As a Biblical Hebrew teacher I meet a lot of students from all around the world that G-d created for us. One of the students that I meet every week in the Webinar is Michelle, whose Hebrew name is Michal. Today we are going to see the journey of this character in the Hebrew Bible. The first time that her character appears is in the book of Samuel as written:
"וַיִּהְיוּ בְּנֵי שָׁאוּל, יוֹנָתָן וְיִשְׁוִי וּמַלְכִּישׁוּעַ; וְשֵׁם, שְׁתֵּי בְנֹתָיו--שֵׁם הַבְּכִירָה מֵרַב, וְשֵׁם הַקְּטַנָּה מִיכַל"
"Now the sons of Saul were Jonathan and Ishvi and Malchi-shua; and the names of his two daughters were these: the name of the firstborn Merab and the name of the younger Michal."(1 Samuel 14:49)
Michal was the youngest daughter of the first king of the Israelites, Saul. After David killed Goliath, his older daughter Merab should have been his wife, but as we are about to read, she was given to someone else, and Michal was the one, who was the wife of David the warrior. The story with the two daughters of King Saul reveals to us a triangle of love as written in 1 Samuel 18:19-29-
"וַיְהִי, בְּעֵת תֵּת אֶת-מֵרַב בַּת-שָׁאוּל--לְדָוִד; וְהִיא נִתְּנָה לְעַדְרִיאֵל הַמְּחֹלָתִי, לְאִשָּׁה. וַתֶּאֱהַב מִיכַל בַּת-שָׁאוּל, אֶת-דָּוִד; וַיַּגִּדוּ לְשָׁאוּל, וַיִּשַׁר הַדָּבָר בְּעֵינָיו. וַיֹּאמֶר שָׁאוּל אֶתְּנֶנָּה לּוֹ, וּתְהִי-לוֹ לְמוֹקֵשׁ, וּתְהִי-בוֹ, יַד-פְּלִשְׁתִּים; וַיֹּאמֶר שָׁאוּל אֶל-דָּוִד, בִּשְׁתַּיִם תִּתְחַתֵּן בִּי הַיּוֹם. וַיְצַו שָׁאוּל אֶת-עֲבָדָו, דַּבְּרוּ אֶל-דָּוִד בַּלָּט לֵאמֹר, הִנֵּה חָפֵץ בְּךָ הַמֶּלֶךְ, וְכָל-עֲבָדָיו אֲהֵבוּךָ; וְעַתָּה, הִתְחַתֵּן בַּמֶּלֶךְ. וַיְדַבְּרוּ עַבְדֵי שָׁאוּל, בְּאָזְנֵי דָוִד, אֶת-הַדְּבָרִים, הָאֵלֶּה; וַיֹּאמֶר דָּוִד, הַנְקַלָּה בְעֵינֵיכֶם הִתְחַתֵּן בַּמֶּלֶךְ, וְאָנֹכִי, אִישׁ-רָשׁ וְנִקְלֶה. וַיַּגִּדוּ עַבְדֵי שָׁאוּל, לוֹ--לֵאמֹר: כַּדְּבָרִים הָאֵלֶּה, דִּבֶּר דָּוִד. וַיֹּאמֶר שָׁאוּל כֹּה-תֹאמְרוּ לְדָוִד, אֵין-חֵפֶץ לַמֶּלֶךְ בְּמֹהַר, כִּי בְּמֵאָה עָרְלוֹת פְּלִשְׁתִּים, לְהִנָּקֵם בְּאֹיְבֵי הַמֶּלֶךְ; וְשָׁאוּל חָשַׁב, לְהַפִּיל אֶת-דָּוִד בְּיַד-פְּלִשְׁתִּים. וַיַּגִּדוּ עֲבָדָיו לְדָוִד, אֶת-הַדְּבָרִים הָאֵלֶּה, וַיִּשַׁר הַדָּבָר בְּעֵינֵי דָוִד, לְהִתְחַתֵּן בַּמֶּלֶךְ; וְלֹא מָלְאוּ, הַיָּמִים. וַיָּקָם דָּוִד וַיֵּלֶךְ הוּא וַאֲנָשָׁיו, וַיַּךְ בַּפְּלִשְׁתִּים מָאתַיִם אִישׁ, וַיָּבֵא דָוִד אֶת-עָרְלֹתֵיהֶם, וַיְמַלְאוּם לַמֶּלֶךְ לְהִתְחַתֵּן בַּמֶּלֶךְ; וַיִּתֶּן-לוֹ שָׁאוּל אֶת-מִיכַל בִּתּוֹ, לְאִשָּׁה. וַיַּרְא שָׁאוּל וַיֵּדַע, כִּי יְהוָה עִם-דָּוִד; וּמִיכַל בַּת-שָׁאוּל, אֲהֵבַתְהוּ. וַיֹּאסֶף שָׁאוּל, לֵרֹא מִפְּנֵי דָוִד--עוֹד; וַיְהִי שָׁאוּל אֹיֵב אֶת-דָּוִד, כָּל-הַיָּמִים."
"So it came about at the time when Merab, Saul’s daughter, should have been given to David, that she was given to Adriel the Meholathite for a wife. Now Michal, Saul’s daughter, loved David. When they told Saul, the thing was agreeable to him. Saul thought, “I will give her to him that she may become a snare to him, and that the hand of the Philistines may be against him.” Therefore Saul said to David, “For a second time you may be my son-in-law today.” Then Saul commanded his servants, “Speak to David secretly, saying, ‘Behold, the king delights in you, and all his servants love you; now therefore, become the king’s son-in-law.’” So Saul’s servants spoke these words to David. But David said, “Is it trivial in your sight to become the king’s son-in-law, since I am a poor man and lightly esteemed?” The servants of Saul reported to him [n]according to these words which David spoke. Saul then said, “Thus you shall say to David, ‘the king does not desire any dowry except a hundred foreskins of the Philistines, to take vengeance on the king’s enemies.’” Now Saul planned to make David fall by the hand of the Philistines. When his servants told David these words, it pleased David to become the king’s son-in-law. Before the days had expired David rose up and went, he and his men, and struck down two hundred men among the Philistines. Then David brought their foreskins, and they gave them in full number to the king, that he might become the king’s son-in-law. So Saul gave him Michal his daughter for a wife. When Saul saw and knew that the LORD was with David, and that Michal, Saul’s daughter, loved him, then Saul was even more afraid of David. Thus Saul was David’s enemy continually."
In order to marry Michal David needed to face some obstacles: the first was the love of the older daughter, the same problem Jacob faced with Rachel and Leah; the second was the hatred and the jealousy of Saul. The outcome for the warrior is known, where David brings Saul the foreskins of two-hundred Philistines. He was then married to the one he loved, to Michal.
In the webinar that I gave on 10/5/12 I explained how Michal helped David to run away from the hands of Saul, who couldn’t stand the fact that there's a man whose people favored and admired more than him. Even his own daughter, Michal, preferred to defend David and to save him from the hand of his father and his messengers. Maybe that is the reason why we meet these words about Michal:
"וְשָׁאוּל נָתַן אֶת-מִיכַל בִּתּוֹ--אֵשֶׁת דָּוִד לְפַלְטִי בֶן-לַיִשׁ, אֲשֶׁר מִגַּלִּים"
"Now Saul had given Michal his daughter, David’s wife, to Palti the son of Laish, who was from Gallim."(1 Samuel 25:44)
Michal came back to the palace of King David after he became the king of all Israel. However, when she came back she was a different woman, a bitter one, as we can see how she mocked her husband when he was dancing with his people. The author told us that she couldn’t have a child with David until the end of her life, and this is a horrible destiny for the woman who saved her husband from her father's hands.
Would you like to learn more about other woman in the Hebrew Bible? Join us for our first Biblical Hebrew Summit that will take place on 24/5/12 8:00-11:00 P.M. (EDT time) and learn about Miriam, Aaron and Moses. The admission is free and all participants of the online conference will join a raffle for a chance to win a free Biblical Hebrew course from eTeacher. Don't miss this chance!
See you there, Eli