Then said Saul unto his servants
That waited upon him, to some of them, to such as he could place most confidence in to keep a secret; perhaps only the two after mentioned:
seek me a woman that hath a familiar spirit, that I may go to her, and
inquire of her;
that was mistress of the bottle, a ventriloquist, that spoke out of her belly, or seemed to do; who had the spirit of Python or divination, conversed with the devil, and by his assistance pretended to bring up a dead person, and thereby foretell things to come; (See Gill on Deuteronomy 18:11); a woman is pitched upon, because such were most addicted to those wicked arts, and being of the weaker sex, were more easily imposed upon by Satan; and Saul showed himself to be as weak, to seek after such persons; but being left of God, he acted the part of a mad man, as well as of a bad man:
and his servants said to him, behold, [there is] a woman that hath a
familiar spirit at Endor;
a city in the tribe of Manasseh, of which see ( Joshua 17:11 ) ; it was not far from Gilboa. Mr. Maundrell speaks F3 of it as near Nain, at the foot of Mount Hermon; and turning, a little southward, he says, you have in view the high mountains of Gilboa. It is a tradition of the Jews F4 that this woman was the mother of Abner, the wife of Zephaniah; some say her name was Zephaniah; but, as Abarbinel observes, if so she would have known Saul, and also Saul would have known her, and what she was, if, as they say, she was spared because of her relation to him; nor needed he to have inquired of his servants for such a woman.
F3 Journey from Aleppo, p. 115.
F4 Pirke Eliezer, c. 33. foi. 35. 2. Shalshalet Hakabala, fol. 8. 1. Hieron. Trad. Heb. in lib. Reg. fol. 77. B.