It’s always the cute boy playing the lyre (the modern day version of the cute boy playing the guitar)*. Michal fell hard for him. Maybe it was his ability to strum up sweet sounding tunes, or perhaps it was his eloquent speaking. The Scriptures don’t tell us what caused her to love this shepherd boy. But she did.
Her father, the king, didn’t share her fondness for young David. The relationship started out well enough. David would use his musical skills to soothe Saul’s spirit. But in time Saul saw this gifted young man as a little too gifted. He saw the hand of God on him and he feared that this lad might take his crown. He plotted to have him killed.
Saul hope to use the budding romance between David and Michal to solve his little problem. He’d send David off to get 100 foreskins from Philistines. Since foreskins aren’t something that the Philistines would readily give up, Saul figured that this would end in David’s death. Problem solved.
Only it wasn’t.
David returned with 200 foreskins. Michal must have been well-pleased with her warrior stud, sweeping her off her feet, and satisfying her daddy’s exorbitant bride price.
The honeymoon didn’t last long. Saul continued to be obsessed with taking David’s life. (And you thought you had in-law problems). Things get so bad for the newlyweds that Michal had to betray her father, lower her husband down a window, and let him run off into a local shepherds camp.
We hear nothing more of Michal until the end of 1 Samuel when we read that “Saul had given Michal…to Palti the son of Laish, who was of Gallim”. She likely hadn’t seen her husband for a lengthy period of time. Since a single woman of marriageable age does little good sitting at home, Saul has her married off to another dude. End of love story.
Only it wasn’t.
It seems that David still had at least some attachment to Michal. For in 2 Samuel 6 we read that David requested to have his wife Michal return to him. Her new husband, Palti, isn’t cool with this. He follows her back weeping the whole way. Is this a preview of things to come? Has her heart moved on?
The next we hear of Michal is 2 Samuel 6. This is the chapter by which she is most known. It is here that she will “despise Dave in her heart” and greet him with dripping sarcasm. The exchange will leave her barren—whether through the Lord’s judgment or David’s own response the text doesn’t say.
Something about this story is rattling my heart. I think it’s the coldness of 2 Samuel 6:16. A woman that is once in love staring out the window at her husband with disdain in her heart. There is a story there. What were the steps that led to this? Was it the competition with David’s other wives? Had she fallen for Palti and forgotten about David? Is she reluctantly in his castle—despising him for taking her back by muscle?
We don’t really know. What we do know is that there is something about those robes that David is wearing. These are the last straw. Her undignified husband is all her embittered heart can take. Staring out that window her heart takes an icy form.
Something else in this story cries out to me. That “shameful” man, that evokes such disdain, is pointing to the greater David. David’s son, many generations later, will evoke the same emotion when he trades the royal robes of heaven for the garments of the common man.
The same thing that has Michal appalled is the same thing that will cause others to respond with an icy heart. “How can he eat with such sinners?” King’s aren’t supposed to act this way. They aren’t supposed to touch lepers, wash dirty feet, be bathed in the tears of a whore. That’s undignified.
Am I Michal? Can my heart run so cold? Is it possible that I could look out my window and see joyous worship and despise the work of the Lord? Surely not without the Spirit’s rebuke. But I feel it. I feel that same icy heart somewhere within.
A King becoming a mere man, a run of the mill priest. It’s offensive. Would my Jesus go there? Would he do that? Will my theology let the King of kings be one of the ‘vulgar fellows’? Will I allow myself to be shocked by how far He’ll stoop to exalt the Holy One? Or do I require a more dignified King?
As I mull over this story I’m left to wonder what happened to her heart. How did it grow so cold? How did she go from being in love with a handsome guitar playing shepherd boy, and now despising him when he is a king?
“But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first.”
Lord Jesus, melt the ice.
*This is, by the way, the first and last time that a post will begin referencing a cute boy playing a guitar.