Questions From Readers
● 1 Samuel 28:6 (NW) says: “Although Saul would inquire of Jehovah, Jehovah never answered him, either by dreams or by the Urim or by the prophets.” But 1 Chronicles 10:14 (NW) says about Saul: “And he did not inquire of Jehovah.” How can these two texts be harmonized?—N. M., Hawaii.
Apparently Saul made inquiry of Jehovah, but not in the right way or with the right motives. His heart was not clean in the matter and Jehovah could see this, so no answer was given to Saul from God. Then Saul turned to the witch of En-dor, or to the spirit medium located there. He made inquiry of the spirit medium, a practice condemned by God. Saul went through certain forms of inquiring of God, but he did not make inquiry of God in an upright, clean way, and for that reason God did not hear or answer Saul.
A person today may pray to God, but if the person is wicked or prays wrongly God does not hear the prayer. “You do ask, and yet you do not receive, because you are asking for a wrong purpose, that you may expend it upon your cravings for sensual pleasure.” “If one turns away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer is an abomination.” “The LORD is far from the wicked, but he hears the prayer of the righteous.”—Jas. 4:3, NW; Prov. 28:9; 15:29, RS.
In one sense it may be said that a person prays, in that he goes through the form of praying. But it may be said in another sense that he does not pray, since he does not do it in the way that is acceptable to God and as a result his prayer is never heard by God. So in the same way 1 Samuel 28:6 may say Saul inquired of God because he went through the form of inquiry, and 1 Chronicles 10:14 may also say correctly that Saul did not inquire of God, meaning he made no proper, acceptable inquiries.