Wicked Women of the Bible Week 3: The Medium of Endor

Watch the Video: Week 3 ~ The Medium of Endor

There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, or one who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, 11 or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. 12 For all who do these things are an abomination to the Lord, and because of these abominations the Lord your God drives them out from before you.. — Deuteronomy 18:10-12 (NKJV)

Welcome to Week 3 of Wicked Women of the Bible! We hope you enjoyed studying Delilah on week one and Michal last week! It’s been great to see this community engaging in conversation about our temptations and weaknesses and what we’re learning from each of these women in the Bible. Leave your comments! We love to hear from you!

This week we’re digging into the life of one of the nameless women of the Bible – the Medium of Endor, sometimes known as the Witch of Endor. She was the original Wicked Witch of the East! Her story is so fascinating and many people don’t know, or forget, that there is a story of a witch in the Bible!

Lord Byron said of the narrative of the Witch of Endor—

I have always thought this the finest and most finished witch scene that ever was written or conceived, and you will be of my opinion if you consider all the circumstances of the actors of the case, together with the gravity, simplicity and density of the language. It beats all the ghost scenes I have ever read.

The actors of the cast are Saul the king, the witch, and Samuel the prophet—surely a most unusual trio! Saul about to join the dead; the Witch and her traffic with the dead; Samuel, brought back from the dead. (All the Women of the Bible, Zondervan, 1988)

Here’s our vocabulary word of the week:

Necromancy (noun) nec·ro·man·cy \ˈne-krə-ˌman(t)-sē\ — 

  1. conjuration, or the practice of talking to the spirits of dead people for purposes of magically revealing the future or influencing the course of events
  2. the use of magic powers especially for evil purposes


Witch of Endor by Nikolai Ge, 1857.


This week for your personal or group study:

  1. Read Chapter 12 of Wicked Women of the Bible on the Medium of Endor (pages 111-117)
  2. Read the Medium of Endor’s story in 1 Samuel 28.
  3. Enjoy watching the video for Week 3 — provided above.


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Questions of the Week

  1. What three to five words would you use to describe the character of the woman of Endor? Consider any positive as well as negative attributes.
  2. Have you or has anyone you know ever engaged in the practice of magic? For example, through use of astrology, tarot cards, a Ouija board, or visiting a fortune teller? What motivated you? Were you aware at the time that such practices are off limits for those who believe in God?
  3. We know that Saul was desperate to hear something positive from God. What do you think motivated the woman of Endor to try to communicate with the spirit world? How do you think her experience with Saul and Samuel might have affected her?
  4. The story showcases how far Saul had fallen. Though a courageous and naturally gifted man, he met a tragic and pathetic end. What does this story reveal about the consequences of trusting yourself more than God?
  5. Ancient people believed the supernatural world was real. How is that worldview both affirmed and denied in our culture today? How does your understanding of the existence of the supernatural world shape your daily life?

Your Turn

It’s hard for us, in our modern culture, particularly church culture, to imagine entering the business of witchcraft or hiring someone for the purpose of trying to figure out what to do next in times of crisis. But, in those times people tried to control God by fortune telling, magic, and divination.

(Now, that part — trying to control God — sounds a little more familiar.)

What can we learn from the story of the Medium of Endor? And what do we need to avoid in order to guard our hearts and souls from evil influences and the practice of magic? We invite you to share your response to question #2 on our blog this week!

Ann Spangler

Ann Spangler is an award-winning writer and the author of many bestselling books, including Praying the Names of God, Praying the Names of Jesus, and Women of the Bible (with Jean Syswerda). Her most recent books are The Tender Words of God and Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus (with Lois Tverberg.) She and her two daughters live in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Laurie McClure

Laurie is a Jesus apprentice, a single mama of five (three homegrown, one Kentuckian, and one Ethiopian), a writer, beach lover, and is addicted to radical grace, Perrier, and yoga pants. Here at FaithGateway she is the editor, the leader of Faith.Full, our women's community, and curator of Devotionals Daily.

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