Sometimes there are some really strange stories in the Bible.  We learn in Samuel 28:3 that the prophet

¶Now Samuel was dead….

Yet King Saul apparently want to talk to him, so he asks for a witch to conjure up Samuel:

¶Then said Saul unto his servants, Seek me a woman that hath a familiar spirit, that I may go to her, and inquire of her. And his servants said to him, Behold, there is a woman that hath a familiar spirit at En-dor.

The witch gives Saul a vision of the dead prophet Samuel.

15 ¶And Samuel said to Saul, Why hast thou disquieted me, to bring me up? And Saul answered, I am sore distressed; for the Philistines make war against me, and God is departed from me, and answereth me no more, neither by prophets, nor by dreams: therefore I have called thee, that thou mayest make known unto me what I shall do.

16 Then said Samuel, Wherefore then dost thou ask of me, seeing the Lord is departed from thee, and is become thine enemy?

Samuel goes on to say

17 And the Lord hath done to him, as he spake by me: for the Lord hath rent the kingdom out of thine hand, and given it to thy neighbour, even to David:

18 Because thou obeyedst not the voice of the Lord, nor executedst his fierce wrath upon Amalek, therefore hath the Lord done this thing unto thee this day.

19 Moreover the Lord will also deliver Israel with thee into the hand of the Philistines: and to morrow shalt thou and thy sons be with me: the Lord also shall deliver the host of Israel into the hand of the Philistines.

Remember that according to Exodus 22:18

Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live:

How did a witch conjure up Samuel to prophecy of Saul’s death?  (Note this was a true prophecy–Saul died in that battle.)  I thought the power of God could only be wielded by (1) a member of God’s chosen people, (2) a male.

Furthermore, I’m not clear about this reference to polytheism in verse 13:

And the woman said unto Saul, I saw gods ascending out of the earth.

For more information on polytheistic gods, check out Mormon Heretic’s post on Canaanite Dieties.

How is a witch able to summon a prophet, and a true prophecy?  What do you make of this strange story?