Posted in theology

Michal: She despised her husband in her heart

By Elizabeth Prata

Michal was wife of king David. Her name “describes an admiring acknowledgment of the transcendent unapproachable majesty of the divine nature” according to “All the Women of the Bible” (which is a very handy reference at Bible Gateway, for free).

Sadly, she did not live up to her name. Let’s see what happened.

Michal was daughter of King Saul, and she fell in love with David. Hard. David was handsome, accomplished, and beloved by many. Michal was entranced. David was going to be king, so that meant she would be queen. She even defied her father, King Saul, when she learned that King Saul plotted to kill David. She was married to him by now, and she informed David of the plot, and made a dummy to put in the bed so David could escape, and lied, saying David had threatened to kill her if she didn’t let him go.

But that also meant David was on the run, She couldn’t see him. The likelihood of her being queen was dimming, since David was now a fugitive. The thrill was gone. Michal married Phalti, a better prospect in her eyes. Only one problem, David was alive and there was no grounds for a legitimate divorce. Oops.

Then the saddest part: “Then it happened, as the ark of the Lord was coming into the city of David, that Michal the daughter of Saul looked down through the window and saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord; and she was contemptuous of him in her heart.” (2 Samuel 6:16). Other translations say she despised him in her heart.

As I was reading this verse, questions arose in my mind. Why wasn’t she with David? Was there some prohibition against women walking in the parade? Why didn’t she worship? Her name actually ‘describes an admiring acknowledgment of the transcendent unapproachable majesty of the divine nature’ yet she couldn’t be bothered to even rejoice at the return of the Ark? And to top it off, her heart was filled with contempt for her husband for doing what was proper: rejoicing in the LORD and praising Him before the people in exuberantly displayed love.

I know that in marriage familiarity can breed contempt. When we look over and see a husband laying on the couch (for hours) sipping a beverage, watching TV or reading, eating chips and getting a shirt full of crumbs. Lazybones! Messy bones! Get up and DO something, we tend to shout in our minds. What about that Honey Do list?! Why did you forget the milk AGAIN?! Do you really need to burp so loud?! The things that charmed us while we were dating can pall quickly and become a silent aggravation. And if focused on, they can pile up until one day you awaken to find that the aggravations have solidified into despising him in your heart.

Don’t let it happen.

Focus on the positive, all the time. Speak well of your husband in public, to your children, and to yourself. Avoid conflict over the small things- toilet seat up, socks on the floor, the sound he makes while eating. Do they really matter in the face of the sacrifice on the cross Jesus made to justify us? To cleanse our souls? Don’t let petty things interfere with the big things, like harmony in marriage. A harmonious marriage is supposed to be a picture of Christ and His Bride. God knows the heart. How do WE know Michal despised David in her heart? The Spirit inspired the author to write it, because He knows what is in us. We have a hard enough time already even after salvation with the wickedness that is in us all the time. We have to work at killing the negativity rising up in us, including poor thoughts about our husband (or father or colleague or pastor or anyone…)

So when we stand before Jesus at the Bema Seat, He will know all the little despisings of our heart against our husband. Perhaps you might be shocked to learn at that point that your husband had despisings in His heart for you too. Or maybe you will be more shocked that he didn’t.

When the irritations rise up against your husband, immediately shift your thinking. Think of something he does that is good. He s good with the kids. He provides for us. He is handy around the house. He is smart and funny. He is…anything but the little irritations that one day, could grow to contempt for him.

Focus on something positive. Also, pray to the Spirit to quell these mini-rebellions. Repent of them right away. It might be a molehill of an aggravation but we can make mountains out of molehills. Don’t let them become minefields. Keep the ground of your marriage even, straight, and easy to tread. Michal was soooo in love with David but wound up abandoning him and despising him in her heart. Don’t let it think it can’t happen to you!


Christian writer and Georgia teacher's aide who loves Jesus, a quiet life, art, beauty, and children.

One thought on “Michal: She despised her husband in her heart

  1. Such a great reminder! Thank you for the post! I think we all can be more mindful of our thoughts and careful not to hold anything in our hearts. We have been forgiven much – so much. We can forgive these things too!

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