Chapter 28 is the story of the ghost-wife, or necromancer, also called the Witch of Endor, who conjures Samuel up from the grave in response to Saul’s plea. Some commentators feel this story is the basis for the witches in Macbeth.
“This woman has defied the decree against calling the dead [Lev 20-27; Deut 18:10-11] and is still adept at her trade. This story sets the stage for centuries of Jewish women’s spiritual arts that were banished underground but somehow managed to survive…Talking directly to God, the spirit world, the dead and angels bypasses the traditional authority structure. It is a rebellious act. It circumvents the authority of the king, the priests, and the institutional prophets.”
“How ironic that an unnamed woman, practicing an illegal craft, becomes advisor to the king!”
—–Rabbi Geela Rayzel Raphael in The Women’s Haftarah Commentary