I’ve always been fascinated by the women of the Bible. Michal, Saul’s daughter is one that has intrigued me for years. Some of the things I want to know about her aren’t explained in Scripture, but still, what I do know about her is fascinating!
Michal and David were in love before Saul gave her to David in marriage. (Now, Saul had promised his daughter to whomever would fight for him. He didn’t exactly keep that promise, as he gave his firstborn daughter, Merab, to someone else. But, since Michal and David were in love, I’m sure David was pleased to get Michal instead of her sister. He paid twice the required dowry to Saul, and married Michal.)
One of the things we’re not told is why Saul thought Michal might be a “snare” to David. What did her father Saul know about her that we don’t?
When Saul threatens to kill David, Michal saves David’s life by putting a dummy in the bed and helping her husband escape.
Things went from bad to worse with Saul for David. It looks like David was away from Michal for years, fleeing her father. In the meantime, Saul gave her in marriage to a man named Phalti, who loved her. (I don’t understand this part of the story either! How could Saul give his daughter in marriage to another man, when he knew that David was still alive? Was Saul already that amoral that it didn’t matter to him? Did he do this because he cared for his daughter? Or did he want to punish David?)
Eventually, David got her back, and they should have lived happily ever after.
Life didn’t work out that way.
By this time, David had quite a few more wives, children by at least six of them, and you can imagine what kind of “favorable” impact this had on his relationship with Michal—especially after he stole her back from her second husband, who went crying after her.
Next, we see Michal at her very worst. David is very happy to be bringing the ark of the Lord back home. He dances with all his might. Michal sees him dancing before the Lord, and she despises David in her heart. (Was she jealous of God? Her husband was enthusiastic about God and the symbol of His presence, the ark of the covenant. Was David more thrilled with the ark and his dance for the Lord than with her?)
She meets David and publicly mocks him. This was extremely ugly and disrespectful, to say the least.
David answers her, and then God judges her harshly. She never has a child after that.
Why the harsh judgment? It’s because she disrespected both God and her husband.
Let’s go back just a little bit. Can you see reasons why Michal might have been jealous of God and mad at David? David, in his absence from her, took many more wives and had children by them. Michal’s father and brothers had been killed and beheaded. She must have mourned them. When David came back home, finally (with extra wives, concubines, and children in tow), he “rescued” her from her second husband, a man who had shown her love while her first husband was gallivanting, fleeing, and fighting all over the region.
I think most of us would have issues with the same sorrows that Michal had.
The problem, though, was her reaction. Instead of clinging to God and loving Him more, she took her suffering out on the Lord and her husband. Wrong reaction! For this, she was judged.
Did Saul’s prophecy about Michal come true? It came true backwards. Instead of her being a snare to David, she ended up being a snare to herself. She ended up childless—a shame in that culture—because of her mocking, jealous, disrespectful response to God and her husband.
A very sad story!
May we learn from her negative example. In our sorrows and disappointments, may we cling to the Lord, love our husbands more, and have a happy ever after!
(The key parts of Michal’s story can be found in 1 Samuel 18, 19, 25 and in 2 Samuel 6.)