Call Me “Michal”
As I’m reading through the Old Testament, I came across a familiar story, the story of Michal. Now you might say, “Who’s Michal? Don’t you mean “Michael, the archangel?” No, I mean Michal, the younger daughter of King Saul. Michal is presented as more of a secondary character in the lives of Saul and David. However, when I read her story recently, I was struck at how so many of us women are also Michal.
The Princess & The Pawn
As aforementioned, Michal was the daughter of Saul. And while we don’t know where entirely she falls in the order of birth, we do know that she was the younger sister (I Sam. 14:49). Around the time David starts being brought around Saul’s family, he was originally promised Saul’s elder daughter, Merab, as wife; however, when it was no longer expedient for the bipolar king, Saul gave Merab away to another man (I Sam. 18:17-19). And then the Bible goes on to say, “Now Michal, Saul’s daughter, loved David. And they told Saul, and the thing pleased him. So Saul said, ‘I will give her to him, that she may be a snare to him, and that the hand of the Philistines may be against him.’ Therefore Saul said to David a second time, ‘You shall be my son-in-law today,’” (I Sam. 18:20-21, see also verses 27-29).
So we see that Saul was a Jezebelic father who used his own children as pawns to further his agenda against David. And if you read Saul’s story, you see that he more or less pulled this with his son, Jonathan, as well. And just as he tried to use Jonathan against David, he also tried to use Michal against him.
Saul also sent messengers to David’s house to watch him and to kill him in the morning. And Michal, David’s wife, told him, saying, “If you do not save your life tonight, tomorrow you will be killed.” So Michal let David down through a window. And he went and fled and escaped. And Michal took an image and laid it in the bed, put a cover of goats’ hair for his head, and covered it with clothes. So when Saul sent messengers to take David, she said, “He is sick.”
Then Saul sent the messengers back to see David, saying, “Bring him up to me in the bed, that I may kill him.” And when the messengers had come in, there was the image in the bed, with a cover of goats’ hair for his head. Then Saul said to Michal, “Why have you deceived me like this, and sent my enemy away, so that he has escaped?”
And Michal answered Saul, “He said to me, ‘Let me go! Why should I kill you?’” (I Samuel 19:11-17)
Later, when David was on the run from the murderous king, Saul removed Michal from being David’s wife and gave her to a man named Palti (I Sam. 25:44). Fast forward to several years later, after Saul’s death, after David’s ascension to the throne, when her uncle Abner is trying to make nice with the new king. David agrees to treat with him on one condition.
Then Abner sent messengers on his behalf to David, saying, “Whose is the land?” saying also, “Make your covenant with me, and indeed my hand shall be with you to bring all Israel to you.”
And David said, “Good, I will make a covenant with you. But one thing I require of you: you shall not see my face unless you first bring Michal, Saul’s daughter, when you come to see my face.” So David sent messengers to Ishbosheth, Saul’s son, saying, “Give me my wife Michal, whom I betrothed to myself for a hundred foreskins of the Philistines.” (II Samuel 3:12-14)
And so Michal, who was once the sole wife of David’s youth is now forced to leave her other other husband who obviously loved her immensely so much so that he followed close behind her, weeping the whole way (II Sam. 3:16), and be one of three wives to David. Talk about demotion!!
A Woman Wrecked
Michal is the definition of a woman wrecked: she’s been used, (emotionally) abused, and Lord knows what else. I don’t know what her upbringing was like. We know that her father had always been an insecure man. I like to think that Saul was a nicer man before he was thrust into kingship over a nation that had never known it. But the truth is, we don’t know. We DO know, however, that the men in her life - intentionally or otherwise - used her for their own political and personal purposes. Never once do we see them asking her what she wants to do, but rather being ordered about by the men in her life.
I also like to think that whether she liked Palti or not, she at least found a sort of peace and security with him. Many couples whose marriages were arranged have found simple happiness in their arrangements. Yet to be ripped from that security and peace was, I’m sure, an affront to Michal’s entire being.
Perhaps, you like Michal, have been subjected to unfortunate situations. Abuse, molestation, rape, abandonment, thievery, infidelity, divorce, death of loved ones, and more. Perhaps you have been categorically overlooked and neglected. Perhaps you’ve experienced heartbreak after heartbreak, failure after failure, or misfortune after misfortune. I know I’ve had my heart broken and even “bent” on numerous occasions. I dare to say that if you have lived any significant amount of time on this earth, that you have experienced some sort of “wrecking.” You might be thinking, “Call me ‘Michal.’”
I dare to say that while Michal’s situation was personal, the idea of it is also universal. But just because you may relate to Michal, doesn’t mean you have to end like Michal.
Rejecting Resentment, Breaking with Bitterness
Now it was told King David, saying, “The Lord has blessed the house of Obed-Edom and all that belongs to him, because of the ark of God.” So David went and brought up the ark of God from the house of Obed-Edom to the City of David with gladness. And so it was, when those bearing the ark of the Lord had gone six paces, that he sacrificed oxen and fatted sheep. Then David danced before the Lord with all his might; and David was wearing a linen ephod. So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the Lord with shouting and with the sound of the trumpet.
Now as the ark of the Lord came into the City of David, Michal, Saul’s daughter, looked through a window and saw King David leaping and whirling before the Lord; and she despised him in her heart. So they brought the ark of the Lord, and set it in its place in the midst of the tabernacle that David had erected for it. Then David offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the Lord. And when David had finished offering burnt offerings and peace offerings, he blessed the people in the name of the Lord of hosts. Then he distributed among all the people, among the whole multitude of Israel, both the women and the men, to everyone a loaf of bread, a piece of meat, and a cake of raisins. So all the people departed, everyone to his house.
Then David returned to bless his h ousehold. And Michal the daughter of Saul came out to meet David, and said, “How glorious was the king of Israel today, uncovering himself today in the eyes of the maids of his servants, as one of the base fellows shamelessly uncovers himself!”
So David said to Michal, “It was before the Lord, who chose me instead of your father and all his house, to appoint me ruler over the people of the Lord, over Israel. Therefore I will play music before the Lord. And I will be even more undignified than this, and will be humble in my own sight. But as for the maidservants of whom you have spoken, by them I will be held in honor.”
Therefore Michal the daughter of Saul had no children to the day of her death.Therefore Michal the daughter of Saul had no children to the day of her death. (II Samuel 6:12-23)
As women, we are natural nurturers. And oftentimes when we are not careful, that nurturing nature that was meant to be a benefit can become a detriment. We begin to nurture wounds that lead to unforgiveness, bitterness, resentment, and even hatred. I highly doubt Michal was able to look on and receive David with the youthful love of a beloved looking on her beloved like she did once upon a time. Oh, I’m sure she tried, but who knows how long Michal was nursing bitterness? And her bitterness caused by her brokenness became the gateway to her ultimate end: barrenness.
You may have been through what Michal has been through, but you do not have to end up like she did.
Whether you were offended at God or man, wherever you feel your hurt came from, forgiveness can be your portion. You don’t have to enter into a life of barrenness. Barrenness is a curse, not a blessing. Jesus said, “Forgive, and you will be forgiven,” (Luke 6:37). It’s not always fun, it doesn’t even always feel possible, yet with God’s help, forgiveness is obtainable as well as dispensable. Forgiveness is the key to your freedom. Choose it. Embrace it. Walk in it.