Before You Pass Judgement On A Woman…
There’s an interesting story in the bible about David’s first wife Michal despising him in her heart after he dances with all his might as the ark of the Lord is returned to Jerusalem. If this was all you knew about the story, one could easily look down on her for despising David. Some might say she was a “Jezebel” or that she had a “religious spirit”.
Although it’s definitely not right to despise anyone in your heart, a quick look at what we know about Michal’s life could help us to look at her with a little more compassion.
Let’s take a look.
- 1 Sam 14:49 Scene one begins with Saul having two daughters. Michal was the younger of the two.
- 1 Sam 18:20 Michal loved David and they told her father Saul.
- 1 Sam 18:21 Saul decided to give Michal to David to be his wife, but his motive was so that she would “be a snare for him” and that the hand of his enemies, the Philistines, would be against David. That’s not exactly the reason you want your dad to be giving you away to be married, is it?
- 1 Sam 18:25 Saul decided to set the bride price at 100 Philistine foreskins. But again, his reason for that particular bride price was an attempt to have David killed in the process of attaining them.
- 1 Sam 18:27 David brought 200 foreskins to the king, double what Saul had asked for, and Saul gave his daughter Michal to David as his wife.
- 1 Sam 18:29 The scene ends stating that “Saul was David’s enemy continually”. So although Michal married the man she loved, her father was her husband’s enemy.
- 1 Sam 19:1 Scene two begins with Saul telling his servants and Michal’s brother Jonathan to kill his son-in-law David. What kind of father tries to kill his baby girl’s husband? What kind of father tells his son to kill his own son-in-law? Can you imagine the daddy wound in the heart of Michal at this point?
- 1 Sam 19:10 The scene ends with Saul trying to pin David to the wall with a spear and David escaping into the night.
- 1 Sam 19:11 Scene three begins with Saul sending servants to David and Michal’s house to watch David so that Michal’s father could kill her husband in the morning.
- 1 Sam 19:11-17 Michal sends David away and creates a diversion in order to spare her husband’s life from her dad.
- 1 Sam 19:18 The scene ends with David now living in another city away from his wife Michal. Michal can no longer live with the husband she loves, because of her crazy dad.
- 1 Sam 25:42-43 Time passes and David marries two other women: Abigail and Ahinoam.
- 1 Sam 25:44 Saul had given Michal to Palti to be his husband. Earlier in the story we were told of Michal’s love for David. We don’t know if Michal loved Palti. The text doesn’t say. We only know that the choice was made by her father.
- 1 Sam 31:3-5 Michal’s father Saul commits suicide after sustaining arrow wounds in battle. Michal not only has to deal with the death of her father, but also the shameful way in which he took his life.
- 2 Sam 3:12-14 After David is made king of Judah, he requests that his wife Michal be brought to him.
- 2 Sam 3:15-16 Michal’s brother Ish-bosheth takes her from her husband Paltiel, and Paltiel weeps after her as they travel to David. What was going on in Michal’s heart at this point, being taken away from her second husband and hearing him weeping behind her as they traveled? Had Michal grown to love Paltiel? What is Michal’s attitude towards men starting to look like at this point?
- 2 Sam 6:16 Scene seven begins with David returning the ark of the Lord to Jerusalem. Michal looks out the window and sees her husband leaping and dancing before the Lord, and “she despised him in her heart”.
- 2 Sam 6:20 David returns to bless his household and Michal comes out to meet him saying “How the king of Israel honored himself today, uncovering himself today before the eyes of his servants’ female servants, as one of the vulgar fellows shamelessly uncovers himself!” Michal is finally back with her first love and now here he is exposing himself in public in front of other women.
- 2 Sam 6:21-22 David responds that he will make himself more contemptible than this.
- 2 Sam 6:23 Our story ends with this statement: “And Michal the daughter of Saul had no child to the day of her death.” We don’t know if she was barren or if David never slept with her again. The text doesn’t say. All we know is that she never had a child.
The story of Michal is a sad story. It’s hard to imagine what kind of inward thoughts, pains, and attitudes she must have dealt with and how difficult it may have been to keep from being bitter towards men.
The takeaway is this: be careful before you pass judgement on a woman. Take the time to understand where she’s coming from. I’m not saying someone’s difficult past justifies any sinful behavior, but considering a person’s past can help us to be more compassionate, especially in a world where 1 in 3 girls are sexually assaulted before age 18.
How have you treated and spoken about the Michal’s in your life?
About Josh Christophersen
Josh is a software engineer, church planter, and blogger with a passion for helping people do their life well. He lives in KC with his wife and 7 kids.