David, Michal, and Phalti: The OT scandal.
I was reading through the book of 2 Samuel, and came across this story. I went back and dug throug 1 Samuel to complete it (with lots of help from www.bibledatabase.org).
Here's the 'short version':
Michal loved David, and vice-versa.
David took Michal (Saul's daughter) as a wife, in exchange for the foreskins of 100 philistines (ouch!).
When Saul later decided to have David 'offed', Michal warned him, and helped him escape.
Michal was then given to Phalti as a wife.
fast forward to 2 Samuel:
David refused to bargain with Abner until Michal (his wife) was returned to him.
Apparently (because it's implied later, but not clear) Michal resented all of this, as she had (apparently) developed a fondness for her second husband, Phalti.
Phalti, BTW, was DEEPLY in love with Michal, and distraught over having her taken from him.
Anyway, as said earlier, Michal apparently resented this reuniting with David.
The next mention of Micahl and David is in Chapter 6 of 2 Samuel.
(as an aside, 2 Samuel 6:6-7 is a BRUTAL reminder that 'good intentions' don't cut it with God, and worthy of its own thread/study/discussion)
Anyway, in chapter 6, Michal sees David happy, blessed, and worshipping (dancing, no less - obviously, David wasn't Baptist. Must have been Pentecostal)
In verse 16, it gets interesting:
Michal saw David dancing, and resnted his joy. Later, when David came home, Michal met him halfway and basically said 'Look at you! I saw you today, dancing around half-naked in front of all those women! You made a fool of yourself!'.
She said these things out of resentment. She was still, apparently, hurt over being ripped from Phalti's side, and resented seeing David (the man she once had loved) happy.
David, being in a positioon of considerable power and not willing to let a bitter woman put a damper on his day, laid the law down to her: He made it clear that not only was he going to worship and rejoice in the Lord whenever and wherever he saw fit, but he was also (possibly out of spite towards Michal...) going to take a few of the aforementioned maids for himself, and to make matters worse, he apparently kept Michal as his wife, but kicked her out of bed, and she died childless.
What can we learn from all of this?
Well, we can learn a lot.
Love hurts. Poor Michal loved David more than Saul - as a wife should - and when she saved David's life, Saul repaid her by giving her (his own daughter...) to another man. I *assume* that she didn't particularly care for Phalti at first, so this probably wasn't a terribly pleasant experience for her. From all of this, we can deduce that gettinng the wife away from her parents once you marry her is probably a good idea.
Moving on, Michal got ripped from her husband a SECOND time, in a strange twist of fate, and yet AGAIN found herself with a man she was uncomfortable with. Given the female tendency to completely shut out the past, being back with David must have been VERY hard on her. So this girl is probably borderline 'mental breakdown' by now. I would have been too....
On top of all this, we have poor Phalti. What can we learn from him? Well, first, don't swim in another man's pool. Michal was, I suppose, still married when she was 'given' to Phalti. had he been smart, he would have made himself invisible when Saul was looking to dispose of her. Poor guy fell in love, and just as today, got his heart ripped out. Well, at least it wasn't Michal's fault.
Question: should David have demanded his wife back, or should he have let the past be the past? It doesn't really matter, I suppose, as what's done is done.
Michal had as much right as anyone to be bitter. She had a pretty unstable life, it seems, and was still hurt at David for seeing her as a possession to be regained, not a wife to be reunited to. (If he had loved her like the latter, he would have, I think, understood her situation, and let it go...)
The kicker in all of this is that having 'as much right as anyone' to be bitter means we have exactly zero right to be bitter. All of us are imperfect, and life isn't 'fair'. Even if you argue a 'right' to be bitter, it's obvious that it's better to put it behind you.
Michal couldn't do this (not saying I blame her, but the lesson is still there....).
Therefore, when she let this bitterness manifest itself in the way she upbraided David for his public worship, she paid for it dearly. He 'cut her off', apparently, and made matters even worse by rubbing it in her face that he was going to do as he saw fit, especially those things she disapproved of.
Where does that leave us?
Bitterness NEVER accomplishes anything. Few people (self included) have had as 'unfair' of a life as Michal did, and even with that, her bitterness only created.....more bitterness. She could have broke the cycle, but she didn't. Would I have done any better? Doubtful - but the lesson is still there. You HAVE to be willing to let go, and move on with life.
David was a pretty mean guy. Some people have this idea that all the OT Bible characters were super-perfect men of God. Well, they were the latter, but rarely the former. God doesn't use perfect people; perfect people don't exist, and didn't exist even in OT times. But DAVID WAS GOD'S MAN!
Final lesson: Don't mess with God's man! Regardless of past mistakes, indiscretions, or outright atrocities, when God gets His hands on someone, and that someone is in God's will and living under the obvious favor of God, GET OUT OF THEIR WAY. David was 'getting his mind right' in front of God, and Michal picked a dirt-poor time to mess with him. This is a good lesson to learn when you see someone making changes in their life, growing, and doing better than they may have been in the past when they hurt you. Why? The NT says that God won't forgive you if you don't forgive others. And God has a history of doing whatever it takes to clear a path for his chosen people (individually and collectively).
I've steered clear of the Religion forum for reasons I'm sure you know,,,,but I must say this is a very cool post, and especially poignant for the time and place.
I find it hard to let go of wrongs done to me in the past, and find myself struggling inwardly and dwelling. It's a good story, and your interpretations made me say "hmm...".
So, thanks, and Merry Christmas!
Since David is a decendant of Abraham I'm not surprised Michal was cursed.
I assure you I'm as guilty as anyone who ever lived of holding on to things I ought to let go of.
Humans want Justice for everyone else, and forgiveness for themselves. It's normal, or so I'm told.....
I'm glad you enjoyed it. I have a VERY hard time getting into the Old Testament sometimes, but once you do, there are some super-neat stories in there. Some of them you have to 'tease out' a bit.
And a Merry Christmas to you, too.
I hadn't considered that angle.
Do you think God cursed her with a unfertile womb, or do you think David just 'cut her off'?
I suppose it's a matter of speculation, but again, I hadn't considered the angle you mention.
Michal was a young Jewish lass though too...