The Books of Samuel describe the beginning of kingship in Israel and the reigns of the first two kings, Saul and David.
The young David rises to power by undermining and then opening warring with King Saul. He is helped by Michal, Saul’s own daughter, who loves David so passionately she is prepared to betray her own father to save David’s life.
The story does not end happily. Once in power, David repudiates Michal. She ends up in a back room of the royal harem – unloved and forgotten.
Michal Marries David
1 Samuel 18:17-29
17 Then Saul said to David, “Here is my elder daughter Merab; I will give her to you for a wife; only be valiant for me and fight the LORD’S battles.” For Saul thought, “Let not my hand be upon him, but let the hand of the Philistines be upon him.”
18 And David said to Saul, “Who am I, and who are my kinsfolk, my father’s family in Israel, that I should be son-in-law to the king?” 19 But at the time when Merab, Saul’s daughter, should have been given to David, she was given to A’driel the Meho’lathite for a wife.
20 Now Saul’s daughter Michal loved David; and they told Saul, and the thing pleased him. 21 Saul thought, “Let me give her to him, that she may be a snare for him, and that the hand of the Philistines may be against him.” Therefore Saul said to David a second time, “You shall now be my son-in-law.”
22 And Saul commanded his servants, “Speak to David in private and say, ‘Behold, the king has delight in you, and all his servants love you; now then become the king’s son-in-law.'”
23 And Saul’s servants spoke those words in the ears of David. And David said, “Does it seem to you a little thing to become the king’s son-in-law, seeing that I am a poor man and of no repute?” 24 And the servants of Saul told him, “Thus and so did David speak.”
Philistine warriors captured by the Egyptians, from the wall relief at Medinet Habu
25 Then Saul said, “Thus shall you say to David, ‘The king desires no marriage present except a hundred foreskins of the Philistines, that he may be avenged of the king’s enemies.'” Now 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.
Before the time had expired, 27 David arose and went, along with his men, and killed two hundred of the Philistines; and David brought their foreskins, which were given in full number to the king, that he might become the king’s son-in-law.
And Saul gave him his daughter Michal for a wife. 28 But when Saul saw and knew that the LORD was with David, and that all Israel loved him, 29 Saul was still more afraid of David. So Saul was David’s enemy continually.
Michal Rescues David From Death
1 Samuel 19:8-18
David Plays the Lyre for Saul, Rembrandt
8 And there was war again; and David went out and fought with the Philistines, and made a great slaughter among them, so that they fled before him.
9 Then an evil spirit from the LORD came upon Saul, as he sat in his house with his spear in his hand; and David was playing the lyre. 10 And Saul sought to pin David to the wall with the spear; but he eluded Saul, so that he struck the spear into the wall.
And David fled, and escaped.
11 That night Saul sent messengers to David’s house to watch him, that he might kill him in the morning. But Michal, David’s wife, told him, “If you do not save your life tonight, tomorrow you will be killed.”
Michal lets David down through the window
12 So Michal let David down through the window; and he fled away and escaped.
13 Michal took an image and laid it on the bed and put a pillow of goats’ hair at its head, and covered it with the clothes. 14 And when Saul sent messengers to take David, she said, “He is sick.” 15 Then Saul sent the messengers to see David, saying, “Bring him up to me in the bed, that I may kill him.” 16 And when the messengers came in, behold, the image was in the bed, with the pillow of goats’ hair at its head.
17 Saul said to Michal, “Why have you deceived me thus, and let my enemy go, so that he has escaped?” And Michal answered Saul, “He said to me, ‘Let me go; why should I kill you?'” 18 Now David fled and escaped, and he came to Samuel at Ramah, and told him all that Saul had done to him. And he and Samuel went and dwelt at Nai’oth.
Michal Marries Patriel
1 Samuel 25:44
44 Saul had given Michal his daughter, David’s wife, to Palti the son of La’ish, who was of Gallim.
David Forces Michal to Return to Him
2 Samuel 3:12-16
12 And Abner sent messengers to David at Hebron, saying, “To whom does the land belong? Make your covenant with me, and behold, my hand shall be with you to bring over all Israel to you.”
13 And he said, “Good; I will make a covenant with you; but one thing I require of you; that is, you shall not see my face, unless you first bring Michal, Saul’s daughter, when you come to see my face.”
Michel is taken from Paltiel
14 Then David sent messengers to Ish-bo’sheth Saul’s son, saying, “Give me my wife Michal, whom I betrothed at the price of a hundred foreskins of the Philistines.”
15 And Ish-bo’sheth sent, and took her from her husband Pal’ti-el the son of La’ish.
16 But her husband went with her, weeping after her all the way to Bahu’rim. Then Abner said to him, “Go, return”; and he returned.
Michal Scorns David
2 Samuel 6:16-23
16 As the ark of the LORD came into the city of David, Michal the daughter of Saul looked out of the window, and saw King David leaping and dancing before the LORD; and she despised him in her heart.
17 And they brought in the ark of the LORD, and set it in its place, inside the tent which David had pitched for it; and David offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the LORD.
18 And when David had finished offering the burnt offerings and the peace offerings, he blessed the people in the name of the LORD of hosts,
19 and distributed among all the people, the whole multitude of Israel, both men and women, to each a cake of bread, a portion of meat, and a cake of raisins. Then all the people departed, each to his house.
The Ark of the Covenant, Tissot
20 And David returned to bless his household. But Michal the daughter of Saul came out to meet David, and said, “How the king of Israel honored himself today, uncovering himself today before the eyes of his servants’ maids, as one of the vulgar fellows shamelessly uncovers himself!”
21 And David said to Michal, “It was before the LORD, who chose me above your father, and above all his house, to appoint me as prince over Israel, the people of the LORD–and I will make merry before the LORD.
22 I will make myself yet more contemptible than this, and I will be abased in your eyes; but by the maids of whom you have spoken, by them I shall be held in honor.”
23 And Michal the daughter of Saul had no child to the day of her death.