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Mary Elizabeth Baxter :: Michal, Saul’s Daughter—1 Samuel 18:20-30

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Through His servant Samuel, God had already anointed David as His chosen king over His people Israel. But the Spirit of the Lord had departed from Saul, and an evil spirit had gained possession of him.

David was of a beautiful countenance (1Sa 16:12), and the younger daughter of Saul lost her heart to him, yet it would seem that Michal was attracted far more by David's external appearance than by any appreciation of his godly life. Saul, under the influence of Satan as he was, made Michal's love to David serve his own ends, and promised her to him to wife if he should slay one hundred Philistines; and he sent his servants that they might commune with David and instigate him to purchase Michal for his wife by such a slaughter of the king's enemies. But in Saul's wicked heart there was, all the time, a hope that he would lose his life in the attempt. How little Saul knew the shield that was protecting God's chosen king, and that no power of his could take away the life which God chose to preserve!

David was pleased to be Saul's son‐in‐law; he saw God's hand at work to give him a claim to the kingdom. He arose with his men, slew two hundred Philistines instead of one, and so earned Michal to be his wife. At first she took her husband's side against her ungodly father, but in doing so, she betrayed the treachery of her heart, and when Saul sent to take David, she did not hesitate to tell a lie to screen him from Saul's anger. David's wife did not share his confidence in God. He had said, "Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me" (Psa 23:4); but Michal substituted human devices for faith in God. Hearing of her father's determination to slay David, she persuaded him to flee, and she let him down through a window, that he might escape. But Saul was not so easily to be put off; and when her father commanded that David should be brought to him, Michal was ready with her lie, and told Saul that he was sick.

Disappointed of his purpose, Saul commanded that the messengers should bring David up in the bed, that he might be slain, and the imperious king found that Michal had substituted an image on which he should wreak his vengeance and so she had mocked him.


A woman who will be untrue to her father will be untrue to her husband also. There was a want of integrity about Saul's daughter which followed her through life. The enmity of Saul against David increased, and David was obliged to flee. Then it was that Michal his wife was given to another, and she very soon forgot her first love. Michal's was no true woman's heart. Neither God nor David were all in all to her. There is, in the present day, especially amongst certain classes of our population, an appalling lightness about engagements to marry. One hears of a young couple engaged to be married, and for the merest trifle, this covenant, which ought to be made in heaven, is broken. "What God hath joined together let no man put asunder." (Mat 19:6.) The promise to spend life's journey together is no light promise to make, no light promise to keep, and, still more, no light promise to break. It should never be entered into by Christian young people without a clear understanding of the mind of God. One party may break it off very lightly while the heart of the other may be so wounded as never through life entirely to recover, unless the Lord Himself takes the place which has been left void by a heartless trifler.

On the Continent of Europe engagements are made public, and the families send circulars to their friends with the names of the engaged parties printed together, so that, for very shame, they are not lightly broken, as they often are in England and in America. If those who have pledged themselves to be all in all to one another can, for a whim, or in a moment of anger, break this pledge, it would be but a step further, after marriage has been solemnised, to be like Michal, and break the marriage tie itself. The facility of divorce in American society has become a scandal in the world.

Poor Michal had never recognised David as her king, nor Jehovah as her God. She had married to satisfy her own delight in David's appearance, or in his manner, or something which ministered to herself. No wonder, when David was no longer present, that her self‐seeking heart must find another attraction.

When, at last David became king, and demanded of Abner that he should restore Michal, Saul's daughter, whom he calls "my wife Michal, which I espoused to me" (2Sa 3:13-14), Ish‐bosheth and Abner took her from her husband, who "went along with her; weeping behind her." But there was no reconciliation between David and Michal; she was bitter against her first love; she never submitted to him as king; and when David brought up the Ark of the Lord, Michal appeared in her true character. She despised David in her heart, and mocked at his joy in the service of God.

Thus this woman who lived to herself had to live by herself, for, probably, she lived in solitary confinement until the day of her death. It is a sad history of a selfish woman, who never fulfilled her vocation as a helpmeet.


The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.


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