to describe “lifeless,” shadowy” creatures, referring to the deceased.[46] The OT never records these shades preforming any activities without being incited or roused to it.[47]
Ancient Israelite Cults of the Dead and Necromantic Divination
            Whether ancestor worship existed within ancient Israel is highly debated,[48] but the discoveries of the Ugaritic texts and the parallels they present amid their cultish practices seem to indicate either severe similarities between the structure of their death cult rituals and Israelite rituals or that the Israelites also had a cult of the dead.[49] Lewis argues persuasively that Israel did indeed have their own cult of the dead.[50] The similarities are especially obvious in Ugaritic and Israelite funeral proceedings. It is clear that the developing Israelite Yahwism borrowed some Canaanite religious aspects and rejected others.[51] The cults of the dead were something both borrowed and rejected, though not completely eradicated (cf. Deut 18:11; 1 Sam 28:7).[52] It is unknown how widely necromancy and ancestor worship were practiced throughout Israel, or at least on its edges, but it is certain that these things were practiced regardless of their prohibitions (cf. Lev 19:31; Deut 18:11; 26:14; 1 Sam 28:14; 2 Kgs 23:24; Is 8:19-20; 65:2-4; Jer 18:5; Ezek 43:7-9).
            Divination was widely practiced and widely attested in the OT. However, not all forms of divination were acceptable in ancient Israel, and many of these illicit forms were practiced without regard for the bans.[53] Cleromancy (i.e., divination by means of casting lots) was one of the several acceptable forms of divination and is extremely well attested in the OT. Indeed, it is often identified with the use of Urim and Thummim, though their precise nature is uncertain and debated.[54] The use of cleromancy was not used in order that one might know the future, but rather that one might know God’s will, that is, whether his will held an affirmative or a negative answer to their question.[55] Even Saul’s use of necromancy in 1 Sam 28 appears to be concerned with God’s will rather than what the future holds. Nevertheless, Samuel predicts to Saul what will to happen to him. The prohibition on certain forms of divination and the acceptance of others may appear to have been arbitrary, but it is probable that certain forms were allowed because, it was believed, that these methods acquired knowledge from Yahweh, rather than from other sources (the deceased, demons, etc.).[56]
What Happened at En-Dor?
Ritual and Liturgy
            It is impossible to know for certain how the necromantic ritual and liturgy was performed or what it consisted of, but there are a few hints within the text. That Saul came to the medium by night (1 Sam 28:8), although likely a military necessity, may indicate that night was the designated time for séances, necromancy and other forms of communication with the dead.[57] Graves and tombs were also regarded as important sites for communicating with the dead, especially at night.[58] This custom arose from the popular belief that spirits and demons had to return to their places of rest before dawn (cf. Is 65:4).[59] That Saul had not eaten all day or night may indicate a ritual fast in connection to this séance.[60] Finally, the last hint toward the form of the necromantic ritual is that Saul bowed and paid homage to Samuel when he had been summoned (28:14). Though it is not clear exactly how it would have been preformed, it seems apparent that there was some structure being followed in this necromantic liturgy.
Conclusion
The differences between OT and ANE conceptions of death and the afterlife are very similar at points, but their conceptions of shades differ substantially enough to pose a problem. It is not difficult to conceive of an ANE shade to be able and active at necromantic ceremonies, since they were believed to be active and powerful enough to cause harm to the living.[61] It is, however, more difficult to conceive of how a weak and inactive spirit would have been able to preform any actions at a séance. Thus, one must ask, “What did Saul see?” and, “What happened at En-Dor?” The language of 1 Sam 28:15 (“Why have you disturbed me?”) seems to indicate the Israelite’s belief that shades were involved in séances and it displays their understanding of the shade’s work in a séance. Just as shades are roused (by an outside force) to greet the recently deceased as they arrive in Sheol (Is 14:9-11), they are roused (“disturbed”) to appear at a séance. The language seems to support the belief that Samuel was now a shade, although labeled a god (אֱלֹהִ֥ים).[62] That Samuel is recorded as “coming from the earth [הָאָֽרֶץ; recall the discussion of אָֽרֶץ above]” seems to indicate that he was being called up from Sheol.[63] Thus, it is indisputable that the intention of the author of 1 Sam 28 was attempting to communicate nothing other than that of the ghost (shade) of Samuel truly appearing to Saul.[64] Whether one believes if Samuel’s ghost really appeared to Saul becomes merely a problem of hermeneutics. Nevertheless, the text is clear.



BIBLIOGRAPHY

Angert-Quilter, Theresa and Lynne Wall. “The ‘Spirit Wife’ at Endor.” Journal for the Study of the Old Testament no. 92 (March 2001): 55-72.

Arnold, Bill T. “Necromancy and Cleromancy in 1 and 2 Samuel.” Catholic Biblical Quarterly 66, no. 2 (April 1, 2004): 199-213.

–––––. “Religion in Ancient Israel.” In The Face of Old Testament Studies: A Survey of Contemporary Approaches. Edited by David W. Baker and Bill T. Arnold. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1999.

­­­­­­­­­–––––. 1 & 2 Samuel. The NIV Application Commentary. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2003.

Avi-Yonah, Michael. “En-Dor.” In Encyclopedia Judaica, Vol. 6. Edited by Fred Skolnik and Michael Berenbaum. New York, NY: Keter Publishing House Ltd., Jerusalem, 2007.

Balter, Shlomo. “En-Dor, Witch of.” In Encyclopedia Judaica Vol. 6. Edited by Fred Skolnik and Michael Berenbaum. New York, NY: Keter Publishing House Ltd., Jerusalem, 2007.

Bar, Shaul. “Saul and the ‘Witch of En-Dor.’” Jewish Bible Quarterly no. 2 (2011): 99-107.

Blumenthal, Fred. “The Ghost of Samuel: Real or Imaginary?” Jewish Bible Quarterly 41, no. 2 (April 2013): 104-106.

Brown, Francis, S. R. Driver, Charles A. Briggs, James Strong, and Wilhelm Gesenius. The Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 2014.

Chul, Kim Eun. “Cult of the Dead and The Old Testament Negation of Ancestor Worship.” Asia Journal of Theology 17, no. 1 (April 2003): 2-16.

De Villiers, Gerda. “The Origin of Prophetism in the Ancient Near East.” Hervormde Teologiese Studies 66, no. 1 (March 2010): 1-6.

Ferry, David. Translator. Gilgamesh: A New Rendering English Verse. New York, NY: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1992.

Fröhlich, Ida. “Theology and Demonology in Qumran Texts.” Henoch 32, no. 1 (June 2010): 101-129.


Gardiner, A.H. The Attitudes of the Ancient Egyptians to Death and the Dead. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1935.

Hamori, Esther J. “The Prophet and the Necromancer: Women's Divination for Kings.” Journal of Biblical Literature 132, no. 4 (Winter 2013): 827-843.

Hays, Christopher B. “The Covenant with Mut: A New Interpretation of Isaiah 28:1-22.” Vetus Testamentum 60, no. 2 (March 2010): 212-240.

Holladay, William L. A Concise Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1985.

Johnson, Aubrey R. The Vitality of the Individual in the Thought of Ancient Israel. 2nd edition. Cardiff, Wales: University of Wales Press, 1964.

Johnston, Philip S. “‘Left in Hell?’: Psalm 16, Sheol and the Holy One.” In The Lord’s Anointed: Interpretation of Old Testament Messianic Texts. Edited by Philip E. Satterthwaite, Richard S. Hess, and Gordon J. Wenham. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1995.

 –––––. “Rephaim.” In The New Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible Vol. 4. Edited by Katharine Doob Sakenfeld. Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 2007.

–––––. Shades of Sheol: Death and Afterlife in the Old Testament. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2002.

–––––. “Sheol.” In The New Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible, Vol. 5. Edited by Katharine Doob Sakenfeld. Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 2007.

–––––. “The Underworld and the Dead in the Old Testament.” Tyndale Bulletin 45, no. 2 (November 1, 1994): 415-419.

Jordon, David. “Two Papyri with Formulae for Divination.” In Magic and Ritual in the Ancient World. Edited by Paul Mirecki and Marvin Meyer. Boston, MA: Brill, 2002.

Kaiser, Otto and Eduard Lohse. Death & Life. Translated by John E. Steely. Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 1981.

Klein, Ralph W. 1 Samuel. Word Book Commentary 10. Waco, TX: Word Books, Publisher, 1983.

Kugler, Robert. “Urim and Thummim.” In The New Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible, Vol. 5. Edited by Katharine Doob Sakenfeld. Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 2007.

Lewis, Theodore J. Cults of the Dead in Ancient Israel and Ugarit. Harvard Semitic Monographs 39. Atlanta, GA: Scholars Press, 1989.

McMurray, Heather R. “En-Dor.” In The New Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible, Vol. 2. Edited by Katharine Doob Sakenfeld. Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 2007.

Moyer, James C. “Shades.” In The New Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible, Vol. 5. Edited by Katharine Doob Sakenfeld. Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 2007.

Nickelsburg, George W.E., Jr. Resurrection, Immortality, and Eternal Life in Intertestamental Judaism. Harvard Theological Studies 26. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1972.

Pinker, Aron. “Job's Perspectives on Death.” Jewish Bible Quarterly 35, no. 2 (April 2007): 73-84.

Reis, Pamela Tamarkin. “Eating the Blood: Saul and the Witch of Endor.” Journal for the Study of the Old Testament no. 73 (March 1997): 3-23.

Routledge, Robin L. “Death and Afterlife in the Old Testament.” Journal of European Baptist Studies 9, no. 1 (September 2008): 22-39.

Satterthwaite, Philip E. “David in the Books of Samuel: A Messianic Expectation?” In The Lord’s Anointed: Interpretation of Old Testament Messianic Texts. Edited by Phillip E. Satterthwaite, Richard S. Hess, and Gordon J. Wenham. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1995.

Schmidt, Brian B. “The ‘Witch’ of En-Dor, 1 Samuel 28, and Ancient Near East Necromancy.” In Ancient Magic and Ritual Power. Edited by Marvin Meyer and Paul Mirecki. Boston, MA: Brill Academic Publishers, Inc., 1995.

Simon, Uriel. “A Balanced Story: The Stern Prophet and the Kind Witch.” Prooftexts 8, no. 2 (May 1988): 159-171.

Smelik, K.A.D. “The Witch of Endor: I Samuel 28 in Rabbinic and Christian Exegesis Till 800 A.D.” Vigiliae Christianae 33, no. 2 (June 1979): 160-179.

Speiser, E.A. Translator. “The Epic of Gilgamesh.” In The Ancient Near East: An Anthology of Texts & Pictures. Edited by James B. Pritchard. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2011.

Tromp, Nicholas J. Primitive Conceptions of Death and the Nether World in the Old Testament. Biblica et Orientalia 21. Rome, Italy: Pontifical Biblical Institute, 1969.










[1] See K.A.D. Smelik, “The Witch of Endor: I Samuel 28 in Rabbinic and Christian Exegesis Till 800 A.D.,” Vigiliae Christianae 33, no. 2 (June 1979): 160-179.
[2] For example, Fred Blumenthal, “The Ghost of Samuel: Real or Imaginary?” Jewish Bible Quarterly 41, no. 2 (April 2013): 104-105.
[3] Heather R. McMurray, “En-Dor,” in The New Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible, ed. Katharine Doob Sakenfeld, vol. 2 (Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 2007), 259.
[4] Michael Avi-Yonah, “En-Dor” in Encyclopedia Judaica, eds. Fred Skolnik and Michael Berenbaum, vol. 6 (New York: Keter Publishing House Ltd., Jerusalem, 2007), 404.
[5] William L. Holladay, editor, A Concice Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1985), 7, “… means of gaining oracle by lot”. See also Robert Kugler, “Urim and Thummim,” in The New Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible, ed. Katharine Doob Sakenfeld, vol. 5 (Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 2007),  and esp. Cornelius Van Dam, “אוּרִים,” in New International Dictionary of Old Testament Theology & Exegesis, ed. Willem A. VanGemeren, vol. 1 (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1997), 329-330 for an important etymological discussion, which sheds light on what the use of Urim and Thummim may have involved.
[6] Ralph W. Klein, 1 Samuel (WBC 10, Waco, TX: Word Books, Publisher, 1983), 271.
[7] Holladay, Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon, 356. Francis Brown, S. R. Driver, and Charles A. Briggs, eds., The Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament (Peabody, MA: Hedrickson, 2014), 982: “whither men descend at death.”
[8] Philip S. Johnston, “The Underworld and the Dead in the Old Testament,” Tyndale Bulletin 45, no. 2 (November 1, 1994): 416 and Philip S. Johnston, “‘Left in Hell?’: Psalm 16, Sheol and the Holy One,” in The Lord’s Anointed: Interpretation of Old Testament Messianic Texts, eds. Satterthwaite, Philip E., Richard S. Hess, and Gordon J. Wenham (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1995), 216.
[9] Ibid.
[10] Robin L. Routledge, “Death and Afterlife in the Old Testament,” Journal of European Baptist Studies 9, no. 1 (September 2008): 24.
[11] This is, of course, not a universal rule. For example, Jonah cried out from Sheol and the Lord heard him and he was restored to life and vomited out by the large fish (Jon 2). So, it is not impossible or, at least, unprecedented that someone might have come up from Sheol within certain circumstances.
[12] Eugene H. Merrill, “שְׁאוֹל,” in New International Dictionary of Old Testament Theology and Exegesis, ed. Willem A. VanGemeren, vol. 4 (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1997), 6-7.
[13] Ibid., 7. שְׁאוֹל is translated ᾅδης 61 of the 65 occurrences in the LXX (Merrill, “שְׁאוֹל,” 6).
[14] Philip S. Johnston, “Sheol,” in The New Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible, ed. Katharine Doob Sakenfeld, vol. 5 (Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 2007), 227.
[15] For a detailed study on the development of resurrection theology, especially with regard to Daniel and the Intertestamental period, see George W.E. Nickelsburg, Jr, Resurrection, Immortality, and Eternal Life in Intertestamental Judaism, (Harvard Theological Studies 26, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1972), esp. 11-42.
[16] Routledge, “Dead and Afterlife,” 25. Cf. 1 En 22.
[17] Aron Pinker, “Job's Perspectives on Death,” Jewish Bible Quarterly 35, no. 2 (April 2007): 75. See also Johnston, “Underworld and the Dead,” 416.
[18] Nicholas J. Tromp, Primitive Conceptions of Death and the Nether World in the Old Testament (Biblica et Orientalia 21, Rome: Pontifical Biblical Institute, 1969), 23.
[19] Ibid., 23-46.
[20] Contra Johnston, “Underworld and the Dead,” 416. See Robert P. Gordon, “אֶרֶץ,” in New International Dictionary of Old Testament Theology and Exegesis, ed. Willem A. VanGemeren, vol. 1 (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1997), 518, 525-526.
[21] Tromp, Primitive Conceptions, 7.
[22] See examples in Tromp, Primitive Conceptions, 7.
[23] Routledge, “Dead and Afterlife,” 25.
[24] Philip S. Johnston, Shades of Sheol: Death and Afterlife in the Old Testament (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2002), 28-31. Tromp notes “…death is not a mere poetical hypostasis of the mortal’s end… the mythical way it is described shows it to be a personal power” (Tromp, Primitive Conceptions, 160).
[25] Otto Kaiser and Eduard Lohse, Death & Life, trans. John E. Steely (Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 1981), 20-21.
[26] Routledge, “Dead and Afterlife,” 24.
[27] Johnston, Shades of Sheol, 25-28.
[28] Kaiser-Lohse, Death & Life, 33-34.
[29] Aubrey R. Johnson, The Vitality of the Individual in the Thought of Ancient Israel, (2nd ed., Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 1964), 88.
[30] Kaiser-Lohse, Death & Life, 33, 37.
[31] Pinker, “Job’s Perspectives on Death,” 76.
[32] Kaiser-Lohse, Death & Life, 35.
[33] Some Rabbis believed that the evocation of Samuel was required to have taken place within 12 months of his death when his body had not yet decomposed, under the belief that the soul or spirit of the deceased would hover over the body until it has decomposed (Shlomo Balter, “En-Dor, Witch of” in Encyclopedia Judaica, eds. Fred Skolnik and Michael Berenbaum, vol. 6 [New York: Keter Publishing House Ltd., Jerusalem, 2007], 405).
[34] Kaiser-Lohse, Death & Life, 34-35.
[35] Ibid.
[36] See Theodore J. Lewis, Cults of the Dead in Ancient Israel and Ugarit, Harvard Semitic Monographs 39 (Atlanta, GA: Scholars Press, 1989), 122-123.
[37] Johnston, “Left in Hell?,” 217. See also A.H. Gardiner, The Attitudes of the Ancient Egyptians to Death and the Dead (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1935).
[38] E.A. Speiser, trans., “The Epic of Gilgamesh,” in The Ancient Near East: An Anthology of Texts & Pictures, ed. James B. Pritchard (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2011), 72.
[39] Ibid., 60.
[40] David Ferry, trans., Gilgamesh: A New Rendering English Verse (New York, NY: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1992), 85-92.
[41] Tromp, Primitive Conceptions, 7, 23 and Merrill, “שְׁאוֹל,” 6.
[42] Tromp, Primitive Conceptions, 7.
[43] James C. Moyer, “Shades,” in The New Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible, ed. Katharine Doob Sakenfeld, vol. 5 (Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 2007), 207.
[44] Ibid., 207-208.
[45] Johnston, Shades of Sheol, 128.
[46] Moyer, “Shades,” 208.
[47] Johnston, Shades of Sheol, 128.
[48] See Kim Eun Chul, “Cult of the Dead and The Old Testament Negation of Ancestor Worship,” Asia Journal of Theology 17, no. 1 (April 2003): 2-16, who gives a detailed overview of several key passages in the debate, but makes a seemingly capricious distinction between ancestor worship and necromancy (and cult of the dead) since he defines ancestor worship as “a cult directed towards the deceased father or mother with a sacrificial offering… or food and drink… in a shrine or tomb… for their remembrance… or to consult or to seek favours from them” (p. 2). It is difficult to conceive how consulting/seeking favors from the dead is a criterion of ancestor worship, yet necromancy does not qualify (at least in some instances) as ancestor worship. It seems that at some level ancestor worship and necromancy are mutually bound.
[49] Bill T. Arnold, “Religion in Ancient Israel,” in The Face of Old Testament Studies: A Survey of Contemporary Approaches (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1999), 414-415.
[50] Lewis, Cult of the Dead, 118-120.
[51] Arnold, “Religion in Ancient Israel,” 415.
[52] Chul, “Cult of the Dead,” 3-13.
[53] Bill T. Arnold, “Necromancy and Cleromancy in 1 and 2 Samuel,” Catholic Biblical Quarterly 66, no. 2 (April 1, 2004): 199.
[54] Kugler, “Urim and Thummim,” 719-721.
[55] Arnold, “Necromancy and Cleromancy,” 209 (esp. n.34).
[56] Ibid.
[57] Bill T. Arnold, 1 & 2 Samuel (The NIV Application Commentary, Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2003), 373.
[58] Kaiser-Lohse, Death & Life, 35.
[59] Ibid.
[60] Arnold, 1 &2 Samuel, 373.
[61] Moyer, “Shades,” 207.
[62] Johnston, Shades of Sheol, 142-144.
[63] Notice similarities with how Enkidu returns to the land of the living from a hole in the earth in Gilgamesh, Enkidu, and the Nether World.
[64] Contra Blumenthal, “The Ghost of Samuel,” 104-105, who asserts that Saul is hallucinating or imagining the apparition.

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