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The Princess
Written August 27, 2019

 

Welcome back to IT'S IN THE BIBLE.  I'm Brother Billy.

I must apologize for a miscommunication concerning my next guest.  As you recall, I told you last time that Michael was going to be on my show.  I was looking forward to speaking with an archangel, but I was mistaken.  Instead, I find that my guest is a mere human.  In fact, she's a mere woman.  She does pronounce her name “Michael,” but she spells it differently.

King Saul was her father.  We've all heard of Saul, right?  The first king of Israel?  IT'S IN THE BIBLE.

Note:  Scripture references to the books of Samuel have been compressed into the form 2.5:6-9, meaning “2 Samuel, chapter 5, verses 6 through 9.”

Anyway, this princess is with us today, all the way from 3,000 years ago.  May I present:  Michal!

Thank you, sir.

Welcome to our program.

I'm glad to be here, I think.  I feel like I'm 3,000 years old.

So, Michal, you were the daughter of King Saul.  And you were also married to the great and blessed King David, correct?

Yes.  I am twice royal — for all the good it did me.  David kept marrying other women, and my father kept getting angry and wanting to kill him.

You do not seem happy.

It is a curse to be the daughter of a king.  It is also a curse to be the wife of a king.

That's surprising to hear.  Um, how did you and your future husband meet?

He just showed up at the palace one day.  He told us he'd been summoned to play the lyre for the King Saul.  Father had a short temper, you see.  If he thought his advisors were being disloyal, he became enraged and threatened them.  They learned that music would calm him down.  1.16:14-16]

So David was an accomplished royal musician?

No, he was a poor shepherd, the son of Jesse from Bethlehem.  But he was brave and strong.  He told us he had killed bears that raided his flock.  When a lion turned on him, he grabbed it by the beard and beat it to death.  Once he even killed a philistine with a slingshot and brought back the severed head.

For our viewers, I should explain that a philistine was a person.

Yes, the Philistines were our enemies, and I believe this one was named Goliath.

Anyway, Father took a liking to David.  He invited him to move into the palace with us.  1.17:34-36, 49-58]

A “rags to riches” story.

My brother Jonathan really took a liking to David.  It was love at first sight.

What?  Men don't “love” each other.  Unless ...

When they met, Jonathan saw that David needed a robe, so he stripped off his own and gave it to him!  His girdle and armor too, and his sword and his bow.  Did you ever hear of a straight man doing that?  1.18:1-4]

But that doesn't necessarily mean ...

David said that Jonathan's love for him was “more wonderful than the love of a woman.”  2.1:26]

And I heard that Jonathan once sent his servant away so he and David could be alone, and they kissed!

Oh, come on, now.

I'm not making this up.  IT'S IN THE BIBLE.  1.20:40-41]

But some might interpret those verses differently ...

I'll never forget one time during the three-day feast of the full moon.  The whole court was supposed to attend each of the ceremonial dinners.  David didn't show up the first day, and he didn't show up the second day, so Father asked Jonathan if he knew why not.  My brother lied to protect his friend.  The king shouted, “Son of a bitch!”

Michal, please!  We're on the air.

No, that's the word he used.  “Bitch” was what Father called Mommy.  A perverse, rebellious woman.  I think he accused her of “turning Jonathan gay."

Really, now.

“You son of a bitch!”  That's what he screamed at Jonathan.  “I know you've chosen that son of Jesse — to your own shame, and to the shame of your mother's nakedness.  You'll never amount to anything until you give up this perversion!  Bring David to me, for he shall surely die.”  1.20:17-31]

Wow.  So was David gay too?

I don't think so.  He liked women.  He was going to marry my older sister Merab, but that fell through.  He couldn't afford the bride price.  1.18:19,23]

Bride price?

Whatever was required to purchase the bride from her father.  It's a huge bride price if a suitor wants to marry a royal princess.

Uh, IT'S IN THE BIBLE, true, and maybe that was how things were done in your day.  But now we've learned better.

You've strayed from the Biblical concept of marriage?  How are your weddings done instead?

We ask, “Who giveth this woman to be married to this man?”  Her father says “I do” and steps back, and that's all there is to it.

He simply gives her away?  For nothing?  After investing everything to raise his valuable asset?  He should at least auction her off to the highest bidder.

Did they bid on you?

No, David was eventually able to come up with the bride price.  He bought me for 200 penises.

Two hundred what?!

Well, the ends of 200 penises, actually.  Two hundred foreskins.

May I remind you again that we're on the air.

May I remind you again that IT'S IN THE BIBLE.

I'm afraid you'll have to explain the foreskins.

Well, as you know, if a male baby is going to be part of the nation of Israel, he has to be circumcised.  Genesis 17:10-14  The mohel takes a knife and slices off the front of his penis to expose the main part.

Yeesh!

Then afterwards, it's easy to tell he's one of us and not a foreigner.

Provided you undress him and take a look at his nakedness.

Anyway, because David had famously brought back Goliath's head, Father had made him a military commander with a thousand soldiers.  Well, David won every battle against our hated enemy, the uncircumcised Philistines.  Women started singing his praises.  They sang, “Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands.”

Such acclaim for his general must have made your father proud.

It made him jealous.  His approval among the people was dropping.  He was afraid they preferred David and would someday make him king.  1.18:5-16]

So if David was now perceived as the king's rival, how did the king allow him to marry his daughter?

I think Father was using me, and my sister Merab before me, to get David out of the way.  The idea was to bribe him into leading his men to war.  Then the Philistines would kill him — and Father wouldn't have to.

He told David, “Here's my elder daughter Merab.  I'll give her to you for a wife if you're valiant for me and fight the Lord's battles.”  David objected, “Who am I to become son-in-law to the king?  I'm the poor son of Jesse of Bethlehem.  I can't afford the bride price.”  So Merab was given instead to Adriel the Meholathite for a wife.

But I had fallen in love with David.  I was Father's younger daughter, so he tried again, using me as the snare.  1.18:17-23]

The king planned to send this message:  “I know your family is poor, David.  Therefore, all I want as a bride price is 100 dead Philistines.”

That's kind of grisly, isn't it?

“Cut off their heads and bring them to me as proof.”

How could he be sure the severed heads were Philistine heads?

Good point.  The only way to identify a Philistine is by his uncircumcised penis.  So the message was changed to, “All I want as a bride price is 100 dead Philistines.  Kill them, cut off their foreskins, and bring those to me as proof.  You've got until the end of the month.”

Did David do it?

He was happy to accept the challenge.  He went out with his men and killed two hundred of the enemy.  He chopped off their foreskins and spread them in front of the king.

What a bloody scene that must have been!  But we must remember, IT'S IN THE BIBLE.

Father had wanted David to die in battle, but now he was forced to let him marry into the royal family.  1.18:25-27]

And the fearless warrior and the beautiful princess lived happily ever after.

Not really.  Father still wanted my new husband dead, and he was frustrated that his plan hadn't worked.  In one of his evil moods, he threw a spear at David!  That night I told my husband he'd better leave, or he'd be dead by morning.

Because the doors were guarded, I let him down through a window.  Then I put an idol and a rug in his empty bed and made it up to look like he was still in it.  I told people he was under the covers, sick.  They discovered the ruse right away, so then I had to make up a story that David had threatened to kill me unless I helped him escape.  1.19:9-17]

Two lies don't make a truth, Michal.

Whatever.  But I didn't see my husband again for another eight years!  He was fleeing the king's soldiers all that time.  Father actually gave me as a wife to another man, Palti-el son of Laish.  1.25:44]

But you were still married to David.  Doesn't God's Law teach us that marriage should be between one man and one woman?

According to Father, a king is above the Law and can do anything he wants.

Did David remain faithful to you while he was on the run?

No, he certainly didn't.  He took several other wives.  He married Abigail, the widow of that fool Nabal.  He married Ahinoam, who bore him his first son.  And I lost track of how many others.  1.25:25,40-43  After he became king, he decided he wanted Bathsheba.  He impregnated her and then made her a widow so he could marry her too.  2.11]

But at the end of those eight years, he stopped running.

Only because Father died.  He was killed in battle alongside all my brothers, including Jonathan.  1.31:2]

And then David became king.

And he claimed me back from Palti-el, my other husband.

David must have really loved you.

Not as much as Palti-el did.  When he had to give me up, he was in tears and followed me for miles.  I think David only wanted me back because he had bought and paid for me with all those bloody foreskins.  2.3:13-16]

After another eight years, the blessed King David established his capital at Jerusalem.  2.5:6-9  He brought the Ark of the Covenant into the city on an oxcart, didn't he?

Yes, that was quite a joyous event.  All Israel was dancing to the sound of singing, lyres and lutes, tambourines and cymbals.  2.6:1-5]

Including the king?

Especially the king!  He was right there in front of the parade, making a spectacle of himself.  I heard all the trumpets and the shouting, so I looked down from my window, and there he was, wearing a linen ephod, leaping and whirling.  I hated him for that.

For our viewers, an ephod is a vestment worn by priests.  It looks sort of like an apron.

If David was leaping and whirling wearing only an ephod, he must have exposed himself!  No wonder you were disgusted.

No, don't be silly.  That wasn't all he had on!  He wore the ephod over a linen robe, like the other men were wearing.

Then why were you disappointed with him?

We expect our leader to behave like a king.  He should always be solemn and dignified, especially when he's dressed like a priest.  But David didn't know how to act.  He didn't grow up in a palace; his only experience was tending sheep.  He thought the government could be run like that.  He was dancing and spinning and making merry like a common herder.  I despised him in my heart.  I Chronicles 15:27-29]

When he came home, I confronted him.  “What a glorious day for the king of Israel,” I said sarcastically.  “You made an exhibition of yourself in the sight of your servant's slave girls, as any vulgar clown would do!”

And what did he say?

“I did it in the presence of the Lord.  Before the Lord I will dance for joy, yes.  And I will keep on doing it.  But you, woman, will have no joy!  You shall bear no children until your dying day.”  2.6:20-26]

What a curse.  Oh, look at the time!  I'm afraid we'll have to leave the story at this point, with you and David at odds with one another.

That's all right.  Nothing further happened to me.  I became a bitter, childless old woman, hating her stupid husband.

How unfortunate.  But IT'S IN THE BIBLE.

 

TBT

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