Michal, pronounced Me kawl’, is a very interesting woman of the bible. Her name is said to mean “Who is like God”. Her name is very fitting of actual events in her life in two ways: 1) She loved unconditionally 2) At some points her love was not returned. But this could be said of many, if not all women.
Michal was the youngest of Saul’s two daughters. To give you a little history, Saul was a great warrior, whom for his great deeds was awarded the kingdom of Israel. Saul was ordered by God to go into the city of Amalek and dispose of everything. The Lord said, every living creature including people and animals, EVERYTHING. But, Saul undoubtedly decided for himself to kill the people, called Amalekites, and the mules and sheep and such, but bring the lamb and cattle back home to sacrifice ‘in the name of the Lord’ and then consume. (1 Samuel 14) He also brought the King of the Amalekites back for sacrificial offering. After the invasion, the Lord awarded Saul Israel, only for the Lord to find that he had not truly carried out His commands.
God then sent word that he was displeased with Saul for his disobedience and regretted making him King over Israel, thus leaving Saul with the understanding that he could be replaced.
Not long after all of this there came a young valiant by the name of David, who happened upon an opportunity to show his strength one day when the giant of the Philistines, known as Goliath, made a ‘little’ wager. Goliath lost the wager and his life at the hands of David with his one-shot slingshot and the Philistines were forced to seek refuge. Saul took an interest in this young man, offering him his oldest daughter, not Michal, for his service.
How is it that Saul just happened to be there when Goliath was defeated, the Bible does not mention. Speculation is that it was David’s intention to marry Saul’s daughter in the first place.
It turned out that Saul’s oldest daughter was already to marry another man, so Saul then offered David Michal as his wife. Michal already knew of David and was in love with him. This was a confirmation to Saul that he had done the right thing. Michal became a political pawn. She was given to him by Saul because he saw that David had received the Lord’s favor. He had given away his daughter in hopes that the Philistines would hate David even more, and perhaps dispose of him quickly. Saul kept telling him, “You shall become my son-in-law”.
David took this as an offer. He told Saul’s messengers that he had no money to be worthy of the kingdom and referred to himself as a ‘nobody’. Thus indicating a price for his marriage to Michal. (1 Samuel 18: 21-23).
Saul sent message back that no money was required for Michal, only David’s help against the Philistines and his bringing back 100 foreskins from their multitude. Saul seemingly thought that David would be killed in his attempt to fill this order. But instead, David and his men brought back more than enough Philistine foreskins thus gladly becoming the ‘king’s son-in-law’.
It is odd, however that the Bible only refers to David as the’ King’s son-in-law’, but never refers to Michal as David’s wife. There is even reference to her as ‘Saul’s daughter’ in David’s own words. Is she invisible? It seems as if David married Saul. Saul’s plan, however, had backfired. In a glance, this young man has taken his daughter, received the Lord’s favor and now has a chance at his own crown. Saul then realized that he had to do something quickly to reserve his place on the throne in Israel.
Saul sought David’s life. Michal knew this and one night she told him, “If you do not save your life tonight, you will be killed.” David heeded her words as she help him to leave from the window for their door was being watched.
David left town, but even though he knew that Michal would be in trouble for her treachery, he never though to take her with him, or arrange for any protection for her. It is even written that he took his other wives with him and made provisions for his parents’ safety.
Michal tried to save her own life by deceiving the messengers when they came for David. She propped up the bed to appear to have David’s sick body inside and when they called for David to come out, she told them, he could not, for he is sick. Michal’s dishonesty was discovered and reported to her father, who showed great disappointment but did not punish her for she told him that David threatened to kill her if she didn’t let him go. (1 Samuel 19)
Saul later gave Michal’s hand to another man, only for David to come back for her. He sent messengers to get her stating that he had paid for her with 100 foreskins. Michal was taken from her husband and forced to go to where David was King, in Hebron, she cried the whole way. This too was political for David.
David was indeed shown favor and granted Israel in place of Saul. Even as David danced and praised the Lord for his successes, Michal despised him. She shamed him for ‘honoring’ himself one day. He had removed his coverings and was dancing and rejoicing in public. He told her, “It was the Lord who chose me over your father to serve over Israel, and it is before the Lord that I dance.” He declared that he would become more contemptible than what he had already. (2 Samuel 6)
It seems the phrase ‘even more undignified than this’ has been taken out of context in modern times.
Michal never bore children in either marriage. Possibly because she and David never consummated the marriage, or more likely that she was barren or just didn’t want to. Michal’s love for David in the beginning was never returned, even after she helped him escape death. Michal and David both loved the Lord, but were very different in their ways of serving.
What a ride for what was originally intended for Michal’s older sister.
The Bible never mentions how God felt about King David’s naked dance.
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