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Needed by kings and husbands.

2 Samuel 6:14–23 (ESV)

And David danced before the LORD with all his might. And David was wearing a linen ephod. So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the LORD with shouting and with the sound of the horn.

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. And they brought in the ark of the LORD and set it in its place, inside the tent that David had pitched for it. And David offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the LORD. 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 and distributed among all the people, the whole multitude of Israel, both men and women, a cake of bread, a portion of meat, and a cake of raisins to each one. Then all the people departed, each to his house.

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’ female servants, as one of the vulgar fellows shamelessly uncovers himself!” 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 celebrate before the LORD. I will make myself yet more contemptible than this, and I will be abased in your eyes. But by the female servants of whom you have spoken, by them I shall be held in honor.” And Michal the daughter of Saul had no child to the day of her death.

How beautiful it is that Michal can call David out like this—even if she is wrong. The next person to call David out harshly will be Nathan the prophet lighting into him about his sin with Bathsheba. People (especially kings) need advisors who can talk to them frankly, and husbands need wives like Michal.

But she’s mistaken about the appropriateness of David’s dancing; so he sets her straight.

Then comes the heartache—Michal is barren. This is tough, but the passage doesn’t say that the LORD did this, nor that He was angry with Michal. More importantly, Michal has been barren for years before this incident. The text could just as well have said that Michal remained childless to the day of her death.

Michal’s barrenness is context for this conversation, not a consequence.

Michal is one of the more interesting and sympathetic figures in the Bible. If her criticism of David is the worst thing she’s done, she’s quite a saint. As David’s first wife—the only one he paid a bride-price for—she is, by all rights, his queen. Her bold confrontation with David seems to confirm that status.

But it’s a touch too bold. There’s a hint of jealousy here. Why couldn’t she wait for a more appropriate time to pull him aside and express her concerns? What’s the rush?

Michal’s barrenness, combined with her great love for David, plus his many wives, has put her on edge.

These weekday DEEPs are written by Mike Slay. The Saturday ones are written by Matt Richardson. To subscribe click here:

The weekly study guides, which include questions for discussion or meditation, can be downloaded here:

Scripture taken from the English Standard Version. © Copyright 2001 by Crossway. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.

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