Monday, 26 June 2006


Michal (Hebrew: מיכל) was a daughter of King Saul in the Hebrew Bible, who loved and married David. Their story is recorded in the Book of Samuel. In I Samuel chapter 19, she chooses the welfare of her husband over the wishes of her father. When Saul's messengers are searching for David in order to kill him, Michal secretly sends David away while pretending he is ill and laid up in bed. Whilst David is hiding for his life, Saul gives Michal as a wife to Phaltiel (also called Phalti) son of Laish, who gives her five sons, and David takes several other wives including Abigail.

Despite an apparent prohibition in Deuteronomy 24:1-4 on re-establishing a marriage with a previous spouse who has subsequently remarried, David does however ask for Michal after he is crowned in Judah following Saul's death. Phaltiel follows her weeping but is powerless to prevent her from leaving him.

Gustave Doré, 1865, Michal helps young David escape.
"So Michal let David down through a window: and he went, and fled, and escaped". Samuel 1, chapter 19, 12

And David sent messengers to Ishbosheth, Saul's son, saying, 'Deliver me my wife Michal, which I espoused to me for an hundred foreskins of the Philistines.'
And Ishbosheth sent, and took her from her husband, even from Phaltiel the son of Laish.
And her husband went with her along weeping behind her to Bahurim. Then said Abner unto him, 'Go, return.' and he returned.
(II Samuel 3:14-16, King James Version)

In II Samuel 6, Michal comes to despise David because he dances, partially unclothed in public, before the Lord in a religious procession. While the entire house of Israel was involved in the event of bringing the ark of the covenant back to Jerusalem, Michal watched from the window. The story implies that Michal thinks this activity is beneath a king, and would cause him to lose the respect of his subjects. The account is linked in the narrative with her inability to have any more children for the rest of her life.

David would be succeeded by Solomon, a son of Bathsheba.

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