Category Archives: Royalty

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Understanding Michal–Easier When You’ve Been in Her Place

I’m no Michal expert.

I just  try to pull her story together.  There are other women who relate to her more than I do. I relate to her, but once certain women know the basic facts of her story, they would have more powerful insights on Michal’s character and her decisions.

A lot of Michal’s outburst came from a culture–the culture of royalty–that few understand. Women have vocalized how they relate to Michal after comparing aspects of their lives to hers.

For example,  poet Rachel Bluwstein wrote a poem that compared her love and hate for a man by linking herself to Michal. She explored the question: is it possible to love and hate someone at the same time? To love and hate someone is another psychological phenomenon that’s been studied more in depth the last couple years. It is something very real.

Then there’s the desire for children. For some of us, it seems nearly impossible.  I was impressed with blogger Suzanne Burden’s beautiful post “Barren Guilt By Association” who now sees Michal in a new light since they shared similarities. Even though we don’t live in biblical times, not having children is still painful beyond words.

I respect women who do what they can to do add to society. The kind of women who are like Michal. Who fight for what they believe in. Who sometimes are the victims. But victims turn into heroes by conquering themselves. They recognize and appreciate their victories.

I have the strongest feeling Michal wouldn’t want anyone to give her the full fledged label of “victim.” She would want to be known as a hero. Her example of sacrifice and bravery make her one. It’s time for her critics and sympathizers to grasp this and let others know of this heroine.

 

Further Reading:

“Barren Guilt By Association” by Suzanne Burden 

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The First Window Scene

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)

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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.

Um, really?

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.

Further Reading:
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

Painting:
Michal lets David escape from the window. By Gustave Doré, 1865.

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The Good Wife

The rabbis say Michal was a model wife. I believe it. The Midrash says that though she wasn’t required to, she wore the tefillin—scriptures on bands that could be worn around the forehead and arms. This was a reminder of how God delivered the Hebrews from Egypt as well as a sign of a clean mind and body.The Greek  word for tefillin is “phylacteries” which means to guard and protect. Whether Michal wore the tefillin or not, I believe she was prayerful, remembered scriptures, and for sure she protected David.

I have no doubt she strove for perfection. She supported David. The following Bible verses show she  cherished him very much:

“And Saul saw and knew that the Lord was with David, and that Michal Saul’s daughter loved him. And Saul was yet more afraid of David” (1 Samuel 18: 28-29)

I’ve seen emphasis more of why Saul was afraid of David. And I agree with the common consensus: Saul was scared because he was even losing support from the people in his family. If that happened, he could lose the support of the nation.

What I also get from this verse is that Michal was helping out David. A lot. She wasn’t just this princess brushing her hair longing for her prince. She was a princess at work. She was a good example of a Israelite, military wife and princess. She would have showed her support for him when she was out in public and when he was gone.

The scriptures say from the start that David is wise and well-behaved but he continues to grow and gain more support following both the mentions of Michal and Jonathan’s love. Like Jonathan, Michal would have also tutored him on royal behavior. Shortly after his marriage to Michal we see that “David behaved himself more wisely than all the servants of Saul.” (1 Samuel 18:30) Good job, Michal!

I’ll agree that Michal was attracted to the handsome hero, but I believe she looked more on the heart. Saul sent David on dangerous missions, and whatever Michal did he while he was gone, scared Saul. Rabbi David Kimhi said that Saul was scared of David because she found out Saul’s plots to kill David and prevented them.

Saul hoped David would die on these missions and that David being away from Michal would prevent the newlyweds from starting a family. Saul probably didn’t want his daughter producing an heir that would support David. Likewise, later on it seems David didn’t want have children with Michal because he wanted to prevent the blood of Saul from inheriting the throne.

But she still loved him. I wish with all my heart that she did had children. She was very deserving. I also wish the Bible gave more details about her show of love and how she stopped Saul’s plots to kill him. Jonathan gets credit his multiple rescues but she had been hard at work even before her famous heroic window scene.

Sources:
On-line Tanach Class: Michal taught by Mordechai Torczyner
(http://ohave.tripod.com/chumash/michal.htm)

“Tefillin” Wikipedia article.

1 Samuel 18

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Manipulation and Marriage

After David and Goliath…

I read a fictional book and an article where it said Michal stole David from her older sister, Merab. That Michal manipulated David into marrying her. If that’s true, I actually think that deserves applause. Alas, I don’t think that’s the case. I have to say, though, that1 Samuel 18 is a game of manipulation.

The chapter starts out with Jonathan loving David, the two making a covenant, and Jonathan demonstrating he would do whatever it took to make David king. Don’t underestimate the friendship between Jonathan and David. Between tutoring David of royal duties and training him to become a warrior king, they had to have talked about other stuff…

Saul talked to David about marrying Merab at first. David could marry Merab if he swore his loyalty and fight for Saul. For me, David seems to be putting on an act when he responded: “What am I? and what is my life, or my father’s family in Israel that I should be the son in law to the king?”

There’s no mention of Saul pressing this matter on him, but the next verse reads: “But it came to pass at the time when Merab Saul’s daughter should have been given to David, that she was given unto Adriel the Meholathite to wife.” (1 Samuel 18:17-19)

If David had a preference for either Merab or Michal, it’s likely Jonathan would know. He would know and do something about it. Or perhaps Jonathan and David discussed who would be better suited for David as a wife. Whatever the case, I’m sure Jonathan—who would save David’s life and prove that he could persuade his father—would have stepped in.

The plan for Michal to marry David could have been in action before this. Certainly, now that one of two daughters was married off, David wanted the single one for his wife and something had to happen. I believe Jonathan was instrumental in the plan.

Verse 20 sparks suspicion from two opposing sides–those who think David wanted Merab and those who think he wanted Michal. The verse reads:

“And Michal Saul’s daughter loved David: and they told Saul, and the thing pleased him.”

Yes, now that Merab was unavailable, it seems people come up suddenly and speak of Michal’s love. There were things going on behind the scenes. But I hardly believe Michal could have orchestrated this plan by herself.

Besides, we’re told already all Israel and Judah loved David. So it wasn’t as if people came forward saying, “Guess what? Your young daughter also loves David!”

That wouldn’t have been news to anyone. Surely the readers must realize this.

The verse is vague. A question that should arise is who exactly is “they”? Most likely Saul’s servants but perhaps other servants. Did Saul send them to Michal and ask if she was interested in marrying David? Or was she and possibly Jonathan plotting with them? Michal’s love was perhaps something Saul wanted to hear.

Here was Saul’s thought process and commands to his servants:

And Saul said, I will give him her, that she may be a snare to him, and that the hand of the Philistines may be against him. Wherefore Saul said to David, Thou shalt this day be my son in law in the one of the twain.

And Saul commanded his servants, saying, Commune with David secretly, and say, Behold, the king hath delight in thee, and all his servants love thee: now therefore be the king’s son in law. (1 Samuel 18:21-22)

At first David has the same reaction as he did when Saul presented the idea of marrying Merab:

And Saul’s servants spake those words in the ears of David. “And David said, Seemeth it to you light thing to be a king’s son in law, seeing that I am a poor man, and lightly esteemed?” (1 Samuel 18:23)

Saul wasn’t about to let David go this time. Was he getting counsel from someone? If so, the whom? Perhaps Saul had made David an offer before, but David didn’t take it. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say David was being coached.

Back to the chapter and what happens after David’s passive answer:

And the servants of Saul told him, saying, On this manner spake David. And Saul said, Thus shall ye say to David, The king desireth not any dowry, but an hundred foreskins of the Philistines, to be avenged of the king’s enemies. But Saul thought to make David fall by the hand of the Philistines.And when his servants told David these words, it pleased David well to be the king’s son in law. (1 Samuel 18:24-16)

Whether David was pleased to be on his way to coming king or/and couldn’t wait to marry Michal. He doesn’t mind he could marry her. It’s kind of strange actually. He puts his whole heart in the deadly mission.

“Wherefore David arose and went, he and his men, and slew of the Philistines two hundred men; and David brought their foreskins” (1 Samuel 18:27)

Saul had no choice but to let Michal and David marry. Instead of Saul manipulating the situation, David won this battle.

Jonathan had made a covenant with David. Now Michal also made a covenant with David through marriage. She would be a good wife.

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David and Goliath, or the Quest for Michal Begins

Going WAY back. To better times…

It’s hard to know when Michal actually met David. He was already a minor celebrity when, through word of mouth, got the the appointment as one of the king’s musicians. Before coming to court, he was anointed as Israel’s next king.

Saul and his household appreciated the peace he brought to court. Through Saul’s disobedient and perhaps through the traumas of battles, the evil spirit that plagued Saul left when David played. Good music is good therapy.

Very few knew of David’s call to be king at this time. He would have been more observant of Saul and his family than they were of him. There was something special, though, about this harp player that impressed Saul and others. Yet, Saul inquired more about him after he defeated Golaith. David then became a resident in the royal household.

Is This Not a Cause?

Oh, yes, we need to discuss David and Goliath.

There was terror—even from Michal’s brave father—with the threat of Goliath. There were rumors. David picked up on some when he acquired what’s up by men on the roadside. Goliath was feared and David heard some men say that “The man who killeth him, the king will enrich him with great riches, and will give his daughter, and make his father’s house free in Israel” (1 Samuel 17:25-27)

Did he hear that right? David asked if it true, and the people were confident that the victor would get those great prizes.

David’s oldest brother, Eliab, was taken aback when he heard David’s conversation. I find David’s reply a little enlightening. “What have I now done? Is there not a cause?” (1 Samuel 17:29)

Or a couple. Did you pick up on anything? Or anybody? Basically this was a nice lead way into gaining access to kingship.

And daughter? The passage doesn’t specify Michal or her older sister Merab which I find interesting. Perhaps David didn’t care which daughter as long as marrying one of the king’s daughter got him closer to being king. Still I find it curious that Merab’s name isn’t inserted.

David was young. Most likely too young to marry now according to Saul. Merab and Michal were surely young—maybe not even considered women yet. For sure they were going to get married since it was in their father’s best interest to make alliances.

Happy Days

It was a happy day for Israel when David defeated Goliath. Israel was pumped and chased the Philistines. David moved into the royal household.

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David had got what was promised. Almost. He was still too young to marry Saul’s daughter, but the idea was planted in his head. David always got what he wanted. Always.

I mentioned before how David would have found Michal appealing. The chances of marrying a rare Benjaminite woman of her position, were out of his world. Of course Merab fit the same criteria, but Michal was also the younger daughter. Biblical tradition shows the eldest daughter was married off first. As we see in the Jacob, Leah, and Rachel story, a younger daughter is more of a challenge to get. The more challenging, the better for David.

Sources:
1 Samuel 17

Images:
David gegen Goliath by Gebhard Fugel
David Slays Goliath by Gustave Dore

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Treason and Queens Making Scenes

Sadly, it’s sometimes  better to be seen than heard when you’re in situations like Michal.  Men get off easier if they say something similar.

Paintings, photographs, and just visual appearances at public events can be more effective than words if princesses want to make a point.

But sometimes, you can’t help yourself…

Here are some notable examples.

Princess Diana and BBC’s Panorama Interview

Princess Diana decided she could outdo her husband, Prince Charles, again after he gave a televised interview in which he admitted to adultery. Other people were getting to her too. The pressures, anger, and frustrations of Diana were enough for her to agree to BBC to interview her. She secretly set up an interview with Martin Bashir. She had her staff take the night off.

It was the evening of November 5. In England that happens to be Guy Fawkes Night. November 5, 1605 was when Guy Fawkes, who planned to blow up Parliament (which included the King), was caught. People celebrate Fawkes’ capture with fireworks. Little did people know that on November 5, 1995, there was treason and a different kind of fireworks going off. Diana spoke out against her husband, the monarchy, and other people who she felt betrayed her. She reflected how much she loved her husband—yet at the same time she wasn’t showing much love.

At first she felt good about it, but later regretted it. The Queen asked she and Charles get a hasty divorce very soon afterwards.

8499071865_a0915616b7_oTheir son William was reportedly extremely upset by it. Some people left her service including her secretary Patrick Jephson. In a special called “Behind the Panorama” he posed the question of why people in the public eye “feel the need” to do things in public.

The question is as true today as it was in the Bible.

Queen Sophia Magdalena’s Scene at the Opera

When Danish princess Sophia Magdalena arrived in Sweden in 1766 to marry Prince Gustav, he and the rest of the Swedish people seemed happy. Their relationship was strained due to gossip. She was more introverted and came off as cold.  Her mother-in-law, Louisa Ulrika, smeared her image right from the beginning.

When Gustav became King and Sophia became Queen, rumors about their personal relationship and political activities grew worse. When Sophia heard that Gustav planned to take away their son away from her, she made a public scene at the opera. She went to his box and confronted him about it. A verbal fight broke out between the two. Before she left, she said, “I will have my vengeance monsieur! I give you my sacred vow on that!”

Could this fight have waited? Perhaps she felt the urgency and maybe it was one of the only times she could talk to him. I think it was only a matter of time before everything just blew up.

Daughter of Saul

When you first read 2 Samuel 6, it’s like, what? Where did that can from?

Remember Michal was dropped from the narrative for a while but was behind the scenes. After we know more of what she went through and learn why and about how other royal women similary took (and still take) a stand publicly, it totally makes sense. Truthfully, I would have been more surprised if Michal had not put up a public fight.

 

Sources:

“Princess Diana: Behind the Panorama Interview” Documentary

“Princess Diana ‘regretted’ Panorama interview”taken  fro m The Telegraph article  by Richard Alley, 15 Dec 2007
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1572605/Princess-Diana-regretted-Panorama-interview.html

Princess Sophia Magdalena of Debmakre Wikipedia page

Ensam drottning. Sofia Magdalena 1783-1813. [Lonely Queen. Sophia Magdalena 1782-1813] by Gerd Ribbing

Images:
TIME cover Mar 11-1996 Princess Diana.  Posted by manhhai at https://www.flickr.com/photos/13476480@N07/8499071865

 

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Michal: Possible Psychological Effects on Michal (Just a Few)

I read an article about how Michal is a bad example because of her show of bitterness when she confronted David in public. I left a comment in hopes the writer visits this website. First, I’d like to say that though she and I have complete opposites views on Michal, I think it’s a well written article. Secondly, I wish to expand on the “bitterness” I hope no one will ever have to experience, and yet so many do.

In this post I wish to talk about the psychological effects certain events might have had on Michal.

I don’t claim to be an expert in this field, but I truly believe Michal, those close to her, all of Israel and its opponents went through some sort of trauma. Michal’s life was literally a war. Soldiers and families of soldiers lost what and who was dear to them.

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Here are some “things”—or traumatic ordeals—that I believe produced grief, survivor’s guilt, and post trauma stress disorder:

  • Lone survivor. Michal was far away from close family and was one of the last children—if not the last—of Saul and his wife, Ahinoam. Her father and brothers were slayed in battle. Shortly after she and Abner returned to David, Abner was killed. She didn’t die. Ishbosheth was brutally murdered and his head was presented to David. Was she happy to be alive or guilty she survived and hadn’t been with her family at their deaths?
  • Moving. In general, it’s stressful and can place strains on family life—especially marriage. Being sent to Patil and then back to David was dramatic. If she had started to feel settled in Hebron, David’s household moved again—this time to Jerusalem. The move to Jerusalem was especially stressful because more women were added to David’s harem.
  • The other families. There’s no mention Michal and David had children together. The hurt she felt at seeing his other families must have been beyond horrible. Even nowadays, there is a stigma in some religious cultures if a woman can’t reproduce. I said “culture” and not the religion itself. There are examples of good women in the Bible who did nothing wrong and yet had no children. Yet, there were still those that looked down on them.

I think there is so much to what Michal was going through emotionally at this time. I will discuss one more possible scenario that I believe is one of the most important. It is..

The Window Flashback
The serious reader compares the passage of “Michal, Saul’s daughter looked through a window, and saw David leaping before the Lord, and she despised him in her heart” (2 Samuel 6:16) to the time she showed her love when he helped David escape out of the window. It’s a literary device yes, but Michal had more of a serious flashback than the reader.

That night when Michal saved David’s life was terrifying. Was she  reliving it? Was she scared she was going to be taken away again? The fact that he was taking time celebrating and had been talking to everyone—even in front of the “handmaids of his servants”—  gave Michal time to think and anger to build up. She might have planned to humiliate before this event happened, but the commotion and noise coming from the celebration (2 Samuel 6:5) might have made her physically shakier.

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The night Michal let David down through the window was both a heroic and traumatic night.

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Did Michal experience a serious flashback when she saw David dancing through her window?

She took the offensive, but really she was defending herself. It might have been her way of coping. She might have been wondering why he hadn’t come for her and was taking his time to come to her. Only Michal knows the terror she felt that night when the guards and Saul came in to kill David. Or when she was given to another. Even if she had had no physical harm done to her, she was in a position that someone she loved (David) had been closed to death.

As I said before, I’m no expert and don’t know exactly how Michal felt. I haven’t gone through the trauma Michal experienced, but I have gone through lesser experiences that led to counseling. Let’s remember that emotional and psychological illnesses have always been real. We have more of an understanding of them today but still are learning. Though religious, Michal and David didn’t know how to help each other. More churches and religious leaders today see the necessity of counseling.

 

Paintings by Gustave Dore and Francesco de’Rossi

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Michal: The Ark of the Covenant and Fight Chapter

I’ve decided to include some of 2 Samuel 6’s highlights. (Read to the end of the post for some of my  commentary.)

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And 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 dancing before the Lord; and she despised him in her heart…And he dealt among all the people, even among the whole multitude of Israel, as well to the women as men, to every one a cake of bread, and a good piece of flesh, and a flagon of wine. So all the people departed every one to his house…David returned to bless his household

And Michal the daughter of Saul came out to meet David, and said, How glorious was the king of Israel to day, who uncovered himself to day in the eyes of the handmaids of his servants, as one of the vain fellows shamelessly uncovereth himself!

 And David said unto Michal, It was before theLord, which chose me before thy father, and before all his house, to appoint me ruler over the people of the Lord, over Israel: therefore will I play before the Lord. And I will yet be more vile than thus, and will be base in mine own sight: and of the maidservants which thou hast spoken of, of them shall I be had in honour.

 Therefore Michal the daughter of Saul had no child unto the day of her death.

Ouch! You know what? Both were right. Both were wrong.I think both had valid, solid points.

A king, in Michal’s honest opinion, shouldn’t act that way. He wasn’t reflecting modesty on the exterior and perhaps he wasn’t really modest inside. David said he meant to praise the Lord. (A common tactic of David’s.)

This fight greatly affected both their lives and the rest of Israel’s future. I call 2 Samuel 6 “Michal’s Mistake and David’s Downfall.” Or more appropriately, “The Beginning of the End. “

Painting by Francesco Salviati

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Michal: Reacting to Wives, Concubines, and Children

Before Michal returned to David, she probably had some sort of knowledge that David took on more wives. Perhaps Abner filled her in on more details on their way to Hebron. Accepting or not, nothing could have fully prepared her to be in the presense of his other families.

David’s wives are  obviously one of the hurtful aspects of her return. They had children which gave their positions a boost. It would have been humiliating if she was asked to acknowledge the wives and recognize their children as David’s heirs.

Reactions of Royal Women

Traditionally, royal women have been expected to turn a blind eye to their husbands’ other lovers. Some were forced into associating with them. And it’s typical for the strong ones to take a stand. Here are some examples.

Catherine of Aragon

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Catherine of Aragon usually turned a blind eye to her husband’s affairs, but there were times she felt it necessary to stand up to him which shocked him. Even before Anne Boleyn, she showed disapproval when Henry recognized a illegitimate son at court. That mistress was dismissed. When the Anne Boleyn burden did arise, Catherine would always consider herself to be the king’s true wife and called herself “Queen” till her death.

Anne Boleyn

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Anne Boleyn lashed out more than Catherine  about Henry’s affairs. With the assistance of her family, she made sure one of his mysterious mistresses didn’t return to court. I’m not a fan of her, but I think she was showed the dignity of a queen when she went to the executioner’s block.

Catherine of Braganza

Queen Esther and Queen Catherine of Braganza both had similar, selfless agendas

Before Catherine of Braganza married Charles II, she was informed of his affairs. She was also advised not let his head mistress into her presence.  But when that did happen, she got a bloody nose and fainted.   She improved restraining herself from making scenes in public. Once in a while, the mistresses made good allies, which put her more in favor with her husband. She even was on good terms with the mistresses’ children but never acknowledged them as his heirs.  She stayed queen consort and her husband asked for her forgiveness on his deathbed.

Problems With Approved Polygamy

I have not forgotten about how David’s marriages were approved by God at this time. That would have presented unique challenges and made it more difficult. Even the most righteous women in the Bible struggled with their husbands having other wives and concubines which bore them children.

Rachel and Leah

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Childen made a woman more valuable in ancient Israel. Leah thought Jacob would love her when she bore him sons. Then there’s younger sister Rachel, who’s barren but still Jacob’s true love. Rachel desired children so badly. When Rachel asked Leah for mandrakes (considered a fertility drug), Leah said, “Is it enough you have stolen my husband?” (Genesis 30:15)

Who did Michal relate to most in this case? Did she feel like the other wives stole David? Could she also have wanted children more than anything? Leah and Rachel’s stories both have a somewhat satisfying ending. Rachel bore Jacob his favorite sons, and Jacob requested to be buried with Leah. It seems non-royal families have a better chance at happy endings than royal ones.

Hannah and Peninnah

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The prophet Samuel was the product of a woman with great faith who had been barren for years. Hannah felt low as her husband’s other wife , Peninnah, produced many children, yet her husband, Elkanah “loved Hannah” (1 Samuel 5) and tried to comfort her “Why is thy heart grieved? Am not I better to thee than ten sons?” (1 Samuel 1:8) Through Hannah’s faith she eventually conceived a great prophet and other children followed. Maybe David attempted to reassure her with love but there’s the question if David even wanted to have children with Michal due to a desire to prevent Saul’s descendants from inheriting the throne. With all his other wives, it was easy to avoid her. There wasn’t that much communication.  Also, the rulers that married off their daughters to David might be suspicious if he gave the daughter of a rival king (even if he was dead) more attention.

Sarah and Hagar

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According to Sarah, Hagar disrespected her: “She had conceived, I was despised in her eyes.” (Genesis 16: 5)Abraham let Sarah “do to her [Hagar] as it pleaseth thee.” Sarah might have been too harsh as Hagar ran away. Hagar she was still promised posterity, But it was Sarah who eventually bore Abraham’s son of the covenant. She was concerned that people would think Hagar’s son, Ishmael, was Abraham’s heir and not her son, Isaac. Sarah advised Abraham, “Cast out this bondwoman and her son; for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, even Isaac.” (Genesis 21:10) Abraham took his what his wife said to heart and asked the Lord what he should do. The Lord agreed with Sarah, and the next morning, he sent Hagar and Ishmael off with sufficient supplies. (Genesis 21:11-14).

Sarah’s request was granted but royal women don’t always have the opportunities. Sometimes  king’s mistresses do fall out of favor much to his queen’s delight. Since many of David’s wives were prominent women, the chances of sending them away were slim. Michal was the first wife but had little power to pull off something like Sarah. If David sent away another wife who was the daughter of a king, alliances would be broken which would present problems such as the threat of war. The most powerful members in Michal’s family were dead. Yet, some of his wives were low born. Michal might have considered them bondwomen like Sarah saw Hagar.

The Ticking Time Bomb

Michal survived Hebron. But when the royal family changed their residence to Jerusalem, things became shakier.2 Samuel 5:13 practically yells Michal had a problem with the move and David’s further actions:

“And David took him more concubines and wives out of Jerusalem, after he was come from Hebron”

So David had more children, wives, and concubines. This was bound to create more conflict and competition among the other wives too (2 Samuel 5:13-16). Who knows if she and the other wives conspired with or against each other Maybe Michal felt she had more power over the concubines, but was getting the impression she held little value to David. This was the perfect setup for he next chapter–their public spat after a controversial celebration. David taking on more wives, concubines, and having children was traumatic and contributed to that fight. There might have been individual incidences that left Michal shaken. I wouldn’t have been in the mood to celebrate.

 

Sources:

Catherine of Aragon: The Spanish Queen by Giles Tremlett
The Anne Boleyn Collection II by Claire Riidgeway
Jane Boleyn: The True Story of the Infamous Lady Rochford by Julia Fox
“Keeping Up Appearances: Catherine of Braganza, Charles II’s Underestimated Wife” by Sarah Patten

Genesis 16, 21, 20
1 Samuel 1
2 Samuel 5

Images:
Catherine of Aragon  by Michael Sittow
Anne Boleyn portrait
Catherine of Braganza  Jacob Huysmans
Dante’s Vision of Rachel and Leah by Gabriel Charles
Hannah Giving Her son Samuel to the Priest by Jan Victors
Sarai Sends Hagar Away by James Tissot

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Michal: Persuasion, Party, and Murder

Abner presented David’s case to be king to the elders of Israel. He persuaded the Benjaminites and the rest of Israel to switch sides. Was Michal part of the things he spoke about in conversations? The daughter of Saul was pleased to be united with David and thought he was the true king–that could persuade people. Who knows, but she had to act a certain way for people to believe what Abner was saying.

“And Abner also spake in the ears of Benjamin: and Abner went also to speak in the ears of David in Hebron all that seemed good to Israel, and that seemed good to the whole house of Benjamin.”.

She must have conducted herself well. David was pleased enough to throw Abner a feast.

Did Michal attend? Would she have been allowed? Thanks to her, Abner was honored and  more people recognized David as king. It was a sort of celebration for her arrival—even if she had come back as a prop and trophy.

The feast was a signal that David trusted Abner, and Michal and other Benjaminites had security. This proved untrue, and way too soon, she was reminded she couldn’t let her guard down.

Not long after the feast, Abner was dead.

Murdered by David’s nephews, Joab and Abishai, in revenge for their brother’s death during the war between the houses of Saul and David.

How could Michal trust David now? He made it a point for all the people to know it wasn’t his fault and Joab would be responsible. David gave an emotional performance at Abner’s burial. He “wept at the grave of Abner; and all the people wept.”

There’s a probability that Michal was one of those people.  Was she also scared?

Abner’s death was terrifying for the house of Saul. This was a warning to watch out.

Source
2 Samuel 3