Category Archives: Michal

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Michal: Why Michal Didn’t Run Away and Why David Didn’t Rescue Her

Some  say David betrayed Michal by leaving her behind, and others say Michal was okay with marrying Phalti. Some of the latter go beyond that and say she could have escaped.

I found more fault with David because he saved two other wives on the run (1 Samuel 30) Why couldn’t he save her? But Michal had proved herself clever in the past. So why didn’t she find a way out?

I’m excited to say I found the answer—it was too unsafe.

Just how unsafe would be a rescue mission? The answers are found in the short verses that give Phalti a description—and some follow up examination.

 

“But Saul had given Michal, his daughter, David’s wife, to Phalti the son of Laish, which was of Gallim.” (1 Samuel 25:44)

In order to make Michal disappear from David’s life, Saul gave his daughter to someone in a geographic area he could trust.

Let’s examine this “Phalti son of Laish, which was of Gallim.”

Michal was given to man loyal to Saul. His name and the locations point toward him being a Benjaminate since he resided in Benjaminite territory.

Laish is the name of land that the prophet, Isaiah, associated with Gallim(Isaiah 10:30). “Lift up thy voice, O daughter of Gallim: cause it to be heard unto Laish.”

Phalti was either native to the land of Laish or his father shared or gave his name to the territory. Gallim is thought to belong to the tribe of Benjamin and north of Jerusalem. (To see a map and more information take a look  at http://bibleatlas.org/laishah.htm)

 

“And her husband [Phalti] went with her along weeping behind her to Bahurim.” (Samuel 3:15-16)

This description of Phalti occurs when Michal returns to David.

Though some of David’s mighty men hailed from Bahurim (2 Sam 23: 31), David preferred to stay alive. Any association with David, and your life was in danger.  A woman had to hide two of David’s messengers there. (2 Samuel 17:18)

The time David did venture into Bahurim was years later and he was now king of Israel. Still, he didn’t get respect.

“And when king David came to Bahurim, behold, thence came out a man of the family of the house of Saul, whose name was Shimei, the son of Gera: he came forth and cursed still as he came.” (2 Samuel 16:5)

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Shimei throwing stones at King David in Bahurim.

 

David kept his peace and pardoned Shimei (then) for downright treason. Shimei threw stones and made piecing remarks at David’s dysfunctional family.  David was lucky enough not to be assassinated. He probably would have been killed by Saul’s men when Saul was king, and  he wouldn’t have been able to reach Michal.

 

Conclusion

David wanted to please the Lord and fulfill his calling by becoming king of Israel. Sadly, that prevented him her from rescuing Michal. Michal might have realized this, but she still had to stay alive in order for David to fulfill his calling—a huge act of faith on her part.

Michal probably experienced more pain than the reader can imagine when she found about David rescuing his two other wives. But living in such a guarded place prevented her from running away. Maybe she tried, but it wouldn’t have worked. It would have been hard to make allies in a land so loyal to Saul. It’s very likely Saul had spies. He surely received reports of events.

David would have been committing suicide if he went as a fugitive to rescue his wife. It’s possible he sent some men there. If that happened, though, they would have been killed. Even after Saul died, there was a war between the houses of David and Saul. David and Michal were powerless to reunite with each other.  Michal and David were united as soon as it was possible.

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Notes:

Bible: King James Version.
For the summary of Michal’s storyline, click here.

Image:
Woodcut for “Die Bibel in Bildern”, 1860. By Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld .

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Michal: Early Life and Traditions

The younger daughter of King Saul and his wife, Ahinoam, was born during a time of war and political change. They named their daughter Michal.

There’s a debate of what the name “Michal” means.

  • The first possible meaning is “Who is like God.” If this is the case, her name would be a feminine form of the boy name “Michael” and a possible variant of her name would be “Michelle.”
  • The other possible meaning is “little stream. ” This is also spiritual in nature as the Bible connects streams to God’s creations and powers. The name “Michal” is one of the most popular baby names for girls in Israel today.Huge picWilliam-Adolphe_Bouguereau_(1825-1905)_-_At_the_Edge_of_the_Brook_(1875)While we don’t know much about her childhood, there are definite things she would have learned from a young age.

Michal’s Education

  • Virtuous, Israelite Woman: A woman in Israel would know the importance of loving and obeying God. Michal was fortunate that she and her family had close connections to the prophet Samuel. She would have learned to be a dutiful wife who was expected to give her husband children.
  • Benjaminite: The small tribe of Benjamin had an interesting reputation among the other tribes of Israel .They were loyal and fierce fighters to the very end despite being small in numbers. The tribe had close calls when it came to being extinct but they would make a comeback. Benjaminite parents taught their children to be proud of their heritage.
  • Princess: The public would expect the best from the royal family. Michal would have been taught how to deal with crowds—how to charm them and when to ignore people. Her father had been especially good at that in his early days as king. At the end of one of his speeches, Samuel backed him up. The people shouted “God save the king.” There were those, though, who doubted Saul’s ability to protect them, but Saul, “held his peace”. He went on to defeat enemies, and more people accepted him gladly as king.

It’s important to remember that Saul’s early glory days were admirable. Very soon after we’re introduced to Saul, we know Saul was the most righteous man in Israel and a die-hard Benjaminite.Right after Samuel anointed Saul as the Lord’s chosen one, he gave further instructions for Saul to go to Rachel’s sepulcher. That was Saul’s first stop on a literal journey to gain followers that led to national victories.

Rachel’s sepulcher held significance to Israel, but it was most sentimental to the tribe of Benjamin. It illustrates the bravery the tribe of Benjamin value and a good role model—especially for Michal.

The Story of Rachel and Jacob

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Jacob (later called Israel) had traveled far. As he came to the well, he asked the men if they knew Laban, whom he was seeking. The men said yes and pointed out Laban’s beautiful daughter, Rachel, approaching the well with the sheep. Rejuvenated, Jacob opened the mouth of the well and watered the sheep under Rachel’s care. It seemed as if it was love at first sight. He kissed her and the shepherdess went running to her father.

After discussion, a deal was struck. After Jacob labored for seven years under Laban, he would marry Rachel. Jacob said, “I will serve thee seven years for Rachel thy younger daughter.”  Laban agreed and said, “It is better that I give her to thee, than that I should give her to another man.” For Jacob seven years felt like “a few days, for the love he had for her.”

But that Laban was slick. Seven years later. When the time came for the marriage, he swapped Rachel for her elder sister Leah on the wedding night. When Jacob confronted his father-in-law the next morning, Laban said in his country it was tradition to marry the older women first. But Laban hastily added, Jacob could also marry Rachel the following week if he worked seven more additional years.

Jacob paid double the bride price, but “he loved Rachel more than Leah.”

In Old Testament stories that mention love between two people, only one individual is said to love the other. It’s not necessarily unrequited love.   In the case of Rachel and Jacob, we’re told how Jacob loved Rachel, but not if she loved him. But judging but her devotion to him, we can assume she did.  We know Leah pined for Jacob. After she gave Jacob his first son, she said, “Now therefore my husband will love me.”

Again we can assume that Leah also loved Jacob—and yet—there’s no direct mention of her actually loving Jacob.

Jacob cared and provided for his wives and children. Rachel, though, would always hold the most special place in his heart despite Leah giving him six sons and Rachel giving him two sons.

Rachel displayed bravery as she traveled pregnant and went into labor. It was a “hard labour.” The baby lived but she did not. In his grief, Jacob set up a pillar in tribute to Rachel and named the baby “Benjamin.”

Benjamin surviving was a miracle. His mother Rachel was a hero to his descendants. Though Michal probably liked this story, she couldn’t have expected just how much she would relate to the well-remembered matriarch.

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Sources:
1 Samuel 9-11, 14
Genesis 29, 35

http://www.abarim-publications.com/Meaning/Michal.html#.VZ_sUubJCUk

http://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/streams/

http://babynames.allparenting.com/babynames/Popular/Popular_baby_names_in_Israel/

Images:
At the Edge of the Brook by William-Adolphe Bouguereau
The Meeting of Jacob and Rachel by William Dyce

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Michal:Trail of Tears

The princess was going back to her beloved prince. It should have been a fairytale ending. But real stories with real princesses and princes seldom do.

In this case, the woman was being led back to her husband she was separated from for nearly two decades. In back of her, her other husband was “weeping”.

Finally the man leading the entourage addressed the weeping man. It’s a short passage:

“Go, return. And he returned.”

Michal couldn’t turn back though. She needed to go forward and gather more courage than ever.

She had experienced fearful situations. But was she fully prepared for the terrors that awaited her?

72px-Rose_of_sharon_Icon.svgNotes and Sources:
2 Samuel 3
Image: Abner sends Michal back to David from Maciejowski Bible (Morgan Bible)

 

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Summer’s Story: Princess Michal, Wife of King David and Daughter of King Saul

There’s David and Goliath. Then David became king. A huge thanks goes out to Michal, his first wife and daughter of King Saul.

So what’s the story of Michal? Here’s the basic rundown:

She married David, saved his life, and her father married her to another man faraway. Nearly twenty years later she came back to her first husband’s home.

While we don’t know exactly what happened to her during those two decades, we know what she came back to: her first husband, now king, plus his wives and kids. A very big blow.

Then her last appearance occurs when she and David have a public spat over his actions when he brought the sacred Ark of the Covenant into Jerusalem.

Commentators have taken different sides. Some have smeared her image and others elevate Michal. The princess had many enemies and allies during both her life and after her death.

This summer, I wish to share some of my findings about her. They include:

  • What the Bible says—and doesn’t say—about her.
  • Common princess problems.
  • Portrayals of her, including those on primetime TV.
  • Events in the past, her times, and future.
  • Possible psychological effects.

This summer, I hope you will get to know the real Michal.

Stay tune!

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