Monday, June 20, 2016

Michal - a pawn

In ancient times, daughters were greeted at birth with love and joy, but in later years they might be married off to someone (they might know even have ever seen their bridegroom) to accomplish the purposes of their fathers, or the elders of the community, or to bring kingdoms together, in the case of royalty.
Do you remember when we studied Leah? Leah was a girl whose dad used her to accomplish his own purposes. He married her off to Jacob, who had agreed to work for seven years to win his love, her sister Rachel. We discussed how Leah must have felt....the very person who should have loved, supported, and protected her, used her in his schemes and manipulations.

Michal's story will have some similarities to Leah's story. She is the youngest daughter of King Saul. He definitely wants to accomplish things with the marriages of his daughters, and he schemes to make his purposes happen. Unfortunately, Michal does not turn to the Lord as Leah finally did. There are lessons we can learn this week.
Let's dive in!

We first see Michal mentioned in this verse:
Saul’s sons were Jonathan, Ishvi and Malki-Shua. The name of his older daughter was Merab, and that of the younger was Michal. (I Samuel 14:49)
We first see Michal mentioned in this verse: So, Michal was a princess, probably a person that folks doted on and took special care of, right? She was probably protected, didn't "get out much," etc. So she would probably be quickly enamored with a handsome hero . . . oh, wait, I'm getting ahead of our story. Let me give us some background . . .

In the sixteenth chapter of I Samuel, we read that David, who probably kept the fact that Samuel had anointed him under his hat, was employed at the palace to play music for Saul when he became vexed, or irritable, or even violent. (There were times that Saul would throw his massive spear at David, too, but that is another story. Oy.)
In chapter seventeen, we see the story of the young boy bravely standing before Goliath and declaring that Yahweh would prevail -- and we see the giant fall dead. Now, Saul had promised that whoever killed the great warrior who had been terrifying Israel would receive a huge bounty -- not only would he be given the hand of one of the king's daughters in marriage, but his family would be free from taxes and public service (I Samuel 17:25). In the moments after the giant was killed, a movement began that was to irritate Saul for the rest of his life. The people were instantly drawn to the young hero, and even began chanting that David was a much more heroic warrior than was the king. Saul became insanely jealous of David, and the feeling became worse when it turned out that David was a huge military success, too!

Saul decided that he would make good on his promise, but he was hoping that he could use his daughter to destroy David. Ouch! How would that work?
Saul said to David, “Here is my older daughter Merab. I will give her to you in marriage; only serve me bravely and fight the battles of the Lord.” For Saul said to himself, “I will not raise a hand against him. Let the Philistines do that!” I Samuel 18:17)
Here is his plan in a nutshell: he would put him in harm's way, and hope that the Philistines would kill him, since a newly-married fellow might be distracted and "off his game."
Nice guy, huh?
David was humble; even though he had earned the right to marry Merab, he said that he was pretty much penniless, and a "nobody" so he was not the right guy for her. (Saul married her off to Adriel, and later their five sons are given by David to the Gibeonites. Remember Rizpah's story some time back?)

Since his plan didn't work, I can just see Saul slumped back on his throne, a frown on his face. He would be trying to devise another plan.
Then one of his servants told him . . . His younger daughter, Michal, had fallen in love with David. Head-over-heels, rosy-glow, sweet-music-playing and flowers-perfuming-the-air kind of love. It's easy to see why -- David was a national hero, the one who defeated the Philistine giant.  He spent lots of time outdoors; he was tanned and fit and handsome. He obviously spoke well, and he composed poetry, too. Her heart was captured by this dashing man.

How thrilled Michal must have been when she was told that her father would allow her to marry David! Well, she didn't know that he wasn't doing it to please her -- he saw her as a weapon in his secret strategy against David. This time it might work, since Mical loved David -- she might prove to be a beautiful distraction to him and trip him up enough for the Philistines to kill David.

A princess that would marry the man of her dreams . . . this would be the beginning of a life of joy and happiness, right?
Michal's love for David will thrust her into some really tight political issues. And the two men she loves will use her and eventually discard her. The very men she should have been able to trust.

We'll pick up Michal's story next time and see how things work out.

1 comment:

Katie Isabella said...

I really like these studies of the women of the Bible.