The fate of single women in Bible times was often left in the hands of the father. Arranged marriages were commonplace and were often used as a way to obtain power, prestige or provision. Love or romantic feelings were not considered, rather, the need of the father or the husband was the determining factor. Sometimes there were situations where one or both of the betrothed parties actually did have affections for each other. Although this was not the norm, our story is about a woman who was passionately in love with her promised husband. Her life was going to be one of great joy and happiness, till death do them part. Sadly, through the events of others, she is forced into making some choices which changed her outlook on life, Her fairy tale existence turns into a bitter, sorrowful, lonely existence. Come with me as we learn what the Lord has to share with us, starting in 1 Samuel 14:49.
Michal was the youngest daughter of King Saul and his wife Ahinoam, from the tribe of Benjamin. Commentators record that she was very beautiful and lusted by all men who saw her. She had an older sister, Merab, whom had originally been promised to David, but instead was given to another. Her brother, Jonathon was a beloved friend of David. When Saul learned that Michal loved David, he arranged for her to marry David, taking advantage of an opportunity to use her as a snare in arranging David’s death. Saul was insanely jealous of David and saw him as a threat to his kingship.
Whether Michal was aware of her fathers deceitful plan, the Bible does not state. Saul did not request a dowry for his daughter; instead the conniving King Saul demanded the foreskins of 100 Philistines. Knowing that the Philistines would be somewhat reluctant to part with their foreskins, Saul knew that there would be an excellent chance that David would be killed by the hand of the enemy. David was apparently aware of Saul’s scheme and countered the kings request by obtaining 200 foreskins. What a despicable dowry for a kings daughter, however, Michal was passionately in love with David, with a devotion recognized by being the only woman in the Bible who was described a loving a man. Although Michal was excited about marrying David, the Bible does not indicate that David was in love with her; to him, marrying Michal was too good of an opportunity to pass up. 1 Samuel 18:17-28
Michal’s emotional desire for David was not necessarily a genuine heart-felt love. She was most assuredly infatuated with his charismatic personality and probably swooned over his good looks. The excitement of David being a national hero which would provide political stature as well as the prestige of being married to the next king, was alluring for sure. In the beginning it was most assuredly a storybook wedding for her. But then life for Michal took an unanticipated detour.
Michal’s devotion to David was exemplified when she helped him escape her father’s fervent desire to have him killed. Her loyalty to David over her father led her to help David escaped by lowering him out of the window. She then proceeded to deceive her father by faking David to be ill. Saul was beside himself. His own daughter had turned against him! 1 Samuel 19: 11-17
Her beloved husband was now a fugitive. Months passed. lonely months; perhaps years, and David had not sent for her. She may have reasoned in her heart that her presence would be too distracting and David would be concerned for her safety. Heartbreaking news began to arrive at the palace. David had taken another wife, and then another one. How devastating! How could he? Only a woman who has been lured into the excitement of a romance and then………………….swoosh, it’s gone, can fully understand the emotional trauma associated with such abandonment. The emotions of love and anger consume one’s very being.
After a period of time, Saul decided to marry Michal off to Phalti, a trusted friend. 1 Samuel 25:44 It seems to have been a mutually happy arrangement and Michal’s bitterness and lingering affections for David began to fade. Her life had stability and purpose once again………………..and once again, another life changing event begins to take shape.
In 2 Samuel:3:13-16, David requires as part of a league agreement, that Michal be returned to him. Having her in his harem would bolster his claim to the throne. He sent messengers to the house of Phaltiel to fetch her. Michal begged to stay with her husband. This was indeed a tear-jerking event, so much so that Michal’s husband followed the entourage, hoping to rescue his wife, but was ordered to return to his home. Understandably, Michal was a tad bit upset.
Relations between David and Michal were strained to say the least. It would be quite likely that she rejected any amorous advances that he made. She was a prisoner in the harem of a man whom she despised. One day she was watching David making what she considered to be a fool of himself. immodestly dressed in public, dancing and singing. Some commentators believe that he even exposed himself either intentionally or unintentionally. He was celebrating because the Ark of the Covenant had been brought inside the wall of Jerusalem. Michal went out to meet David and all of the pent up anger came pouring out of her bitter heart as she berated him for not acting like a King. 2 Samuel 6: 20-23, relates this event and the subsequent rebuke which David gave her. Such a sad ending to the life of a woman who never fulfilled her vocation as a helpmeet to her husband. She was never to be brought into the bed chamber of King David again, and she died childless.
Neither the Bible nor historical records indicate that Michal believed in David’s God. Even though she was an Israelite there is no indication that she sought wisdom or help from the Lord God Jehovah. Perhaps her life would have turned out differently……………………….