Calvary Road Baptist Church

“A Survey Of Satanic & Demonic Warfare In First Samuel”

First Samuel



1.  Since my purpose is to impress you in proportion to how I have been impressed about the Satanic and Demonic warfare I have discovered to find expressed in God’s Word, allow me to begin by reading by way of introduction to First Samuel from The Bible Knowledge Commentary of the Old Testament:


Names. The Books of 1 and 2 Samuel take their names from the Prophet Samuel, who is the first important character in the first book. The earliest Hebrew manuscripts made no division between the two books. They simply entitled the whole collection “Samuel.” The Septuagint was the first version to divide the material into two parts. That division has persisted to the present day in all translations and versions, including Hebrew printed Bibles.


Author. The authorship of 1 and 2 Samuel is anonymous, though one can hardly doubt that Samuel himself may have written or supplied information for 1 Samuel 1:1-25:1, all of which describe his life and career up to and including his death. It is impossible, however, to say anything with certainty about the authorship of the remainder of 1 Samuel and or 2 Samuel....


Historical Setting. The events described in 1 and 2 Samuel center about the lives of three important figures – Samuel, Saul, and David. First Samuel opens with the narrative of Samuel’s birth, an event which occurred toward the end of the 12th century, about 1120 B.C. Second Samuel concludes with a story of royal succession in which David on his deathbed made provision for his son Solomon to follow him on the throne. This must be dated at 971 B.C. The entire period, then, consists of about 150 years.

The 300 or so years of the history of Israel under the Judges were marked by political, moral, and spiritual anarchy and deterioration. The situation was so pervasive that even the sons of Eli, the high priest at the end of the 12th century, had completely apostatized and had used their priestly office for their own gain and licentious pursuits. Just when it seemed that the nation would cave in on its own rottenness, God intervened and in response to godly Hannah’s prayers gave young Samuel to her and the nation. Samuel’s strong leadership as judge, prophet, and priest provided respite to the people from both internal and external threat. Unfortunately, however, when he became old and a successor was needed, it was evident to all that his own sons were unfit to take his place. This factor, coupled with the encroachments of the Ammonites on the east side of the Jordan River, prompted Israel to demand of Samuel that he give them a king “like all the other nations” (1 Sam. 8:5, 20). Though disturbed by this request, which implied the rejection of Yahweh as their King, Samuel granted it and selected Saul to be king, a selection determined and sanctioned by Yahweh Himself. Thus the monarchy was established in Israel. The circumstances and timing of its creation were improper, to be sure, but the concept of human royalty was part of the plan of God as revealed as early as the time of the patriarchs (Gen. 17:6, 16; 35:11; Deut. 17:14-20). Finally, with the selection and anointing of David, Israel’s second king, Samuel lived to see the inauguration of the dynastic kingship which God had promised as part of His messianic, redemptive plan (Gen. 49:10; Num. 24:17). The Books of Samuel, then, embrace that critical period of Israel’s history from judgeship to monarchy, from loose tribal affiliation to strong central government.


Purpose. The Books of Samuel provide an account of the history of Israel from the end of the 12th through the beginning of the 10th centuries before Christ. But, as is always true of biblical history, these books should be viewed theologically and not as mere recountings of events divorced from the purposes and plan of God. Since it might be argued that the major theme of biblical theology concerns the establishment of the sovereignty of God over all things, the specific purpose of 1 and 2 Samuel is to show how that sovereignty was delegated to the nation Israel, especially through its line of divinely elected Davidic kings. David and his dynasty demonstrate what it means to rule under God. Also through David’s royal house his greater Son, Jesus Christ, eventually became incarnate. Christ perfectly exercised kingship in His own life, and provided in His death and resurrection the basis on which all people who believe can reign with and through Him (2 Sam. 7:12-16; Ps. 89:36-37; Isa. 9:7).[1]


2.  Although the commentary I read from is very useful as an overview of the entire Old Testament, I have not yet found a real appreciation for the Satan & Demonic influences sufficiently highlighted anywhere in it as yet.


3. The task of preparing these messages is daunting. I find myself somewhat overwhelmed.      Nevertheless, let us press on by taking one step at a time, noting evidences related to our interest in scattered verses:


First Samuel 1.16:   

“Count not thine handmaid for a daughter of Belial: for out of the abundance of my complaint and grief have I spoken hitherto.”


  1. You may recall the occasion of barren Hannah’s fervent prayers for a child at the house of the LORD mistaken by the high priest, Eli, for public intoxication. In this verse she requests that Eli not count her to be a daughter of Belial.


  1. I apologize for not dealing with Belial in the three previous places in Scripture it is referred, for a total of sixteen verses in the Bible.[2] There is greater significance with this reference to Belial than I realized when commencing this series of surveys.


  1. Most of the times the word Belial is found in the Bible it is associated with a despicable person’s conduct, such as Eli’s suspicion that Hannah, the woman who would give birth to Samuel, was drunk. Outside the Bible, however, and certainly known to the Jewish people of that day, “Belial is especially well-attested as the proper name of the Devil, the powerful opponent of God, who accuses people and causes them to sin.”[3]


  1. Thus, the son of Belial, the daughter of Belial, or the children of Belial, are phrases remarkably similar to


John 8.44: 

“Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.”


Acts 13.10:  

“And said, O full of all subtilty and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord?”


1 John 3.10:    

“In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.”


First Samuel 3.10:   

“And the LORD came, and stood, and called as at other times, Samuel, Samuel. Then Samuel answered, Speak; for thy servant heareth.”


  1. I have to admit that having read the Bible through about fifty times, I would not have noticed this theophany had it not been brought to my attention by a commentator.[4]


  1. Yet the Hebrew word translated “stood” is a commonly used word for what only someone who is physical is capable of doing. The God of Israel appeared in physical form to this little boy named Samuel.


  1. Look down to verses 20-21 and it is obvious that was not the end of occasions the LORD manifested Himself to Samuel by taking on physical form.


First Samuel 5.1-5: 

1 And the Philistines took the ark of God, and brought it from Ebenezer unto Ashdod.

2 When the Philistines took the ark of God, they brought it into the house of Dagon, and set it by Dagon.

3 And when they of Ashdod arose early on the morrow, behold, Dagon was fallen upon his face to the earth before the ark of the LORD. And they took Dagon, and set him in his place again.

4 And when they arose early on the morrow morning, behold, Dagon was fallen upon his face to the ground before the ark of the LORD; and the head of Dagon and both the palms of his hands were cut off upon the threshold; only the stump of Dagon was left to him.

5 Therefore neither the priests of Dagon, nor any that come into Dagon’s house, tread on the threshold of Dagon in Ashdod unto this day.


  1. In First Samuel 4, we learn that Eli foolishly permitted the ark of God to be taken to a battlefield, where it was captured by the Philistines. In the passage we have just read, the Philistines have taken the ark of God to a temple of their idol Dagon.


  1. Understanding that demons lurk behind every idol, Dagon’s house became a supernatural battlefield between the demons who employ the idol Dagon to secure worship from the Philistines and the God of Israel, Who wants His ark returned.


  1. Who wins the day? The God of Israel wins the day by repeatedly toppling the statue so that it was not left standing before the ark of God, and then cutting off the statue’s head and hands.  Only the stump was left.  From that day forward the priests of Dagon would not enter their place of worship.  Why not?  They discerned that a supernatural battle had been fought and the one true and living God showed the Philistines that He had won.  One commentator observed, “The ground had been conquered and was now under the dominion of Yahweh.”[5]


First Samuel 16.14-16: 

14 But the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD troubled him.

15 And Saul’s servants said unto him, Behold now, an evil spirit from God troubleth thee.

16 Let our lord now command thy servants, which are before thee, to seek out a man, who is a cunning player on an harp: and it shall come to pass, when the evil spirit from God is upon thee, that he shall play with his hand, and thou shalt be well.


  1. King Saul sinned against God by usurping the office of priest, with the result being that his dynasty was forfeited.[6] He greatly sinned a second time by disobeying the command to destroy the Amalekites and sparing Agag, resulting in God rejecting him as king.[7]


  1. The passage just read takes place right after Samuel anointed David to be Israel’s next king. Saul’s rebellion cost him dearly.  “The Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD troubled him.”


  1. This is an extremely challenging passage to get a firm grip on, for two reasons: First, the Hebrew word translated spirit in the phrase “an evil spirit from the LORD” has primary meanings of both breath and wind, which makes interpreting the verse a challenge.[8]  Additionally, the Hebrew word translated “evil” in this phrase often does not speak of moral disposition or character.[9]  Those two factors complicate matters.


  1. Is a holy spirit sent from God to stir Saul’s conscience referred to here, who will provide relief from disturbing King Saul when David plays the harp for him? Perhaps we see an example in God’s Word of what many people would like to write off as Saul’s psychological issues, but which are actually spiritual matters in which cases God is depriving someone of enjoyment following sinful conduct and wrong decisions.[10]


  1. I remain unconvinced most so-called psychological problems are simple psychological problems, but that typically spiritual issues are involved, as well as physical wellness issues, or some combination of the two.


First Samuel 19.11-13: 

11 Saul also sent messengers unto David’s house, to watch him, and to slay him in the morning: and Michal David’s wife told him, saying, If thou save not thy life to night, to morrow thou shalt be slain.

12 So Michal let David down through a window: and he went, and fled, and escaped.

13 And Michal took an image, and laid it in the bed, and put a pillow of goats’ hair for his bolster, and covered it with a cloth.


  1. Does not the complex matter of Michal’s relationship with David become a bit easier to understand, once we consider that she possessed an image? The Hebrew word here is teraphim, which is most definitely an idol.  There is nothing innocent about this, and there are no coincidences.


  1. There can be no doubt that Michal loved David. We are told in First Samuel 18.20, 27 and 28 that she loved David, and willingly risked her father’s wrath to save David’s life.  But she also came to despise him, did she not?  She despised him in her heart for dancing before the ark of the covenant, Second Samuel 6.16,


“And as the ark of the LORD came into the city of David, Michal Saul’s daughter looked through a window, and saw king David leaping and dancing before the LORD; and she despised him in her heart.”


and criticized him to his face, Second Samuel 6.20,


“Then David returned to bless his household. And Michal the daughter of Saul came out to meet David, and said, How glorious was the king of Israel to day, who uncovered himself to day in the eyes of the handmaids of his servants, as one of the vain fellows shamelessly uncovereth himself!”


perhaps in front of witnesses.  Second Samuel 6.23 informs us that “Michal the daughter of Saul had no child unto the day of her death.”


  1. What might explain the cause of such a swing of affection for a national hero, the king of Israel, the man she had loved? Could it be that Saul was perceptive enough that he recognized his daughter’s potential to be so troublesome to David?


  1. Notice First Samuel 18.20-21:


20 And Michal Saul’s daughter loved David: and they told Saul, and the thing pleased him.

21 And Saul said, I will give him her, that she may be a snare to him, and that the hand of the Philistines may be against him. Wherefore Saul said to David, Thou shalt this day be my son in law in the one of the twain.


  1. Saul knew Michal would be trouble for David. He may not have grasped why she would be trouble for David, but he knew his daughter to know that much.  What did he know?  He knew Michal loved David, in addition to knowing she would be a snare (the Hebrew word commonly used to describe nooses and traps used to catch animals) to him.  But we may know something about Michal that her daddy did not know.


  1. We know she had a teraphim.[11] What are teraphim?  They are household gods, referred to fifteen times in the Old Testament.  Some teraphim might have been life-sized, such as seems to be the case with Michal’s.  In any event, Michal had to have dabbled in idolatry to posses such a thing, which made her susceptible to demonic influence.  Scripture shows the relationship between such things as teraphim and demons.


  1. She might have gone through life thinking she was as innocent as can be, a worshiper of the one true and living God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Her teraphim?  Oh, that was just her private thing.  Not serious at all.  Certainly no big deal.  But she was wrong.  The teraphim resulted in a demon influencing her personality, perhaps enough that her dad knew what would happen without knowing why, even after she had fallen in love with David.


  1. And it did happen, did it not? Things were complex between her and David, what with her dad giving her to another man when David was running for his life and not expected to survive.  But when he survived Saul’s attempts to kill him and he became king, he wanted his wife back.  And he got her back, only to be betrayed by her and humiliated by her in front of others.  And that was enough.  Though married to the king.  His first wife, actually.  She died barren, and likely bitter.


  1. You can’t blame the teraphim, or point the finger of accusation at the seducing spirit. The Second Commandment and all.  No idols.  None.  But she granted herself permission to keep her one teraphim.  No harm, she thought.  But what she might not have ever realized was the subtle influence and effect of a spirit vastly more intelligent and cunning than she could ever have imagined, and so resolutely opposed to her husband, God’s anointed king, that she would have been stunned.  She had no chance with David so long as she clung to her idolatry.  A seducing spirit, after all.[12]


First Samuel 28.3-13:

3  Now Samuel was dead, and all Israel had lamented him, and buried him in Ramah, even in his own city. And Saul had put away those that had familiar spirits, and the wizards, out of the land.

4  And the Philistines gathered themselves together, and came and pitched in Shunem: and Saul gathered all Israel together, and they pitched in Gilboa.

5  And when Saul saw the host of the Philistines, he was afraid, and his heart greatly trembled.

6  And when Saul enquired of the LORD, the LORD answered him not, neither by dreams, nor by Urim, nor by prophets.

7  Then said Saul unto his servants, Seek me a woman that hath a familiar spirit, that I may go to her, and enquire of her. And his servants said to him, Behold, there is a woman that hath a familiar spirit at Endor.

8  And Saul disguised himself, and put on other raiment, and he went, and two men with him, and they came to the woman by night: and he said, I pray thee, divine unto me by the familiar spirit, and bring me him up, whom I shall name unto thee.

9  And the woman said unto him, Behold, thou knowest what Saul hath done, how he hath cut off those that have familiar spirits, and the wizards, out of the land: wherefore then layest thou a snare for my life, to cause me to die?

10 And Saul sware to her by the LORD, saying, As the LORD liveth, there shall no punishment happen to thee for this thing.

11 Then said the woman, Whom shall I bring up unto thee? And he said, Bring me up Samuel.

12 And when the woman saw Samuel, she cried with a loud voice: and the woman spake to Saul, saying, Why hast thou deceived me? for thou art Saul.

13 And the king said unto her, Be not afraid: for what sawest thou? And the woman said unto Saul, I saw gods ascending out of the earth.


  1. Three words are of special interest to us in this passage, “familiar spirit(s)” in verses 3, 7, 8, and 9, “wizards” in verses 3 and 9, and “gods” in verse 13.


  1. Someone with a “familiar spirit” is a necromancer, the Hebrew word referring to someone who seeks interaction with the spirits of the dead.[13] King Saul had condemned such people from the land, according to the Law of Moses, verse 3, but sought out just such a person to consult with the spirit of the now dead prophet, Samuel, verses 7, 8, 9, 11 and 12.  Thus, necromancy is possible, and Saul was successful in his endeavor, though God forbids it, Deuteronomy 18.9-12:


9  When thou art come into the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those nations.

10 There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch,

11 Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer.

12 For all that do these things are an abomination unto the LORD: and because of these abominations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee.


  1. Someone who is a “wizard” is an individual who has knowledge of or intimate acquaintance with the unseen world, from association with spirits not necessarily associated with the dead.[14] Deuteronomy 8.9-12 speaks as strongly against this type of individual as a necromancer, because in its entirety it is association of some kind with the supernatural of a type God prohibits.


  1. The final word to consider is translated “gods,” Myhla.[15] To better understand the use of this word, keep in mind that the word is used thousands of times in the Bible of the God of Israel.  But it is also used of supernatural beings who are allies of God.  As well, the word is used of the gods and goddesses of other nations, of demons, of angels, of the Angel of the LORD, and in First Samuel 28.13 of the dead prophet Samuel.[16]  Thus, the word Myhla is best understood to refer to any incorporeal being, while most frequently but not always used in the Bible to refer to God.


  1. This episode in King Saul’s life occurred the night before he committed suicide the next day when he saw that his battle against the Philistines was lost. He had sought guidance from God, but God was silent to his unrepentant pleas for success in battle.  Unsuccessful in seeking successful guidance from God, he turned to the witch of Endor, someone prohibited by the Law of Moses, someone Saul himself had banished from his kingdom, but someone he hypocritically sought out when he was in serious trouble.


  1. Saul turned out to be successful. The witch of Endor succeeded in connecting with the dead Samuel’s spirit.  For some reason God allowed that to occur.  But it turned out badly, as such matter always turn out badly.  That is why God wants His people to have nothing to do with the abominations of the nations.


[1] John F. Walvoord & Roy B. Zuck, General Editors, The Bible Knowledge Commentary: Old Testament, (Colorado Springs, CO: David C. Cook, 1985), pages 431-432.

[2] Deuteronomy 13:13; Judges 19:22; 20:13; 1 Samuel 1:16; 2:12; 10:27; 25:17, 25; 30:22; 2 Samuel 16:7; 20:1; 23:6; 1 Kings 21:10, 13; 2 Chronicles 13:7; 2 Corinthians 6:15

[3] Karel van der Toorn, Bob Becking, Pieter W. Van der Horst, editors, Dictionary Of Deities And Demons In The Bible, (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Second Extensively Revised Edition, 1999), pages 169-171.

[4] Michael S. Heiser, The Unseen Realm: Recovering The Supernatural Worldview Of The Bible, (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2015), page 223.

[5] Michael S. Heiser, Demons: What The Bible Really Says About The Powers Of Darkness, (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2020), page 156.

[6] 1 Samuel 13.9-13

[7] 1 Samuel 15.1-23

[8] DDD, pages 319-320.

[9] Demons, page 197.

[10] See also 1 Samuel 18.10-12; 19.9-10

[11] DDD, pages 844-850.

[12] 1 Timothy 4.1

[13] Francis Brown, S. R. Driver & Charles A. Briggs, The New Brown-Driver-Briggs-Gesenius Hebrew And English Lexicon, (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 1979), page 15.

[14] Ibid., page 396.

[15] Ibid., pages 43-44.

[16] The Unseen Realm, page 30.

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