11 Feb 2018

There was a national event, and David was the king. “All the house of Israel” came out to join the king in his historic national celebration to bring the ark of his God, their God, into the capital city of Jerusalem.“All” were present, except the queen. She stayed back at home to observe and judge from her elevated window. From there, she looked down at everyone else, including the king her husband, showing little respect or appreciation for any of those who had come out to support her husband the king. 

15 So David and ALL the house of Israel brought up the ark of the LORD with shouting, and with the sound of the trumpet.

16 And as the ark of the LORD came into the city of David, Michal Saul's daughter looked through a window, and saw king David leaping and dancing before the LORD; and she despised him in her heart (2 Samuel 6:15-16).

The queen’s response to the national joy was disgust for her husband. She seemed very unhappy with what everyone else in the nation celebrated. She despised him whom the whole land honoured. The sounds of joy pained her mystery ears. She probably wished it was her father Saul at the centre of those glamours that day, not the lucky shepherd boy who had missed his way into the throne. If that were the case, then she was still attached to her father’s house, not her husband, which was probably why she was always looking out of the window instead of into her house. If “all the house” came out except she, then maybe she did not consider herself as part of that “house” at the head of which her husband danced.

According to The Living Bible, she was filled with contempt for him.” This is how the Encarta soft dictionary describescontempt: an “attitude of utter disgust or hatred; a powerful feeling of dislike toward somebody or something considered to be worthless, inferior, or underserving of respect.” Michal was “filled” to the brim with that feeling towards her husband the king – for bringing God’s ark into the city.

After the party, attended by “all,” including the priests of God as well as nobles and commoners, the king proceeded to bless his congregation and to give souvenirs of food and drinks to those participants. Since his wife had been absent from the event, he thought to take some gifts to her; he carried fresh and potent blessings with which also “to bless his own family,” “his household” (New Living translation; New International Version).

He headed home in the excitements of the moment. Coincidentally, the woman was also stepping out to meet him. They met at the door, or out in the open street, but the shock welcome greeting he got from her was a premeditated verbalisation of the spite she had been carrying in the secrecy of her heart, which she had earlier silently spewed down at him from her high window, un-witnessed by the outer world of unmindful happy dancers. Now you may read the story for yourself:

18 Then he blessed the people in the name of the Lord of heaven 19 and gave a present to everyone – men and women alike – of a loaf of bread, some wine, and a cake of raisins. When it was all over, and everyone had gone home, 20 David returned to bless his family.

But Michal came out to meet him and EXCLAIMED in DISGUST, “How glorious the king of Israel looked today!” He exposed himself to the girls along the street like a common pervert!”(The Living Bible). 

According to the New Living Translation, she said he was shamelessly exposing himself to the servant girls like any vulgar person might do!" (v.20). In other words, she said that he was shameless, he was vulgar, he was a commoner; that he was a pervert, a depraved person, someone immoral who leads others astray, someone of unacceptable sexual behaviour. She accused him with “the girls along the street” – street girls.

She did not speak those deadly words to him in the privacy of a bedroom; she said them “out” there in the street where she had met him, probably in the presence of some of those whom he had recently blessed with a benediction and some food, who were still trying to find their way back home through the traffic of the great national event. As a king hardly goes about alone in public, not especially on a day like that, David must have had his retinue of protocols when the wife thus confronted him. She did not respectfully keep her voice down as she made her case. She “exclaimed” loud enough so that everyone might hear her views. So senselessly did she put up her show before his foreign and local dignitaries as well as other routine palace attendants. Michal was not one to ‘hide’ her feelings. She was unused to the civility of managing her “disgust” even in the public. She often ‘spoke her mind and damned the consequences!’ That day, the world witnessed a tip of the horror that the king had secretly and silently been enduing in his palace.

The conclusion of the story is that God finally got so displeased with her manners that He made her barren for life. God did not kill her, but left her alive to daily see her uselessness and shame in the palace, in the face of other ‘handmaids’ whose little princes and princesses filled the palace with their cherry sounds. My worry is elsewhere. If she could not join “all” other Israelites to dance the ark of God into Jerusalem, then she had not been in support of the mission, whatever her excuses had been. That she was not in support of her husband is further displayed in how she despised him firstly in the privacy of her heart, and next in the public eye. She never waited with her worries until he got home, but often preferred to go “out” to confront him wherever she met him. She prided herself in not knowing ‘how to hold back.’

If she could speak privately and publicly in such disdainful derogatory manner not only about her husband but also about the “handmaids” (some of them probably other men’s wives) who had come out sincerely and innocently to join their king in the dance before the Lord, she probably did not think highly of those women; she probably marked them ever thereafter with a strange tag. You might wish to give that a name.

If she did not support the husband on that mission, if she despised him in her heart while he did the mission, if she castigated some of those who joined in the celebration of the event, I doubt if she thought any better of the priests of God who received the recurrent sacrifices that the despised husband offered to God along that path. In other words, she must have, in her heart and by her deeds, opposed ‘handmaidens’ and priests alike, and everyone who gave any helping hand towards the success of the project. She would have been happier that it failed. She would have felt much vindicated if David had had an accident in the way. She was more inclined to the enemies of her husband’s passionate missions– those who worked tirelessly to see things flop. In other words, she hated his friends and helpers, but loved his enemies. Whoever danced too close was a suspect, whether chorister or minster.On whose side was such a queen who could be so unhappy with what made God and “all” God’s people so happy? On God’s side or the other?

If she were pleased with the outreach, would she have stayed back home to scrutinize so as to pick faults so as to criticize? She probably was playing out the script of the secret paternal mandate that had planted her in the palace: “that she may be a snare[a trap] to him, and that the hand of the Philistines may be against him (1 Samuel 18:21). Did she never help David? Once she did, when she saved him from assassins posted from her father (1 Samuel 19:14-15). She seemed to have saved him once then to win his trust to let down his guards so as to permanently ruin him in the future. That seemed an intelligent part of the plot, the cover-up, the snare. She was a virus from a passing phase subtly introduced into the coming phase, to crash the system at an opportune future date. She was an agenda from a demonic stock; from a father whose lifegot overtaken by an evil spirit after he had grieved off the Holy Spirit (1 Samuel 16:14). Strangely, David also was an Agenda – from God the heavenly Father. When agenda met with Agenda, one gave way.

How did David get into that wrestling (or wedding) ring, in the first place? If he were truly a man of God, shouldn’t he have known from the beginning? I shall ask the Father when I see Him.

My further worry is this: Should David have been dancing unto the Lord in public when his wife was not pleased at home? David was a preacher, who should have known that “two are better than one” (even though I am unable to tell which “two,” whether two pastors, two sisters, a father and a son, a husband and a wife, a friend and an enemy…). King David should have known better how to secure a wife’s support before going out to minister to God, especially on a project of such magnitude. Did God accept the sacrifices of a man whose wife was not in support of his service to God? Did God accept the services of a man who lacked the partnership of his wife, whatever his excuses for not securing her pleasure and partnership? Maybe God did, which was why He smote her with irreversible barrenness for poking her pestilent nose into His savoury sacrifices (2 Samuel 6:23). David was her spouse, but he was God’s priest, not her stool.

That day, every other person got a blessing, but one attracted a curse, or a blessing that converted into a curse in the same way as God converts curses into blessings (Deuteronomy 23:5; Nehemiah 13:2). The judgment did not become instantly manifest; a divine ‘silence’ that might have continued to strengthen the arrogant voice. Eventually, however, it was an inconcealable national scandal. It had been a post-dated curse.

Who was David’s mentor in this audacious step? Probably Papa Abram, who dared to proceed on a trip to sacrifice Isaac in obedience to a voice of God that he alone had heard, when his wife’s consent and pleasure had not been secured (Genesis 22:1-3). I even wonder that God was with him on a great mission such as that, unaccompanied by his queen. David probably also looked up to Job that shut his ears to his wife who told him in no mistaken terms that he was alone in his persistent sacrificial commitments to a God who, she said, deserved not his continued services but a terminal blasphemy. She would rather be a widow, she threatened (Job 2:9). Probably David’s creed was this: “If you must please every man before you please God, you will please neither God nor man.”

My thoughts return to David: could he ever have brought that ark into Jerusalem if he had been awaiting that queen’s pleasure? I have a great problem thinking that he could have. How much service, then, might a priest proceed to offer without the Amen of Michal the Snare? I have often worried that God should slam a one-count charge on Eve for eating the fruit, but slam a two-count charge on Adam primarily that he “hearkened unto the voice of [his]wife,” and only secondarily for eating the forbidden fruit he received from his wife (Genesis 3:16-17). Should not a good husband have hearkened unto the voice of his wife? I dare not question God, but maybe Adam was adjudged to have hearkened unto the voice of the Serpent when he hearkened unto the voice of a woman who had been harkening unto the voice of the Serpent.

I was lately told of a pastor whose wife would wait until Sunday morning, and then she would say to him, “If you do not buy me new shoes this morning, you are not going to church.” Sometimes in the scuffle, she would drench him with a bucket of water, and he would still proceed to church in those wet clothes. At times, she woke him up in the middle of night demanding to eat chicken, which had to be sought. On some occasions, she took the scene into the public court of the streets on Sunday mornings, hooting her blackmail behind him, “Shameless pastor who cannot provide for his household! The Bible says if any man does not provide for his family he is worse than an infidel. O-o- shameless infidel!” He still would proceed to church, like another whose wife bathed him not with water but with red palm oil.

I thought about David when I was told that story by the Senior Pastor under whom that harassed pastor served. Could such a wet pastor have been offering acceptable sacrifices with Michal fuming at home or sometimes letting her disdain overflow “out” unto the theatre of the open streets of Jerusalem? Shouldn’t he rather have altogether discontinued with the altar, until he has won her pleasure, whenever he succeeds to?   I still ponder.… Many questions to ask God when I see Him.

 

From The Preacher’s diary.


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