Have you heard of Michal? Michal was married to King David and in the Biblical book of 2 Samuel we read about a rather nasty fight they had.
David has been instrumental in returning the Ark of the Covenant to its rightful place in Jerusalem. He expresses his religious excitement with an exuberant dance and shares his joy by distributing bread to everyone. What a generous spiritual man!
Or so we’d think if we weren’t introduced to Michal who despises her husband and after watching him celebrating tells David his dancing is vulgar and shameful. David snaps a hurtful retort back at Michal. Their vicious spat can perhaps be explained by their dramatic marriage history.
Michal’s father King Saul gave her to David as a reward for killing Goliath. Later Saul tries to kill David and Michal saves David’s life.
David goes into hiding and Saul gives Michal to another man named Palti. He and Michal have such a good relationship that when David defeats Saul and insists on taking Michal back, her second husband is heart broken. Michal’s subsequent life in David’s harem is lonely and unhappy.
David was a great leader but many of his family relationships, like the one with Michal, are marked by bitterness, betrayal and anger.
Family relationships can be tricky and tough. Sometimes peace and forgiveness is almost impossible. But knowing our behaviors and choices have created pain for our families can taint our other accomplishments and diminish our happiness. Nelson Mandela once said his greatest regret was that his personal life was so unstable and that the political choices he made caused great pain for his family.
Michal and David’s hostile interaction in this 2 Samuel text is a good reminder that doing our best to heal brokenness in our families is important.