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If the story of Saul's consultation of the occult powers is to be regarded as an authentic narrative, or, at any rate, as a statement which is perfectly veracious so far as the intention of the narrator goes-and, as I have said, I see no reason for refusing it this character -it will be found, on further consideration, to throw a flood of light, both directly and indirectly, on the theology of Saul's countrymen— that is to say upon their beliefs respecting the nature and ways of spiritual beings.

Even without the confirmation of other abundant evidences to the same effect, it leaves no doubt as to the existence among them of the fundamental doctrine that man consists of a body and of a spirit, which last, after the death of the body, continues to exist as a ghost. At the time of Saul's visit to Endor, Samuel was dead and buried; but that his spirit would be believed to continue to exist in Sheol may be concluded from the well-known passage in the song attributed to Hannah, his mother:

Jahveh killeth and maketh alive,

He bringeth down to Sheol and bringeth up. (1 Sam. ii. 6.) And it is obvious that this Sheol was thought to be a place underground in which Samuel's spirit had been disturbed by the necromancer's summons, and in which, after his return thither, he would be joined by the spirits of Saul and his sons when they had met with their bodily death on the hill of Gilboa. It is further to be observed that the spirit, or ghost, of the dead man presents itself as the image of the man himself-it is the man not merely in his ordinary corporeal presentment (even down to the prophet's mantle) but in his moral and intellectual characteristics. Samuel, who had begun as Saul's friend and ended as his bitter enemy, gives it to be understood that he is annoyed at Saul's presumption in disturbing him; and that, in Sheol, he is as much the devoted servant of Jahveh, and as much empowered to speak in Jahveh's name, as he was during his sojourn in the upper air.

It appears now to be universally admitted that, before the exile, the Israelites had no belief in rewards and punishments after death, or in anything similar to the christian heaven and hell; but our story proves that it would be an error to suppose that they did not believe in the continuance of individual existence after death by a ghostly simulacrum of life. Nay, I think it would be very hard to produce conclusive evidence that they disbelieved in immortality; for I am not aware that there is anything to show that they thought the existence of the souls of the dead in Sheol ever came to an end. But they do not seem to have conceived that the condition of the souls in Sheol was in any way affected by their conduct in life. If there was immortality, there was no state of retribution in their theology. Samuel expects Saul and his sons to come to him in Sheol.

The next circumstance to be remarked is that the name of Elohim

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is applied to the spirit which the woman sees coming up out of the earth,' that is to say from Sheol. The authorised version translates this in its literal sense gods.' The revised version gives 'god' with 'gods' in the margin. Reuss renders the word by 'spectre,' remarking in a note that it is not quite exact; but that the word Elohim expresses something divine, that is to say superhuman, commanding respect and terror' (Histoire des Israelites, p. 321). Tuch, in his commentary on Genesis, and Thenius, in his commentary on Samuel, express substantially the same opinion. Dr. Alexander (in Kitto's Cyclopædia, s. v. 'God') has the following instructive remarks:

[Elohim is] sometimes used vaguely to describe unseen powers or superhuman beings that are not properly thought of as divine. Thus the witch of Endor saw ‘Elohim ascending out of the earth' (1 Sam. xxviii. 13), meaning thereby some beings of an unearthly, superhuman character. So also in Zech. xii. 8, it is said 'the house of David shall be as Elohim, as the angel of the Lord,' where, as the transition from Elohim to the angel of the Lord is a minori ad majus, we must regard the former as a vague designation of supernatural powers.

Dr. Alexander speaks here of 'beings;' but as Elohim, a plural form, is very often used elsewhere with a verb in the singular, there is no reason to suppose that the wise-woman of Endor referred to anything but a solitary spectre, and it is quite clear that Saul understood her in this sense, or he asks, 'What form is HE of?'

This fact that the name of Elohim is applied to a ghost, or disembodied soul, conceived as the image of the body in which it once dwelt, is of no little importance. For it is well known that the same term was employed to denote the gods of the heathen, which were thought to have definite quasi-corporeal forms and to be as much real entities as any other Elohim. The difference which was supposed to exist between the different Elohim was one of degree, not one of kind. Elohim was, in logical terminology, the genus of which ghosts, Chemosh, Dagon, Baal, and Jahveh were species. The Israelite believed Jahveh to be immeasurably superior to all other kinds of Elohim. The inscription on the Moabite stone shows that King Mesa held Chemosh to be as unquestionably the superior of Jahveh. But if Jahveh was thus supposed to differ only in degree from the undoubtedly zoomorphic or anthropomorphic gods of the nations,' why is it to be assumed that he also was not thought of as having a human shape? It is possible for those who forget that the time of the great prophetic writers is at least as remote from that of Saul as our day is from that of Queen Elizabeth, to insist upon interpreting the gross notions, current in the earlier age and among

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↑ See, for example, the message of Jephthah to the King of the Ammonites: 'So now Jahveh, the Elohim of Israel, hath dispossessed the Amorites from before his people Israel, and shouldest thou possess them? Wilt not thou possess that which Chemosh, thy Elohim, giveth thee to possess?' (Judges xi. 23, 24). For Jephthah, Chemosh is obviously as real a personage as Jahveh.

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the mass of the people, by the refined conceptions promulgated by a few select spirits centuries later. But if we take the language constantly used concerning the Deity in the books of Genesis, Exodus, Joshua, Judges, Samuel, or Kings, in its natural sense (and I am aware of no valid reason which can be given for taking it in any other sense), there cannot, to my mind, be a doubt that Jahveh was conceived, by those from whom the substance of these books is mainly derived, to possess the appearance and the intellectual and moral attributes of a man, and indeed of a man of just that type with which the Israelites were familiar in their stronger and intellectually abler rulers and leaders. In a well-known passage of Genesis (i. 27) Elohim is said to have created man in his own image, in the image of Elohim created he him.' It is man' who is here said to be the image of Elohim-not man's soul alone, still less his reason,' but the whole man. It is obvious that for those who called a manlike ghost, Elohim, there could be no difficulty in conceiving any other Elohim under the same aspect. And if there could be any doubt on this subject, surely it cannot stand in the face of what we find in the fifth chapter, where, immediately after a repetition of the statement that Elohim created man, in the likeness of Elohim made he him,' it is said that Adam begat Seth in his own likeness, after his image.' Does this mean that Seth resembled Adam only in a spiritual and figurative sense? And if that interpretation of the third verse of the fifth chapter of Genesis is absurd, why does it become reasonable in the first verse of the same chapter?

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But let us go further. Is not the Jahveh who walks in the garden in the cool of the day;' from whom one may hope to hide oneself among the trees;' of whom it is expressly said that Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel,' 'saw the Elohim of Israel' (Exodus xxiv. 9-11); and that, although the seeing Jahveh was understood to be a high crime and misdemeanour, worthy of death, under ordinary circumstances, yet, for this once, he laid not his hand on the nobles of Israel;' that they beheld Elohim and did eat and drink;' and that afterwards Moses saw his back (Exodus xxxiii. 23)-is not this Deity conceived as man-like in form? Again, is not the Jahveh who eats with Abraham under the oaks at Mamre, who is pleased with the 'sweet savour' of Noah's sacrifice, to whom sacrifices are said to be 'food' 5-is not this Deity depicted as possessed of human appetites? If this were not the current Israelitish idea of Jahveh even in the eighth century B.C., where is the point of Isaiah's scathing admonitions to his countrymen: To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? saith Jahveh: I am full of the burnt offerings of rams and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of

For example: 'My oblation, my food for my offerings made by fire, of a sweet savour to me, shall ye observe to offer unto me in their due season' (Numbers xxviii. 2).

he-goats' (Isaiah i. 11). Or of Micah's inquiry, Will Jahveh be pleased with thousands of rams or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? * (vi. 7). And, in the innumerable passages in which Jahveh is said to be jealous of other gods, to be angry, to be appeased, and to repent; in which he is represented as casting off Saul because the king does not quite literally execute a command of the most ruthless severity; or as smiting Uzzah to death because the unfortunate man thoughtlessly, but naturally enough, put out his hand to stay the ark from fallingcan any one deny that the old Israelites conceived Jahveh not only in the image of a man, but in that of a changeable and, occasionally, violent man? There appears to me, then, to be no reason to doubt that the notion of likeness to man, which was indubitably held of the ghost Elohim, was carried out consistently through the whole series of Elohim, and that Jahveh-Elohim was thought of as a being of the same substantially human nature as the rest, only immeasurably more powerful for good and for evil.

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The absence of any real distinction between the Elohim of different ranks is further clearly illustrated by the corresponding absenceof any sharp delimitation between the various kinds of people who serve as the media of communication between them and men. The agents through whom the lower Elohim are consulted are called necromancers, wizards, and diviners, and are looked down upon by theprophets and priests of the higher Elohim; but the seer' connects the two, and they are all alike in their essential characters of media. The wise-woman of Endor was believed by others, and, I have little doubt, believed herself, to be able to bring up' whom she would from Sheol, and to be inspired, whether in virtue of actual possession by the evoked Elohim, or otherwise, with a knowledge of hidden things. I am unable to see that Saul's servant took any really different view of Samuel's powers, though he may have believed that he obtained them by the grace of the higher Elohim. For when Sauì fails to find his father's asses, his servant says to him

Behold now, there is in this city a man of Elohim, and he is a man that is held in honour; all that he saith cometh surely to pass: now let us go thither; peradventure he can tell us concerning our journey whereon we go. Then said Saul to his servant, But behold if we go, what shall we bring the man? for the bread is spent in our vessels and there is not a present to bring to the man of Elohim. What have we? And the servant answered Saul again and said, Behold I have in my hand the fourth part of a shekel of silver: that will I give to the man of Elohim to tell us our way. (Beforetime in Israel when a man went to inquire of Elohim, thus he said, Come and let us go to the seer: for he that is now called a Prophet was beforetime called a Seer.) (1 Samuel ix. 6-10.),

In fact, when, shortly afterwards, Saul accidentally meets Samuel, he says, 'Tell me, I pray thee, where the Seer's house is.' Samuel answers, I am the Seer.' Immediately afterwards Samuel informs In 2 Samuel xv. 27 David says to Zadok the priest, Art thou not a seer?' and! Gad is called David's seer.

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Saul that the asses are found, though how he obtained his knowledge of the fact is not stated. It will be observed that Samuel is not spoken of here as, in any special sense, a seer or prophet of Jahveh, but as a man of Elohim '—that is to say, a Seer having access to the 'spiritual powers,' just as the wise-woman of Endor might have been said to be a 'woman of Elohim '—and the narrator's or editor's explanatory note seems to indicate that 'Prophet' is merely a name introduced later than the time of Samuel for a superior kind of 'Seer,' or 'man of Elohim.'7

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Another very instructive passage shows that Samuel was not only considered to be diviner, seer, and prophet in one, but that he was also, to all intents and purposes, priest of Jahveh-though, according to his biographer, he was not a member of the tribe of Levi. At the outset of their acquaintance, Samuel says to Saul, Go up before me into the high place,' where, as the young maidens of the city had just before told Saul, the Seer was going, for the people will not eat until he come, because he doth bless the sacrifice' (1 Sam. ix. 13). The use of the word bless here-as if Samuel were not going to sacrifice, but only to offer a blessing or thanksgiving-is curious. But that Samuel really acted as priest seems plain from what follows. For he not only asks Saul to share in the customary sacrificial feast, but he disposes in Saul's favour of that portion of the victim which the Levitical legislation, doubtless embodying old customs, recognises as the priest's special property.8

Although particular persons adopted the profession of media between men and Elohim, there was no limitation of the power, in the view of ancient Israel, to any special class of the population. Saul inquires of Jahveh and builds him altars on his own account; and in the very remarkable story told in the fourteenth chapter of the first book of Samuel (v. 37-46), Saul appears to conduct the whole process of divination, although he has a priest at his elbow. David seems to do the same.

Moreover, Elohim constantly appears in dreams-which in old Israel did not mean that, as we should say, the subject of the appearance dreamed he saw the spirit;' but that he veritably saw the Elohim which, as a soul, visited his soul while his body was

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This would at first appear to be inconsistent with the use of the word 'prophetess' for Deborah. But it does not follow because the writer of Judges applies the name to Deborah that it was used in her day. Samuel tells the cook, Bring the portion which I gave thee, of which I said to thee, Set it by thee.' was therefore Samuel's to give. And the cook took up the thigh (or shoulder) and that which was upon it and set it before Saul.' But in the Levitical regulations it is the thigh (or shoulder) which becomes the priest's own property. And the right thigh (or shoulder) shall ye give unto the priest for an heave-offering,' which is given along with the wave breast unto Aaron the priest and unto his sons as a due for ever from the children of Israel' (Leviticus viii. 31–34). Reuss writes on this passage: La cuisse n'est point agitée, mais simplement prélevée sur ce que les convives mangeront.'

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