Michal Speaks

photo of woman leaning on rock

“Every man in my life should have protected me and loved me, but instead they wounded me and used me!” The words sounded like a growl with bitterness and self-pity pouring through each syllable.  “Your precious David was the worst.  All he ever wanted was to leverage his ambitions by marrying the king’s daughter.  My father was a fool, who in his twisted thinking, imagined I would betray the man I thought I loved.  And then, when he managed to run David off, he gave me to another man.”

“Oh, I was such a fool.  I was only a girl but I admired my father.  He was handsome and strong; he was THE KING!  I did not know then that he was weak and insane.  When David started coming to the palace to play his harp for my father I watched him from a distance.  He was beautiful, young, strong, and so alive.  I don’t think he ever even knew I loved him from the first time I laid eyes on him.”

“Then he killed Goliath, when my father was afraid to face the giant.  My father’s weakness disgusted me, embarrassed me.  I had a foolish crush on David and it was as if I transferred all my admiration from my father to him because he was such a brave warrior. The events that led up to our marriage confused me.  It should have been my older sister, but somehow my father offered me to David.  I was ecstatic, until it seemed that I was just a pawn in some competition between the two. Still, he was my husband, and in my childish mind I dreamed that he loved me and that he would take me away from all the craziness that ruled the palace.”

“When I realized that my father wanted to use me to kill David I was beside myself with fear.  I hid him and protected him. I did a good job too! David escaped unharmed, and I was sure he would come back for me.  I knew he would love me after I risked my own life to help him. After all, he was my husband!” She cried; tears poured down her cheeks as she remembered.

Wiping her eyes angrily, she went on. “But NOOOOO.  He never looked back.  He never had a thought for me and he left me there at the mercy of my father’s crazy jealousy.  To spite David, Saul gave me to Paltiel and I never heard another word from David…for years.  At least I was at peace with Paltiel; he treated me with love and respect.  I determined to give the love I had for David to the man who gave me love in return.  I hardened my heart to my yearnings, and my love for David turned to scorn.”

“Then one day messengers arrived and announced that David had become the King of Israel.  They were to return me to him.  They said he ordered my brother to bring ‘my wife Michal, for whom I paid the bridal price of a hundred foreskins of the Philistines.'” Again, her voice turned to gravel as she snarled the words.  “All he thought of was that he had paid for me!  Not that he loved me, or that he missed me and wanted me with him.  Oh no, he was using me again, just like before.  But I saw through it this time.  He needed to placate any enemies who still sided with my father.  He used Ishbosheth, my brother, and he also used me to gain influence and unite the kingdom under him.”

“Paltiel followed me almost all the way, crying and pleading with the men to let me go back with him.  But they had no power to make that decision.  He had no choice, unless he wanted to die fighting David for me.  We all knew what that would end like so he left me.”

“I tolerated David as long as I could.  I was afraid of him and I loathed him—him and his god.  He loved his god, but what did that do for me?  I did not need his god; I had my own household gods.  I could not see that one was much better than the other was.  And when I saw him disgracing himself, dancing and worshiping with the common people, I was repulsed.  David, the man who had used me and never loved nor respected me, came waltzing into the palace so full of himself.  I told him what I thought of him…and I was never in his presence again.

“He banished me,” she said with a bitter laugh, “but I had banished him from my heart years before.”  Michal raised a dark gaze to the sky as if to implicate God in her misery.  Then she mused as if talking to herself, “If David’s god was so great, why is it that the only thing he ever gave me was hatred and bitterness?”

I Samuel 18—19, 2 Samuel 3:12-16, 6:12-23; I Chronicles 15—16