Michal (/mɪˈxɑːl/; Hebrew: מיכל [miˈχal]) was,
according to the first Book of Samuel, the younger daughter of Saul,
king of Israel, who loved and became the first wife of David, (1
Samuel 18:20–27) who later became king of Judah, and later still of
the united Kingdom of Israel.
1 In the Bible
2 Legality of second marriage
Michal in poetry
4 Use as a name
In the Bible
1 Samuel 14:49 identifies Saul's elder daughter as
Merab and younger
daughter as Michal. Michal's story is recorded in the first Book of
Samuel, where it is said in 1 Samuel 18:20 and 18:28 that
David. The narrative does not indicate whether this is
reciprocated. After his success in battle against the Philistine
Merab was given in marriage to Adriel.
Merab had married
Adriel the Meholathite,
David to marry Michal.
David replied, "I am a poor and lightly
esteemed man", meaning that he was unable to provide a bride price.
Saul then advised him that no bride price was required except for the
foreskins of 100 Philistines.
David took part in a further battle,
killed 200 Philistines, and brought their foreskins to
Saul as a
double bride price.
In the biblical narrative,
Michal chooses the welfare of
the wishes of her father. When Saul's messengers search for
order to kill him,
Michal sends them away while pretending he is ill
and laid up in bed. She lets
David down through a window and hides
teraphim in his bed as a ruse. J. Cheryl Exum points out that
although she risked her life in helping him, after he leaves the
court, he makes no attempt to contact her.
David was hiding for his life,
Michal as a wife to
Palti, son of Laish, and
David took several other wives, including
Abigail. Later, when
David became king of Judah and Ish-bosheth
(Michal's brother, and Saul's son) was king of Israel,
her return to him in return for peace between them. Ish-bosheth
complied, despite the public protests of Palti. Robert Alter
observes that by stressing that he had paid the requested bride price,
David makes a legal argument as a political calculation to reinforce
his legitimacy as a member of the Royal house. Alter notes the
contrast between David's measured negotiations and Palti's public
Michal was returned to David, she criticised him for dancing in
an undignified manner, as he brought the
Ark of the Covenant
Ark of the Covenant to the
Jerusalem in a religious procession. For this she is
punished, according to Samuel, with not having children till the day
she dies  Unlike
Abigail and Bathsheba,
Michal is not described as
being beautiful, though Rabbinic tradition holds that she was of
Legality of second marriage
These events have raised moral issues within Judaism, especially in
the context of the prohibition in Deuteronomy 24:1–4. On the one
hand, some argue that it is prohibited to re-establish a marriage with
a previous spouse who has subsequently remarried. On the other hand,
other commentators explain that
David had not divorced
Michal at this
point in time, but rather
Saul acted to break their marriage by
marrying her off to another without David's consent. On that view,
they were not technically divorced as
David had not issued a writ of
divorcement according to biblical law.
It is unclear whether
Michal died barren and childless, as stated in 2
Samuel 6:23, or had children, as described in most manuscripts of
2 Samuel 21:8, which mention "the five sons of
Michal the daughter of
Gill attempted to resolve the contradiction by translating 2 Samuel
21:8 as "the five sons of
Michal the daughter of Saul, whom she
brought up for
Adriel the son of Barzillai the Meholathite". Now,
Merab, Michal's older sister, was the wife of
Adriel (1 Samuel 18:19).
According to Gill, these five sons were not born to
Michal but were
brought up or educated by her after
Merab perhaps had died; i.e.,
Merab brought them forth, and
Michal brought them up.  However,
the Hebrew word, ילדה, which Gill understands to mean "brought
up," everywhere else means "gave birth to."
Michal in poetry
Georg Christian Lehms
Georg Christian Lehms published in
Hanover the novel Die
Michal und der verfolgte
David ('The hapless
David pursued', based on the Biblical story.
In her poem "Michal", the Israeli poet
Ra'hel Bluwstein draws a
parallel between the speaker and Michal:
"Like you I am sad, O
Michal ... and like you doomed to love a man
whom I despise." (Poem "Michal" in her book Flowers of Perhaps.)
Use as a name
"Michal" was one of the Biblical names embraced by Zionism, very
rarely found in pre-Zionist communities. It is a very common female
first name in contemporary Israel.
Although possessing an identical or almost identical spelling when
using the Latin alphabet, the Czech and
Slovak language "Michal" and
Polish language "Michał" (popular male given names) are the local
forms of "Michael" rather than of "Michal". This can be compared to
French spelling "Michel", which is also a local form of "Michael".
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Michal.
^ Ellen White, "
Michal the Misinterpreted," JSOT 31.4  451 –
^ In 1 Samuel 18:26,
David is "pleased ... to become the king’s
son-in-law" but we are not told whether he was pleased to have married
Michal. See Cohen, M., "The Transparency of Saul", European Judaism,
volume 39, no. 1, 2006, for a comparison of the transparent
Saul and the opaqueness of David's character in 1
^ a b Exum, J. Cheryl. "Michal: Bible." Jewish Women: A Comprehensive
Historical Encyclopedia. 20 March 2009. Jewish Women's Archive
^ 1 Samuel 25:43–44
^ 2 Samuel 3:13–16
^ Alter, Robert (1981). "Characterization and the Art of Reticence".
The Art of Biblical Narrative. London: George Allen & Unwin.
^ 2 Samuel 6:14–22
^ 2 Samuel 6:23
^ Ginzberg, Louis. "The Family of David". The Legends of the Jews –
^ Though the Book of Deuteronomy attributes itself to the period of
the Hebrews' Exodus from Egypt, many historians regard it as having
been actually written during the late monarchy. David's appearing to
be oblivious to the prohibition laid down in it seems additional
evidence in support of such theories.
^ The New International Version of the bible uses
Merab from two
Hebrew and some Septuagint manuscripts but cites that most manuscripts
^ See John Gill commentary on 2 Samuel 21 Archived 2011-08-07 at the