Throughout the twenty years I was in the Independent Fundamental Baptist Cult, this next topic was one that I heard often in the preaching. Without fail, the theme of the message was that Michal was barren “as a punishment” from God for her words with David. The underlying message that was given was this: If a wife disagrees with her husband, she will be punished by God. This instills “fear” and causes emotional trauma to the woman because what she has to say becomes unimportant. It tells the woman that she has no say so in the way her spouse treats her. If he desires to be mean, hateful, and abusive, that she must endure it or God will punish her too. Her desires and wants have no value in the marriage relationship and are of no VALUE WITH GOD. This twisting of scripture places the man in a position of control and abuse that God never intended. Let’s look at this passage and hear from an expert whom I hold in much higher regard than the unlearned and secularly uneducated men that hold positions of leadership in most I.F.B. churches, Rabbi Joseph Telushkin. According to Telushkin, it makes no sense to believe that God is punishing Michal for her words. Here is a paraphrase of what Telushkin talks about in his book, Biblical Literacy and then I will expound further on this subject.
“David whirled with all his might before the Lord” (II Sam. 6:14). The text tells us that Michal looks out a window and sees David dancing in the streets and despises him for it. Afterwards, when David returns, there is an exchange between Michal and David. Michal meets him after his return with anger and scorn saying, “Didn’t the king of Israel do himself honor today–exposing himself today in the sight of slavegirls . . . as on of the riffraff might expose himself?”
David responds to this verbal slap with an arrow to the heart of Michal: “It was before the Lord who chose me instead of your father and all his family, and appointed me ruler over the Lord’s people Israel [that I danced]” (II Sam. 6:21). The chapter concludes with the verse “So to her dying day, Michal, daughter of Saul, had no children.”
Most Bible commentators generally sympathize with David; many explain Michal’s barrenness as God’s punishment for her angry words to David. But in truth, if Michal’s words were tactless, her husband’s were cruel. There is no reason to assume that God chose to punish Michal. More likely, after this brutal exchange the two never again were intimate.
— Rabbi Joseph Telushkin, Biblical Literacy
One wonders, when Michal went to sleep every night in the palace, was she thinking of David or Palti, the only man who ever loved her and that she had five children with. 2 Sam 21:8,9 – “But the king took the two sons of Rizpah the daughter of Aiah, whom she bare unto Saul, Armoni and Mephibosheth; and the five sons of Michal the daughter of Saul, . . . And he delivered them into the hands of the Gibeonites, and they hanged them in the hill before the LORD: and they fell all seven together, and were put to death in the days of harvest, in the first days, in the beginning of barley harvest.”
No one stops to consider that Michal had been married for quite awhile before David took her from her husband! What kind of emotional attachment would she have to David by being FORCED to leave her husband and children!! The emotional TRAUMA alone is enough to chill one’s bones. God is NOT going to punish further someone that is already suffering and is broken. If you think differently, then you do not serve the LIVING GOD that is full of compassion and mercy and love. Michal was a broken women who was torn from her family by a King who showed no mercy, compassion, love or care for Michal. He did not love her. She was a tool used to keep Saul’s followers, and his enemies, at bay. Michal, more than likely, was never intimate with David, because she KNEW he did not love her and did not care about her or her five children that she was taken from. David destroyed her marriage and family for his own SELFISH reasons.
David was human. He committed murder. He made some bad decisions. This was just one more to add to his list. BUT, to use this example in scripture to tell women that if they do not let an abusive husband have is way, that God will punish them is preposterous! More than likely, Michal did not have children WITH DAVID because she didn’t love him or want any children with him because of his cruelty toward her. And David. . . well, he didn’t FORCE himself upon her! That alone should make men realize that they DO NOT have a RIGHT to force themselves on their spouses and God does not expect women to submit to abuse.