After Samuel told Saul God had rejected him as king for the last time, Samuel never spoke to Saul again. Sending Samuel to find a young boy, God had him anoint David as the future king of Israel. Distancing himself further from Saul, God replaced his spirit in Saul with an evil one that tormented him. Living in the palace for seven years, David comforted Saul with his harp. Knowing God would remove him as king, Saul came to realize David would be his replacement and tried to kill him. For almost eight years David eluded Saul and could no longer play his soothing melodies.
1 Samuel 15:35 New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised
35 Samuel did not see Saul again until the day of his death, but Samuel grieved over Saul. And the Lord was sorry that he had made Saul king over Israel.
1 Samuel 16:14 Amplified Bible, Classic Edition
14 But the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord tormented and troubled him.
1 Samuel 16:23 Contemporary English Version
23 Whenever the evil spirit from God bothered Saul, David would play his harp. Saul would relax and feel better, and the evil spirit would go away.
Weary of evading Saul in Israel, David went to Gath in the land of the Philistines ruled by king Achish and was given the town of Ziklag. Sixteen months later the Philistines gathered to attack Saul and the Israelites. After following God’s direction to eliminate all the medians in Israel, Saul is now determined to hear from one. It is within this setting that we find Saul, afraid and desperate to hear from God on what to do. How do mediums operate? What does it mean to have a familiar spirit? What kind of spirits do they communicate with? Who has the power to raise the dead?
1 Samuel 28:3 Good News Translation
3 Now Samuel had died, and all the Israelites had mourned for him and had buried him in his hometown of Ramah. Saul had forced all the fortunetellers and mediums to leave Israel.
1 Samuel 28:5-7 21st Century King James Version
5 And when Saul saw the host of the Philistines, he was afraid and his heart greatly trembled. 6 And when Saul inquired of the Lord, the Lord answered him not, neither by dreams nor by Urim nor by prophets. 7 Then said Saul unto his servants, “Seek me a woman who hath a familiar spirit, that I may go to her and inquire of her.” And his servants said to him, “Behold, there is a woman who hath a familiar spirit at Endor.”