Michal is different from many of the women we’ve shared about in our Women in the Bible series. She’s a complex character, in a way that many modern women can relate to.
She begins her life in privilege. She’s the daughter of a king, King Saul.
She’s very young when she first encounters David. David had become popular among the people after his defeat of the giant. He’s described in the Bible as a very attractive young man: “he was ruddy, with beautiful eyes and a handsome appearance.” She’s captivated by him and it’s public knowledge.
Saul gives David the opportunity to marry Michal and David is pleased to do so. She must have been beautiful too.
When Saul gets obsessed with plotting David’s death, Michal risks her father’s wrath by helping him escape. She’s brave in her convictions and she rescues the man she loves. She’s also shown to be wise – street smart even. She tricks her dad and also pacifies him with a cunning answer when he questions her loyalty.
When we see Michal again, she’s been married to another man because of her dad’s politics. When David comes into his power he takes her back from her new husband.
Michal is now older. She’s experienced more of the sorrows and some of the joys that come with growing up.
She’s no longer an infatuated teenager, but a woman who likes to keep up with appearances and hates to associate with those she deems “not of her class.”
Meanwhile David is growing in popularity with the people. He’s growing in his apreciation of God. He is finally able to bring the ark back and he dances his heart out like any commoner. Michal sees him dancing and debasing himself before God and His ark. She’s immediately disgusted by the whole thing. The Bible put it this way: “she despised him in her heart.”
After witnessing the scene she considers humiliating, she confronts David in their home and accuses him of being shameless. David tells her that he’s glad to debase Himself before the Lord who made him what he was. David was a man after God’s heart. He knew that it was God who gave him everything he had, and who made him the man he was.
The Bible records that because of Michal’s statement, she was barren to the day of her death.
Michal just didn’t get what all the fuss about God was about. She understood the things she could see and aquire. She was a bold woman who had a voice of her own. She probably hated being seen as a pawn on a chessboard. I would hate it too. She seemed to have accepted her lot in life and found a way to make the most of it. Having things, having prestige, those were the things that became important to her.
I wish Michal saw the bigger picture. I wish she knew the joys that waited for her in the salvation story that was unfolding. She had no children. What if she like many other broken but redeemed women before her, believed in God’s promises to Israel and saw her part in it? What if she sought to become an ancestor of the Messiah who was to come through David’s line?
Michal is like many today. Very practical. Not wanting to be bothered by things she could not explain. She put her worth in perishable things. That was surely a mistake. It would be for us too if we think as she did.
Michal’s story challenges me to think more deeply about my faith. Have I stopped believing like a child? Have I stopped believing in who God is and in His faithfulness? I want to be bold in my faith, and I want to be a part of what God is working out for His glory!