And Saul disguised himself, and put on other raiment
Stripped himself of his royal robes, or military apparel, as supreme commander, and clothed himself in the habit of a peasant or a common soldier; and this not only that he might not be known by the woman, but that he might pass from his army incognito, and it might not be known that he was gone, and especially whither he was gone:
and he went, and two men with him:
these, according to the tradition of the Jews F5, were Abner and Amasa; but it is not probable that Saul should leave his army destitute of their general at such a time as this:
and they came to the woman by night;
not only that they might not be seen, but because it was a work of darkness they were going about, and it was only in the night season that such persons exercised their black art; though the Jews F6 say it was day, only because of their distress it was like tonight with them; but the literal sense is best:
and he said, I pray thee divine unto me by the familiar spirit;
exercise her art of divination, by the assistance of the familiar spirit she conversed with:
and bring me up whom I shall name unto thee:
that is, from the dead; for necromancy was the kind of divination she professed; and such persons pretended to have a power to bring up a deceased person, and consult with him about secret and future things.
F5 Vajikra Rabba, sect. 26. fol. 167. 1. Shalshalet ib.
F6 Tanchuma apud Jarchiura in loc.