The Philistine army assembled at Aphek and moved north setting up camp in Shunem on the southwest slope of the Hill of Moreh to meet Saul’s military in the Jezreel Valley. Israel’s forces assembled on Mount Gilboa. (The Hill of Moreh is in the middle of the Jezreel Valley between Mount Tabor on the north edge and Mount Gilboa on the south edge of the Valley.) (Map HERE.)
The Lord had cut off all communication with Saul due to his arrogance and rebellious behavior. Saul had no prophets since he had disobeyed Samuel, but David had Gad (1 Samuel 22:5). Saul had slaughtered the priest so he did not have access to the urim and thummim, but the sole surviving priest had fled to David with the ephod containing the urim and thummim which David often used. For some unknown reason Saul had expelled all the mediums and spiritists from Israel which was in agreement with the Law of Moses in Leviticus 20:6 where the Lord says:
“I will set my face against the person who turns to mediums and spiritists to prostitute himself by following them.”
But, in spite of this Law and in violation of his own decree Saul commands his personal attendants to, “Find me a woman who is a medium!” And, interestingly, they knew there was a woman practicing the occult just on the other side of the Jezreel Valley in the town of Endor.
In a state of great fear Saul disguised himself and made the short journey across the valley slipping past the Philistine camp to ask the medium to consult the dead prophet Samuel. The events that transpire as the medium calls Samuel and as Samuel rebukes Saul one final time leave many questions unanswered and challenge any honest person’s theology. The intensity of this unexplainable situation that violates the law of the Lord even as the illegal and forbidden medium produces Samuel from the underworld with an accurate word from the Lord seems to indicate that the confusion left for the reader to sort through is intentional.