1 Samuel 28:9-10 But the woman said to him, "Surely you know what Saul has done. He has cut off the mediums and spiritists from the land. Why have you set a trap for my life to bring about my death?" Saul swore to her by the LORD, "As surely as the LORD lives, you will not be punished for this."
Why is it when you ask a little kid if they've done something wrong, they immediately tell you they haven't? Even though you already know they did. My youngest daughter will deny everything the first time. But when I look her in the eye, ask her again with that serious tone - she comes clean. I guess it's our human nature to avoid a disaster that we perceive may happen if we give an honest answer. However, God requires it. I think, if we look at this realistically, I would rather suffer the consequences of telling the truth - than the strain on my relationship with God from not telling the truth.
Since the woman of Endor had no relationship with God, lying was not a big issue for her. She was lying to save her life. She was in hiding and knew that if someone turned her in - she would be killed. She had to be careful. Here's the irony: Saul promised her "by the Lord" that he wouldn't have her killed. By the Lord???? It's like hearing an atheist say "I swear to God" - really? How can you seek out the things the devil has lured you to and in the same breath use God to justify it?
It's the bar-hopping, unfaithful co-worker that tells you they love Jesus. How can you seek out the things of satan and still claim to have a relationship with God. We all back-slide, but the importance of having a relationship with God is seeing our error and avoiding that temptation. Saul got caught up in this and the example he could've been for the witch of Endor was lost.