Michal was in a tight spot (yet again) when she heard Saul’s servants were going to kill David in the morning. She prepared a couple ideas but had to improvise.
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, and put a pillow of goats’ hair for his bolster, and covered it with a cloth. And when Saul sent messengers to take David, she said, He is sick. (1 Samuel 19:12-14)
But there are two things that make people gasp. Michal has an image! A.K.A—idol! Well, say critics, that’s proof she cares only for worldly status. Plus lying is terrible even if you’re trying to save someone.
Plus this is only a snapshot of her.
Was this possibly in her bag of tricks? She may have been drawn to idols, but having one nearby was so…convenient.
Her father’s reaction is full of shock.
And Saul sent the messengers again to see David, saying, Bring him up to me in the bed, that I may slay him.And when the messengers were come in, behold, there was an image in the bed, with a pillow of goats’ hair for his bolster. And Saul said unto Michal, Why hast thou deceived me so, and sent away mine enemy, that he is escaped? And Michal answered Saul, He said unto me, Let me go; why should I kill thee? (1 Samuel 19:15-17)
In Michal’s Moral Dilemma by Jonathan Rowe, he calls the use of the idol “genius.” In Leah Kohn’s essay “The Story of Michal Beyond Loyalty to Torah,” she suggests that Michal’s word choice actually saved her husband’s life while also sparing her father less humiliation.
This window scene gives a peek of Michal as a woman who kept her marriage covenant to David and did everything to save him.
The Bible mentions that she did things before this that honored David and scared Saul. (1 Samuel 18:28-29). So there were multiple incidents of her helping David. If we were told more details about these incidents, Michal would receive far less criticism.
1 Samuel 19
Michal’s Moral Delemma: A Literary, Anthropological and Ethical Interpretation by John Rowe. (See http://www.bloomsbury.com/us/michals-moral-dilemma-9780567076885/#sthash.BZVDtEFV.dpuf for details)
The Story of Michal Beyond Loyalty to Torah by Leah Kohn
Michal lets David escape from the window. By Gustave Doré, 1865.