Did Saul inquire of the LORD? - BibelCenter [apparent] contradictions
Overview
Did Saul inquire of the LORD?
von Wolfgang Schneider

1 Samuel 28:6 — "And when Saul inquired of the LORD, the LORD answered him not …"
1 Chronicles 10:13–14 — "So Saul died for his transgression which he committed against the LORD, even against the word of the LORD, which he kept not, and also for asking counsel of one that had a familiar spirit, to inquire of it; And inquired not of the LORD: …"

Now, these verses appear indeed to contradict each other as we read them in the Authorized Version (KJV). In themselves, the passages are clear and can easily be understood, therefore the problem must be caused by something else and not a wrong understanding. Apparent contradictions in the Bible can almost always be traced to two causes: (1) A lack of or a false understanding of a statement in Scripture, or (2) a false or inaccurate translation.

Here, the cause is a problem in translation. The difficulty is there because two different and distinct Hebrew words are translated by the same one English word. Now, the English word "inquire" may indeed be a good and correct translation for the two Hebrew words sha'al [sha'el] and darash and it would be sufficient in many cases. However, in this case the key to solving the apparent contradiction is to very carefully observe the usage of these two Hebrew words. From the meaning, darash is the more intensive word, it describes an intense searching, looking, inquiring and more detailed exploration than is the case with the word sha'al, which describes only a more general asking and inquiring.

In 1 Samuel 28:6 it says, that Saul inquired [sha'al] of the LORD; his turning to the LORD was a simple asking, a simple inquiring without having put much effort into this matter. Remarkable really is what is then said about Saul in 1 Samuel 28:7, "Then said Saul unto his servants, Seek me a woman that hath a familiar spirit, that I may go to her, and inquire [darash] of her. …“ To the LORD Saul only turned and inquired in the form of sha'al, but of the witch of Endor he wanted to inquire and get counsel in the form of darash!

In 1 Chronicles 10:13–14 it then says, "So Saul died for his transgression which he committed against the LORD, even against the word of the LORD, which he kept not, and also for asking counsel of one that had a familiar spirit, to inquire [darash] of it; And inquired [darash] not of the LORD: …" These verses don't speak of inquiring in the form ofsha'al, but deal with an earnest and serious inquiring in the form of darash. And that is what Saul had not done with the LORD, he only had turned superficially to the LORD, but his serious and diligent endeavors for counsel were not directed toward God but rather to the witch of Endor. Such desires of the heart and actions were forbidden in the Mosaic Law (cp. Leviticus 19:31 and Deuteronomy 18:10ff).

In this way this apparent contradiction is solved in a remarkable way, and we see how wonderful God's Word and how very important at times the great accuracy of the statements in the Bible is even in small details which are mentioned in the text. God's Word is absolutely accurate, and even in the minutest details the revelation of God will show itself to e inerrant and free of contradictions.



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Copyright © 2009 by Wolfgang Schneider
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Last changed: 10.02.2009