All you are doing is arguing AGAINST the idea that the Hebrew had a belief in ANY kind of afterlife. This is probably because you think the Pharisaic view of resurrection only at the End of Days is the only valid Jewish viewpoint. But this supports my general position about Jewish theology.
But at the moment, I am exploring the nuanced distinctions between a good afterlife for common men/women … vs. a drab or depressing one. I know of NO Semitic people who thought a good afterlife was possible for commoners prior to the arrival of the Persians in the region.
But let’s continue on with our discussion of the Endor incident. Read these 3 lines about it:
"And he said unto her, What form is he of? And she said, An old man cometh up; and he is covered with a mantle. And Saul perceived that it was Samuel, and he stooped with his face to the ground, and bowed himself."
“And Samuel said to Saul, Why hast thou disquieted me, to bring me up? And Saul answered, I am sore distressed; for the Philistines make war against me, and God is departed from me, and answereth me no more, neither by prophets, nor by dreams: therefore I have called thee, that thou mayest make known unto me what I shall do.”
"Then said Samuel, Wherefore then dost thou ask of me, seeing the LORD is departed from thee, and is become thine enemy? "
It’s pretty clear that the writer accepts that the spirit IS Samuel.
Let’s read further:
"Moreover the LORD will also deliver Israel with thee into the hand of the Philistines: and to morrow shalt thou and thy sons be with me: the LORD also shall deliver the host of Israel into the hand of the Philistines."
“Then Saul fell straightway all along on the earth, and was sore afraid, because of the words of Samuel: and there was no strength in him; for he had eaten no bread all the day, nor all the night.”
In these texts, we see this spirit EXPLAINING the righteousness of Yahweh … and the narrator explaining that Samuel correctly assesses Saul’s situation.
Returning to the issue of whether there was a happy afterlife at all … we read this discussion in Wright’s “Death, the Dead and the Underworld in Biblical Theology”:
“. . . . rather than presenting a uniquely Judeo-Christian view of the destination of the dead, elements of Sheol parallel other underworld descriptions from the Ancient Near East. Dahood considers Sheol as a place of
sludge, slime, mire and filth (Ps. 7:6; 22:15; 30:10; 46:3,24; 69:3; 90:3), which, if correct, finds parallels in Ugaritic material.52 The seminal work of Martin Achard recognises that the biblical presentation of Sheol, at times, is depicted as a vast subterranean underworld deep within the earth (Is. 5:14; 7:11; 57:9) where there is overwhelming darkness (Job 10:21; Ps. 88:6,12; 143:3; Lam. 3:6). This leads him to consider that the Old Testament conception of Sheol is considered to be akin to other ancient views of the underworld.”
" ‘The Israelites, like most of the primitive peoples, believe that the dead are gathered together in a vast and usually subterranean region that is set apart for them. The world of the dead, the Sheol of the Hebrews, corresponds in every particular to the Hades of the Greeks and the Arallu of the Assyro-Babylonians.’ "
The singular strength of this view is that it recognises that Sheol is not a place of punishment. Rather it is the place to which all the dead—righteous and wicked, believer and non-believer—descend upon their death."
[END OF CLIP]
Wright does protest this kind of presentation. But I don’t think very convincingly.
Also in his discussion:
“. . . a number of passages speak of all descending to Sheol (e.g. Ps. 89:48-49; Ecc. 9:7-10). . .”
"This silence suggests a denial of ongoing relationships, especially with God, a suggestion confirmed by the description of Sheol as a place where the dead cannot remember, praise or thank God (Ps. 6:6; Is. 38:18;
Jonah 2:5), a land of forgetfulness where the dead are cut off from him and forgotten (Ps. 88:5,12). Unsurprisingly then, sleep is an appropriate description of death and the dead (2 Kings 4:31, 13:21; Job 3:13, 14:12; Ps. 13:3; Jer. Death, the Dead and the Underworld in Biblical Theology—Pt 1 17 51:39, 57; Dan. 12:2). "
Frankly, @Jonathan_Burke, you have quite a task: you have to convince me that Old Testament Hebrew BELIEVED in a good afterlife … but NO spirits of mortals … How exactly do you plan to do that?
All I have to do is show that the afterlife was believed to be generally unpleasant … AND that this unpleasant afterlife allowed for the possibility of spirits of mortals.