MICHAL, DAVID'S WIFE

Well, where to begin? There is a tremendous amount of material in today’s reading and I am not sure if I can possibly do it justice! And that brings me right back to my original question, where do I begin?  Maybe David? Or Saul? Or maybe the political situation in Israel at this time? Hmmm, what about Michal? You remember her? Saul’s youngest daughter, married to David, saved David’s life when Saul sought to kill him, their marriage annulled in Saul’s anger, given in marriage to Paltiel, David takes her back, and then she is very critical of David’s dancing wildly in only an ephod in front of the Ark of the Covenant as he brings it into Jerusalem! You remember her don’t you?

Now you are probably asking yourselves, “Why would he choose to write about Michal?” I know that’s what I would be asking myself and, if the truth be known, that’s exactly what I did ask myself! Why? Indeed! When I was a sophomore in college I took a course on 1st and 2nd Samuel, 1st and 2nd Kings and Chronicles. The course was taught be a retired archeologist with firsthand experience with digs in Israel. He brought in artifacts, slides and writings that brought much of the course to life! It truly was a great experience! Now, if the truth be known, he was also a romanticist and a poet. He brought out interesting points regarding what could be considered minor characters in these books. One of these characters was Michal.

Michal passionately loved David! David was much loved by the people, he was a successful warrior, a poet, a musician, and the victor over Goliath. Saul had promised marriage to his eldest daughter to whomever killed Goliath, but he regretted that promise and gave the hand of his eldest daughter, Merab, to another man. But David was a veritable hero now among the people and Saul’s jealousy prompted him to devise a plan that would place David’s life in jeopardy. He promised his second daughter, Michal, to David under the condition that David would bring him the foreskins of one hundred Philistine warriors. Saul figured that these warriors would not willingly give them up and in fact would fight viciously to keep them. Therefore, Saul thought that this would take care of his David problem. Then, when David brought him 200 foreskins there was no way possible for Saul to go back on his promise and David and Michal were wed. But Saul continued to plot David’s death with lots of spear throwing and near misses until he finally demands of his guard to bring David before him so that he could execute him. Michal got wind of her father’s plan and told David to flee or die. She lowered him from a window to safety and then set up a hair covered image in his bed and fooled the guards that had been sent. She then tempered her father’s rage by telling him that David had threatened her life if she didn’t help him. David then went into self-imposed exile avoiding Saul and his army as we know. Michal’s love for David began to wane as time passed and then she heard that David had wed two other women. So, when her father gave her to Phalti of Gallem (Paltiel) to wed, she did not oppose it even though she was still David’s wife. Then Saul dies, David comes to the throne and he decides that he wants Michal back as his wife, (most believe this was for political reasons).Then, it happens! David brings the Ark of the Covenant to his new capital and in his great joy, he dances before the Ark in an ephod only in a very uninhibited way. Michal sees this from a window and becomes enraged. She believes that David has degraded his kingship, her father’s house, and has allowed his servants/ handmaids to see his nakedness. Her diatribe was full of scorn and disdain and she despised him. David in response told her that he was not ashamed of what he had done and that God chose him over all the house of Saul to reign. Michal had missed the essential significance of David’s career, that in spite of his failures he was a man after God’s own heart. Michal knew about God, but she did not know God as David knew Him. She did not understand David’s devotion to God, nor would she ever understand it. They would now and forever be estranged because David realized that they could never love the same God. Michal’s punishment was to be barren until the day she died. And David, well, we know that he had a prominent role in Jesus’ lineage. There’s more to this, but I’m running out of space. But, there is one thing I have found very interesting about Michal and her story, she passionately loved David at the beginning, but scripture never mentions David loving her. Interesting, isn’t it!?  

by Paul Kightlinger

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