Monday, June 30, 2014

A Woman Taken…

An (imaginary) interview with Michal; King David’s first wife
So how did you two meet?
1 Samuel 18:20 And Michal, Saul’s daughter loved David; and they told Saul, and the thing pleased him.
How did he propose to you?
1 Samuel 18:25 And Saul said, “Thus shall ye say to David, the king desires not any dowry, but an hundred foreskins of the Philistines, to be avenged of the kings enemies. But Saul thought to make David fall by the hand of the Philistines
26 And when his servants told David these words, it pleased David well to be the king’s son in law; and the days were not expired.
27 Wherefore David arose and went, he and his men, and slew of the Philistines two hundred men; and David brought their foreskins, and gave them in full tale to the king, that he might be the king’s son in law. And Saul gave him Michal his daughter to wife.
So King Saul “sold” his daughter Michal into marriage to David for 100 foreskins, wow what a romantic. But as fate would have it, their marriage was doomed from the start. The problem was that Saul, David’s father in law, had a death wish for David. The unlikely couple had to separate one evening after a family dinner when Saul tried to “pin” David to a wall with his spear.  
1 Samuel 19:10 And Saul sought to smite David, even to the wall with the javelin; but he slipped away out of Saul’s presence, and he smote the javelin into the wall; and David fled and escaped that night.
Unfortunately this would be the last time the two star crossed lovers would see each other again, until years later when David was finally crowned King.
1 Samuel 19:11 Saul also sent messengers unto David’s house, to watch him and to slay him in the morning; and Michal, David’s wife told him, saying “If thou save not thy life tonight, tomorrow thou shall be slain.
12 So Michal let David down through a window; and he went and fled and escaped. 
So enough about Michal, this is really a story about her future sister-wife, Bath-sheba. I wanted to point out a pattern of these two women and their relationship to David. A bit of trivia, it is noted that Michal, who seems to be one of a handful of the most fully realized women in the Old Testament, actually has a “speaking part” with the men in her life. Michal has an older sister and she was originally promised to David.  But if you dig hard enough, there was probably an unspoken sisterly rival. The older sister was married off to another of Saul’s political allies and Michal, just like Marsha’s little sister Jan in the Brady Bunch, got to marry the one they both “loved”. In 1 Samuel 18:20, it says that Saul’s daughter loved David. This is the only time we find in this record regarding David and his “many wives and concubine” that anyone else said “I love you David”.  

The story of David and Bath-sheba is a very sad story and we know the sordid details, so I won’t rehash them here. But I would like to “coax out” just who Bath-sheba is and who she is not. 
  • So who was she: she was a “daughter” of one David’s most loyal and mighty men; of “The Thirty”.  His name was Eliam.
  • She was the “grand daughter” of Ahitophel, one of David’s chief advisors.
  • She was the “wife” of Uriah the Hittite who was also one of David’s most trusted generals and I dare say a comrade in arms. David could have been his best man at his wedding to Bath-sheba.  
  • She was of the tribe of Judah, she was family. You can assume that David had probably come in contact with her during her life as a baby and a young girl.
  • She was a young woman; probably newly married to Uriah, with no children yet. She was a war bride, waiting for her husband to come home from the many battles he fought.
  • She was a house wife; she missed her husband. She was obedient to those in authority over her, like the king. She has probably known him and maybe regards him as an Uncle or another father figure. She trusts him that way.
 So then why was she bathing on her roof, where God and everyone could see her? Here is another interesting tidbit of ancient life; nudity, even public nudity was not the hang up that it is in our times. Although in our time, you would hardly know it with all of the fashion that does little to cover the body. Also, she lived in Jerusalem, a crowed place, where everyone lived almost “on top of one another”. It is the New York of the ancient’s. So for her to take a bath on the roof was a normal thing and there may have been an area designated just for that purpose.  
2 Samuel 11:1-4 
1 And it came to pass, after the year was expired, at the time when kings go forth to battle, that David sent Joab and his servants with him and all Israel; and they destroyed the children of Ammon and besieged Rabbah. But David tarried still at Jerusalem.
And it came to pass in an evening tide that David arose from his bed and walked upon the roof of the king’s house. And from the roof he saw a woman washing herself, and the woman was very beautiful to look upon
And David sent and inquired after the woman. And one said, “Is not this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?”
And David sent messengers, and took her; and she came in unto him, and he lay with her, for she was purified from her uncleanness; and she returned unto her house.
Look at this language: "and took her". Did these messengers knock at the front door? Did they just barge in and even while she was trying to put on a robe, did they just drag her out of her own home?  Does David remind one of Saul?  What happened with Michal, the first missus?

video courtesy of the "Bible Mini Series"

After David escaped from Michal’s room, he fled and Michal and David did not see each other again.
This is David’s pattern: in 1 Samuel 25:43-44
43 David also took Ahinoam of Jezreel; and they were also both of them his wives.
44But Saul had given Michal his daughter, David’s wife, to Phaltithe son of Laish, which was of Gallim.

So King Saul decided to put an end to David and Michal’s marriage and she married a man named Phaltithe. I know, the question is, why didn't David send for Michal? They could have been like Bonnie and Clyde or worse Romeo and Juliet. During his exile, David married two other women, but I have the feeling that he married these women for their "wealth", David was a poor man. Who brings 200 Philistine foreskins as a bride price? So, in 2 Samuel 3:12-16, after more than 10 years on the run, David finally sends for Michal. I don't know if this was a political maneuver because her brother Ish-bosheth still occupied Saul's throne or was it a protective maneuver because David promised  Saul that he would protect his surviving children. What ever it was, it wasn't the reunion you would expect.
14 And David sent messengers to Ish-bosheth Saul's son, saying : Deliver me my wife Michal, which I espoused to me for an hundred foreskins of the Philistines.
15 And Ishbosheth sent and took her from her husband, even Phaltiel the son of Laish.
16 And her husband went with her along weeping behind her to Bahurim. Then said Abner unto him: Go, return. And he returned.
Look, in verse 15, "and he took her". I don't think this went over well. do you think that David was aware of her marriage to Phaltiel? Did he disregard this information, like he disregarded Uriah the Hittite? I imagine that Michal and her husband did not go quietly. And her husband, bless his heart, followed after her, hysterical and weeping. The writing style of the record of "Bathsheba", seems to "suppress" the voice of Bathsheba. Some have suggested that she came willingly, or she was complicit in the "seduction". I don't think so. There is a record of David's son and daughter Tamar and Amnon that begs to differ.
But later we hear from Michal for the last time, in 2 Samuel 6:16 And as the ark of the Lord came into the city of David, Michal, Saul's daughter looked through a window, and saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord: and she despised him in her heart. You bet there was a big fight later that evening.This was the last time Michal would be able to speak what was on her heart, and she paid dearly for it, but maybe it gave her a level of vindication. Maybe she spoke what a few of Davids other wives felt, maybe these words and this argument vindicated Bathsheba also.
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