As a young girl did you dream of being a princess? Did you read fairy tales and think if you could only marry your Prince Charming, everything would be perfect? Or maybe now, do you watch Hallmark movies, especially the ones with undercover princes from obscure countries, and wish that you could have that kind of life?
In today’s episode of All God’s Women we look at Michal, a true princess who married her Prince Charming, who later became king. And yet, Michal’s life was anything but happily ever after. In fact, it was her princess attitude that led to her tragic downfall.
Many of the women we’ve studied have been limited to a verse or two. Michal’s story, on the other hand, is splattered throughout 3 books of the Bible – 1 Samuel, 2 Samuel, and 1 Chronicles.
Michal was the younger daughter of King Saul, a nervous king who was especially jealous of David, the shepherd boy who had just defeated Goliath, a Philistine warrior. Saul offered his oldest daughter, Merab, as a wife to David if he would fight God’s battles for him. But for reasons we don’t know, right before the wedding was to take place, he withdrew that offer and instead married her off to another man.
Then word got to Saul that Michal, his younger daughter was in love with David, so he used Michal as a snare to David. He told David he could have Michal as his wife, but as a dowry, he would need to kill 100 Philistines and bring their foreskins to him. Rather gruesome request. Saul, of course, assumed that David would die in the fight. But it didn’t turn out the way he planned. Being the overachiever that he was, David fought victoriously and killed not 100, but 200 Philistines.
Saul had no choice but to give Michal to David as his wife, but now Saul was even more afraid of him.
We’re told that Michal loved David, but we find no mention of David loving Michal. We also see no indication that they were close prior to their wedding. It might very well have been that David and Michal barely knew each other and that she loved him as one would love a celebrity or superhero. She heard the stories of his heroic battles. She saw how afraid her father was of him. She saw how her father treated her. Perhaps she saw David as a strong and handsome Prince Charming to whisk her away from her lonely life. She’d likely heard the rumors that David was destined to replace her father as king, and she wanted to make sure she was by his side to bask in the glory when the time came. Her love wasn’t a selfless agape kind of love, but rather a selfish adoration, using David as a pawn to advance to where she wanted to be.
Saul’s anger at David grew stronger as time progressed. He begged others to kill David. He tried to kill David himself. He ordered soldiers to stand guard at David’s house and to kill him the next morning. But word got to Michal, and she warned David and helped him escape out the window. Then she put an idol in his bed and covered it with goats hair. When the servants came looking for David, she told them he was sick.
Why did Michal defy her father in order to save David? Was it out of love or was it just because she didn’t want to be a widow? David couldn’t very well take over as king if he was dead, so she did what she had to do.
David was safe for the time being, but Michal was left alone while David lived life as a fugitive in the wilderness. This wasn’t the happily ever after she’d planned. After awhile, Saul gave her to marry another man, Palti from Gallim, and David took on two additional wives, Abigail and Ahinoam.
We don’t know much about Palti. We don’t know who initiated the marriage or how Michal felt about him. Some speculate he was destined for greatness as another warrior, which would make sense as to why Saul might have wanted the union.
We do know that some years later, after Saul died, and David demanded that Michal be restored to him as his wife, that Palti followed behind her weeping. She, on the other hand, appears to have gone along willingly. And why not? David was finally taking over as king of the land. Palti paled in comparison. So what if David had other wives and she was only being used as a political pawn? Why should she care? She would still have an honored place in the king’s palace as his first wife.
But life in David’s palace was likely as lonely as it had been in Saul’s palace.
We have one final mention of Michal. After many years of being held captive by the Philistines, the Ark of the Covenant, which was stolen from Eli’s sons, was finally restored to Israel. This was a major triumph for the people of Israel, and David could hardly contain his excitement. As the ark was brought into the city, David and all the House of Israel worshiped the Lord, dancing and singing in the streets.
Michal looked down from her perch in the palace and saw the festivities. And there was her husband in the middle of the crowd, the king of the land, stripped of his royal garb, leaping and whirling before the Lord, acting like a common man rather than dignified royalty. And the Bible tells us that as she watched him, she despised him in her heart.
When David had finished worshiping, had sent up burnt offerings and peace offerings, and had blessed the people in the name of the Lord, he returned to bless his household. But Michal was waiting for him. She confronted him, mocking his behavior, telling him he’d made a complete fool of himself.
He responded by saying he was far more concerned with what God thought of him than what she thought of him. He assured her he would be even more undignified and humble in the future..
Chapter 6 of 2 Samuel concludes with, “Therefore, Michal the daughter of Saul had no children to the day of her death.
Michal had the makings of a fairy tale life, daughter of a king, married to a king, but she missed out on the glories of The King of Kings. She got caught up in the superficial and never realized the substantial. She died never truly knowing David, never understanding the secret to his greatness.
How many of us are guilty of the same? Do we focus on the trivial when we should be concentrating on the timeless? Do we get so caught up in what people will think of us that we forget whose opinion matters the most? Do we care more about public opinion than we care about our Lord?
The world will feed us all kinds of lies. It’s easy to believe them, putting ourselves on a moral pedestal, when in reality, we’re on a spiritual low. It’s only when we humble ourselves and concern ourselves more with what God desires than what will impress others, that we can reach the spiritual high that we long for.
Lord God, we come to you today, seeking Your way and Your will for our lives. We know that Your way may not always make sense to us, but it is always the best for us. Forgive us those times we lose sight and get caught up in the world’s lies. Thank you for gently guiding us back on track if we but ask. Thank you for allowing us all to be princesses, beloved daughters of you, the King of Kings. We love you so much. In Christ name. Amen.
That concludes this week’s episode of All God’s Women. Tune in next week when we talk about Abigail, a woman whose gentle kindness earned her a spot as the second wife of David.
If you enjoy All God’s Women and are looking for other Christian podcasts, be sure to check out the selection at Striving for Eternity’s Christian Podcast Community. You can find a great mix of Bible teaching, theological discussions, apologetics, family, and more. Other podcasts specifically for women include Theology Gals, In Awe and Wonder, The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast, and The Bluestocking Baptists.
Bible Study Review
- What did David have to provide as a dowry to marry Michal?
- What was the name of Michal’s second husband?
- How many children did Michal have?
Thoughts to Ponder
- What kind of marriage did David and Michal have?
- How was Michal like her father?
- How might Michal have saved her marriage?
- Do you love your husband for who he is or for what he offers you?
- Would you defy your family in order to save your husband?
- Do you encourage your husband’s spiritual growth?
- Are you a helpmeet or a stumbling block to your husband?
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