We've started our study of Michal, the daughter of King Saul, and then wife to David. She fell in love with David and her father permitted the marriage, but it was with his own nefarious schemes in mind. His first scheme didn't work out so well . . . his offer to let David marry the older daughter, Merab, was met with humble resistance.
But this plan might work, Saul thought, because Michal is crazy about David! So Saul sends his servants to broach the subject. (And to butter him up, I guess!)
This time, it looks as if David gives this consideration, for he comes back with something more substantial -- he doesn't have anything that he could bring into the marriage, that would equal the value of a princess.
In ancient times, it was customary for the groom to present a dowry to the family of the bride-to-be. As a present, it was both a great way for the groom to show off, and it was financial security for the bride in the event that her new hubby would be killed or die. How much for the dowry? Well, that depended on the customs of the tribe or clan, as well as the social standing of the two parties involved. (In addition to the bride's security, the dowry also compensated the bride's family for any economic loss from her leaving the family.)
Deuteronomy 22:29 sets the price for a bride at fifty shekels of silver -- but a princess would require a much larger dowry, I'm sure!
Saul is such a schemer.
He had already been down that road in his thoughts, and had a ready answer -- no gold or silver required. Just the foreskins of one hundred Philistines. Ug. Not a pretty thought, but I guess the reasoning was, in order to do that, he would have to kill one hundred Philistines, right? That's one hundred chances for David to be killed, and that makes Saul happy. His jealous heart would be calmed.
David acted quickly, and didn't give Saul a chance to change his mind. He killed two hundred Philistines.
With his plan foiled, Saul had no choice but to consent to the marriage. He still hoped that Michal would prove to be a distraction and trip David up. Perhaps cause him to take unnecessary chances, or make him be distracted in battle.
How sad to see a man that was so consumed with jealousy that he would use his own daughter as a pawn in his schemes!
Jealousy, left unchecked, will grow like a weed, and eventually cause us to make choices that would not be made otherwise.
Anger is cruel and fury overwhelming, but who can stand before jealousy? (Proverbs 27:4)
We can't say that we are children of God and harbor jealousy in our hearts. It just doesn't work. Paul tells us in I Corinthians that if there is jealousy and quarreling among us, it is because we are not spiritual. We are reacting from our flesh, instead of from our relationship to our Father. Satan has used the tool of jealousy to great effect over the years. Are we jealous when a sister or brother is chosen for a position in the church, and we are left behind? Are we jealous when our neighbor, who already has more material possessions than we can afford, gets a new car?
Jesus can help us win this battle, and our strategy should be this: keep our eyes on Him, and not on what other people have, or what other people do. If we are more interested in the treasures that we can lay up in heaven, that new car won't have as much appeal. If we are interested in building up and supporting our sisters and brothers, we will pray for them with their new responsibilities, instead of thinking "why not me?"
With David now a member of the family, it was up to Jonathan to talk some sense into his father's head (I Samuel 19) and tell Saul not to kill David. Regardless of his promise, though, Saul tried to make a shish-kebob out of him by throwing his spear at David while he played music for Saul. David was able to elude him, and didn't get pinned to the wall or run through. He did dash home, though.
I don't know about you, but I'm cheering for Michal right about now! She hears of her father's plan to kill David, tells him of the danger, and then helps him with his escape plan.
First she helps her hubby climb out the window, and off he goes, running for his life. Michal does everything she can to give him a head start -- in the morning, when the servants arrive to take him, she tells them that he is sick.
So, they go back and tell the king.
Then they are told to come back and bring him, bed and all!
Now, Michal had thought of this, so she took a household idol (must have been a fair size, and the fact that she had one is something we'll look at later) and put it in the bed. She pulled up the cover, and then put some goat hair up at the top, where David's head should be.
This disguise worked so well, that no one knew it was a bogus "David" until the covers were pulled off in the presence of King Saul! Michal must have been happy that her plan worked, and David had plenty of time to get far away from King Saul . . . but she paid a heavy price. Her husband was now considered an outlaw -- as a man on the run, he wasn't expected to return, I guess. King Saul waited a bit, and then gave Michal, David's loving wife, to Palti, the son of Laish, from Gallim (I Samuel 25).
Michal certainly was loyal to David. The Bible tells us that when we marry, we leave our father and mother and cleave to our spouse, and we become one flesh (Gen. 2). Michal showed her great love for David, and her actions are a good example for us today; in an era when relationships are thought to be as disposable as anything else, she wanted a lasting love.
We'll finish our study of Michal tomorrow.