David, Jonathan, and Michal

Enough speculation has been cast on the type of relationship between King David (of "David and Goliath" fame) and Jonathan (Bruce L. Gerig does an excellent examination of the relationship *scroll to the bottom*). It's a friendship many want to believe, and a relationship most refuse to see. An interesting angle has been ignored though, that of Jonathan's sister Michal.

The dynamics of the three, David, Saul's son Jonathan, and Jonathan's sister Michal is very telling. The Bible says both loved David and both helped David become king, but it was Jonathan who defied his father, infuriating Saul to the point of almost causing his own death. Michal, on the other hand, lies to save her own skin after she helps David escape. Notice David never asked her to come along with him or cared about the consequences of what might happen to her if Saul found out the truth of his escape?

After Saul dies in battle, David makes secret negotiations with a General in Saul’s army to take the throne. David says “Bring Michal, daughter of Saul” not “Bring Michal, my wife.” The one time he does address her as 'wife' he’s quick to follow it with how many "foreskins" he had to get to make her his bride. David knew having Saul’s daughter next to him in the palace would help his claim to the throne, she was the political pawn David needed and from all other indication from the narrative, nothing more. Contrast that with what the feelings between David with Jonathan; “Whatever your soul desires, that I will do,” “Thy father certainly knoweth that I have found grace in your eyes,” and the famous line; “Thy love to me was wonderful, passing the love of women.” Understand that a friendship between a man and a woman was unheard of during the time of David, so what context do we have left with that last statement?

Between Jonathan and Michal, the Bible is very clear, David accepted the love of only one and it was Jonathan who had his heart. David was a slave to his feelings and would fall in love with whomever he fell in love with; whatever the object of his affection, be it Jonathan or the wife of another man (Bathsheba), without care of the consequences or if it pleased his God. The reasoning that David would never commit such a sin knowing it was against God, would be a good argument if he did not also commit murder and adultery. Actions that also played out because of his desires.

The Bible story goes on in saying when David danced in the streets after bringing back the Ark of the Covenant, Michal looked out the window and became furious with contempt saying (paraphrasing); “How glorious the King of Israel looked today! He exposed himself to the servant girls like a man whore!” With David shooting back (paraphrasing again); “Yeah, and I'm willing to look even more silly than this, but (unlike you) these same girls you're bad mouthing will remember me with honor.”

How the now disillusioned Michal lived the rest of her life is unknown, the Bible writers hint that the marriage was never consummated. If Jonathan had lived, we can only guess what kind of relationship it would have become for the ages. The love, hints and homoeroticism the Biblical writers DID include says more about the relationship than the blatant sexual description they purposely left out.

Michal was a poor substitute for Jonathan and David knew it, but sadly, so did Michal.

1 comment:

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