Witch of Endor

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The woman who was consulted by King Saul and who brought up the prophet Samuel from the dead, as told in the 1 Samuel 28. The problems connected with the story were discussed in the period of the Geonim. Samuel ben Hophni, Gaon of Sura (d. 1013), father-in-law of Hai Gaon, was asked whether the story was to be taken literally, and whether the witch actually succeeded in raising Samuel from the dead. Samuel ben Hophni replies that he finds it impossible to believe that God would have made a witch the instrument of raising Samuel. The true meaning of the story is that the witch, by trickery, persuaded Saul that she had succeeded in bringing up Samuel.

Subjects: Judaism and Jewish Studies.

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