Michal was a king’s daughter, but she loved and lost. She was a princess who reached for the stars, but barely made the mountain tops.
Michal was the second daughter of Israel’s first king, Saul. Instead of finding the prestige she hankered for, she fell completely out of favour. There are many ‘Michal’s throughout history.
Head Over Heels In Love
King Saul’s daughter, Merab, would be given in marriage to whoever killed Israel’s archenemy, Goliath. David was young, good-looking, and courageous. He stepped up and killed the giant, Goliath, when the entire Israeli army stood dumfounded. There are situations today when we could do with a ‘David’.
The women sang “Saul had killed his thousands, but David his tens of thousands”. Saul reneged on his promise, wracked with jealousy. He gave Merab to another.
Merab’s younger sister, Michal, was passionately in love with the hero, David. The one the people loved. The courageous and romantic poet and musician. Perhaps Michal was part of manipulating her sister being handed off to another, leaving the field clear for Michal to snare David.
Saul had to get rid of the man the people were praising over him. He demanded David pay a dowry of 100 Philistine foreskins. There was no way David could survive such a gruesome demand.
David not only got 100 foreskins, but killed 200 Philistines. Why did David take on such a dangerous challenge? Was it because he was smitten with Michal, or just the fact that he could kill the deadly Philistines, just like he had killed the bear and the lion?
Saul had to give his daughter to the man he despised and desperately wanted dead. The king knew David had been anointed by Samuel the prophet to be the next king of Israel. Even David’s own brothers were jealous of their young sibling.
Saul believed Michal would be a snare to the young upstart David. Michal was a spoiled royal brat who always got her own way.
Saved For Love
Michal is a self-willed woman, covetous of power and position. Despite David’s deep love and respect for Yahweh, Michal adopted the pagan gods the Canaanites worshiped.
Michal loved David in her own way. She heard her father was going to have her husband executed. Michal risked her father’s anger. She believed she could wheedle him out of harming her. She helped David escape, after all, he was to take her father’s place on the throne. She would become the highest ranking woman in the kingdom.
Her angry father challenged her disloyalty to him. Michal, always out for self-preservation, lied to her father. She told him she was afraid of David and that he had threatened to kill her.
Despite being the King of Israel, Saul chased after David. With the king breathing death threats, David lived the nomadic life of a fugitive. Out of his forty-year reign, Saul spent twenty years hounding David.
David could have run Saul through with a spear, but David chose not to harm God’s anointed king. The time would come when David would be the next and greatest king of Israel.
Though many joined David, Michal was not prepared to accept the life of a nomadic refugee. She wanted the luxury, pomp, and splendour of the royal court. She eventually heard that David had married two other women.
Loved And Lost
Saul handed Michal over to someone else, just as he had done with her sister. Michal was still David’s legal wife, so giving Michal to Phalti of Gallem was an illegal act. No doubt it was a political move, as well as being done out of spite, and who was going to argue with a king?
Michal must have gained something in agreeing to the second marriage, beside spiting David. After all, she did nothing without a benefit to herself.
Rabbinical writings claim that Phalti and Michal never lived as husband and wife, but that is too much to comprehend. A spoilt royal brat who always got her own way doesn’t fit with that theory. Michal would have ruled the household with an iron fist, including Phalti. After all, she was a princess.
Phalti deeply loved Michal, while Michal’s love for David was permeated with jealousy and frustration. She was a woman who had loved and lost.
After King Saul’s death, David became king, but only over the tribe of Judah. King Saul’s fourth son, Isbosheth, ruled the rest of Israel.
David formed an alliance with Isbosheth. He demanded Michal be returned to him, although Michal had spent many years living with Phalti. The demand was a political alliance, as were David’s other marriages. David believed he could strengthen his claim to the throne through Michal.
Not only did David demand the return of Michal, he had Michal’s brother, Isbosheth, do the reclaiming. No one paid any heed to the bereft Phalti, who lamented as he followed after Michal.
She regained her power and position in the royal household, being the senior wife. She had been there long before any of the other wives, and David needed her influence over the late King Saul’s followers.
David had seven wives, counting Michal. Marriage was always a political alliance, even though God had warned Israel not to collect horses, gold, and women.
Michal might be the senior wife, but there was no way she could expect a life of ease. Where there are many wives in one household, there is constant discord and friction.
Worst of all, the other wives gave David many sons and daughters, while Michal remained barren. They undermined her position through her shame, even though she was the daughter of a king. She had loved and lost all over again. She might be married to the king of Israel, but personally held him in little regard.
David fought many battles, as the King of all Israel. He dramatically enlarged Israel’s borders, taking them from 6,000 to 60,000 sq. km. His primary focus, however, was to bring the Ark of the Covenant home to the capital, Jerusalem.
Transporting the Ark was a deadly undertaking and not without mishap. Finally, the day arrived when the Ark’s procession entered Jerusalem.
Michal looked out the window and saw the procession. Her disgust was palpable. Her husband had stripped off his royal robes and donned a priest’s linen ephod. It only covered the loins. David was rejoicing and dancing like any peasant in the street.
Michal vented the moment David returned home. There is no fury like a woman spurned, and murder was in her heart. Scorn and contempt poured from her like acid from a flask.
“How could the king lower himself? His actions degraded the royal house before the people. How dare he bring her father’s throne into disrepute? Where was his royal dignity?”
David firmly told Michal he was on God’s business. Their already tenuous relationship disintegrated into nothingness.
The Princess Who Loved And Lost
Michal was a woman who had once loved passionately David. She had risked the anger of her father to save David’s life. Estranged from court life, she spent many years out of the spotlight, only to be yanked back again.
Michal’s disgrace was complete, condemned to remain childless until the day of her death. Bitterness, resentment and anger entered Michal’s soul. How often did she rant? “My father would never have allowed you to treat me like this!”
The punishment of remaining barren was not from David, but from God. There was nothing David could do.
Michal would never know the joy of holding a newborn bundle of joy in her arms. She had reached for the stars, but didn’t even gain the mountains. She was a princess who had loved and Lost.
David became Israel’s greatest king, and is still honoured today. But there was never an Israeli Queen. Michal lost three times over. She lost the love of David, the other wives despised her and she would never be crowned as queen.
Michal’s voice teaches us that all women have a voice in their sphere of influence. They can use that voice to good or ego-driven evil. The vast majority of women remain unsung and unrecognized, but they are the glue that holds society together.
Check out more posts at Whispering Encouragement