An Addendum to the Jonathan-David Story: Michal

Posted on June 16, 2022

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By David Ettinger

This short post is a followup to my 2 recent blogs: “An Ode to the Remarkable Jonathan,” and “Why Jonathan Had to Die.”

The Third Part
In my previous 2 blogs, we looked at why Jonathan was so special and why, sadly, he had to die.

The third part of the Jonathan-David story is Jonathan’s sister, Michal, to whom David was married. Therefore, not only were Jonathan and David bound by love, they were also bound by family: they were brothers-in-law.

This isn’t the reason Jonathan loved and valued David, but the family connection quite likely added a strand of connection to the relationship.

In my “Why Jonathan Had to Die” blog, I made the case that had Jonathan lived and been David’s right-hand man, a large number of zealous Benjamites (Jonathan’s tribe) may well have plagued David’s reign by insisting Jonathan was the true king.

Perhaps they would have waged a civil war in order to achieve their objectives. This could well be a reason the Lord allowed Jonathan’s life to end prematurely.

And along the same lines, this could be the true reason Michal was barren.

What If?
The story of Michal’s barrenness is familiar. David danced unabashedly to the Lord before the people, and Micah resented it (2 Samuel 6:12-23). As a result, “Michal the daughter of Saul had no child to the day of her death” (v. 23).

Because of this verse, it is assumed God cursed Michal with barrenness. The Bible, however, never states this, and it is more likely David – who had many wives and concubines – punished Michal by not sleeping with her as he had other options.

But upon further reflection, perhaps the Lord did make Michal barren – but long before this.

Don’t forget, Michal was David’s first wife, and they married when they were young (1 Samuel 18:20-29). It would be ludicrous to believe they had no intimate relations. Yet, Michal never conceived.

Why? We can’t be sure, but here’s some speculation.

Remember how I proposed that if Jonathan had lived he would have been a political thorn in David’s side, based on the zeal of the Benjamites?

Well, what if Michal – King Saul’s daughter – had given birth to David’s son? That child would have been the grandson of King Saul. He would have been of David’s lineage – but also of Saul’s. He would have been descended of Judah AND Benjamin.

By the time David claimed the throne, God promised him that only David’s descendants – those fully of the tribe of Judah – would rule over Israel’s Southern Kingdom (2 Samuel 7:8-17).

Even with Jonathan off the scene, had David had a son by Michal, imagine how much of a thorn THAT would have been to David. The Benjamites would have been screaming for the usurper David to abdicate the throne and give it to his firstborn son – the grandson of the Benjamite Saul, who in their view was the true king of Israel.

Just Speculation
Could this be the real reason Michal was barren?

(Of course, this speculative position can be countered by arguing, “Well, what if David and Michal had a daughter together? She would have posed no threat to David’s reign.”)

 As I said, this is all speculative, but nonetheless thoughts that run through my head. Do you think I’m way off base? Do you think I need a hobby?

If you have any thoughts on the matter, please feel free to share. I’m certainly not married to the theories expressed above and won’t be offended if you see things otherwise!

Read my blog: “Let’s Ease Up on Michal!”