Useful Bible Studies > 1 Samuel Commentary > chapter 19

Michal saves Davidís life

1 Samuel 19:12-14

Saul was trying to murder David, but David escaped through a window.

Ancient windows had no glass. They were just openings in a wall to provide light and air for the house. Michal, Davidís wife, let him down, so clearly the window was very high on the wall.

Michal then made a plan to delay Saulís men so that they could not follow David. All night those men were watching Davidís door, so they did not see Davidís escape through the window. In the meantime, Michal put a model (an image) of a man in Davidís bed. She covered it with clothes and sheets so that it would look like a man. It was only possible to see the hair that she had put on the image.

It interests us to know what this image was; it is called TERAPHIM in the original language (Hebrew). That word usually means an idol (the image of a false god), especially the kind that people kept in their houses, as in Genesis 31:19. However, that translation causes a problem in 1 Samuel 19:13. Firstly, David was a holy man; we would not expect him to keep an idol in the house. Secondly, these idols were usually small objects (Genesis 31:34). Michal used something that was much larger: it was the same size and shape as a man. Perhaps the explanation is that Michal made the image herself. She used whatever objects she could find in the house to make her model.

Saulís men were waiting for David to leave his house in the morning. Of course, David did not leave the house then. When, in the end, the men knocked at the door, Michal showed them Davidís bed. She insisted that David was too ill to see them. The men were unsure what to do, so they returned to Saul for his instructions.

Next part: Michalís lies and Saulís cruelty (1 Samuel 19:15-17)


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© 2014, Keith Simons.