Posted in theology

Michal: The Wrong Foundation for Marriage

By Elizabeth Prata

Has any marriage in the Bible based on murder and trickery ever gone well? Has any marriage not based on a mutual love for God gone well? I think no. The hot flush of infatuation wanes and then all the spouse is left with is scorn and disdain. The roots of the marriage, if not based on God, will wither and die and all sorts of misbehavior will influx and overwhelm the once passionate heart.

Witness: Michal

King Saul had promised his daughter in marriage to the man who slew Goliath. We know that David killed Goliath and he became a national hero. He was strong, brave, and handsome, qualities that usually stir a young woman’s heart and Michal was no exception. Saul should have given his elder daughter Merab to David but Saul’s jealousy was such that he gave Merab to another and connived to kill David by throwing him to the Philistines. He demanded 100 foreskins of slain Philistines, thinking David would not escape them and Saul’s problem would be solved. David, overachiever that he was, gave 200. He’d survived the battle! Saul was not happy about this but he was forced to give Michal to him as promised and that suited Michal just fine.

Michal saved David’s life when he had to go on the run later, Saul was after him again. She stood by her man!

But then Michal’s passion waned. What was the fun of being the wife of a fugitive? She’d had dreams of being queen and having a better life full of dignity and honor. Now, not so fun.

If you think that the story of Michal and David, while being true and biblical, has no application to us today, just think: do you have in-law problems? A father-in-law who dislikes your husband? Or, have career promises gone unfulfilled and now you’re living with your husband in a lower standard than you’d expected? Do you have less dignity and influence because of a lower position in society? Is your love for your husband turning to disdain because he is losing his looks? Were you desiring him for all the wrong reasons and those reasons haven’t developed into something more substantial? Are you privately sneering at him in your heart of hearts?

We come to the end of David and Michal’s marriage. The ark has returned to Jerusalem. Look at the different reactions. David was a man after God’s own heart. He loved the Lord with all his strength, demonstrated by dancing with profound spiritual joy before the ark.

Michal though, had no regard for the ark which is saying she had no regard for God. Because, in her father’s days, they cared not at all that the ark was languishing elsewhere. The very symbol of God’s presence on earth was neglected. (1 Chronicles 13:3)

Gill’s Exposition says of 1 Chronicles 13:3, “for we inquired not at it in the days of Saul; he being indifferent to religion, and careless about it, and the enjoyment of the presence of God, and having direction from him; and the people also content with worship at the tabernacle at Gibeah, though the token of the divine Presence was absent.

Michal’s resentment against David had settled into an aversion that finally came out. When David stripped and danced before the Lord’s ark upon its return to Jerusalem, she looked down on her husband from the window.

When the ark of the covenant of the LORD came to the city of David, Michal the daughter of Saul looked out of the window and saw King David dancing and celebrating; and she despised him in her heart. (1 Chronicles 15:29).

Where was her loyalty now? She’d sought David, campaigned to her father for him, saved his life and thereby declaring herself allied to him against her father the king (who accused her of disloyalty). She went to all those lengths, but it wasn’t enough. In the end, she hated David.

But when David returned to bless his own household, Michal the daughter of Saul came out to meet David and said, “How the king of Israel dignified himself today! For he exposed himself today in the sight of his servants’ female slaves, as one of the rabble shamelessly exposes himself!” But David said to Michal, “I was before the LORD, who preferred me to your father and to all his house, to appoint me as ruler over the people of the LORD, over Israel. So I will celebrate before the LORD! And I might demean myself even more than this and be lowly in my own sight, but with the female slaves of whom you have spoken, with them I am to be held in honor!” (2 Samuel 6:20-22)

Can’t you just hear the sneering contempt in Michal’s voice? The disdain and sarcasm? What is in the heart will come out. (Luke 6:45). And it did eventually for Michal.

Why did she hate David so much? It all started with the basis for their marriage. She wanted the man, she didn’t want the Godly man. She had no regard for God, as we know from her having no regard for the ark, and now as we see due to her choice not to participate in the festivities of the ark’s return. All the people were there, men and women. (2 Samuel 6:18-19). But not Michal. She was at the window, literally and figuratively looking down on David, nursing her resentment.

Michal’s marriage was not fastened to the Rock, it was fastened on her personal emotions, and those change over time. Disappointment creeps toward resentment which transforms into scorn… Hating the Godly man means you hate God. (Matthew 25:40; Proverbs 14:31).

23And Michal the daughter of Saul had no child to the day of her death.

And God seems to have punished Michal the Disdainful Wife with no children, the worst punishment a woman at that time could receive (except for leprosy, Miriam also disdained God’s chosen man in Moses so He gave her leprosy).

Childless Michal was punished but God blessed David because “The symbol of the divine Presence, than which nothing was more desirable to David, and he chose to begin his reign over all Israel with it” (Gill’s Exposition on 1 Chronicles 13)

Ladies, make sure your foundation in marriage is on the Rock of Jesus. Storms may come but you’ll be safe with Him as anchor. He will also help dissipate the daily irritations that left unaddressed and unrepented could grow into disdain and scorn. You want love and forgiveness to flow between you. You don’t want to expend energy nursing bitterness and contempt, even in your heart. It WILL come out eventually in words and deeds.

Michal wanted a handsome hero husband. She did not want God. It never turns out good when those qualities are reversed and superficiality reigns. Let God reign, and your husband will always be handsome hero in your eyes.

“Michal Despises David”, James Tissot 1836 – 1902; watercolour — c. 1898


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

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