Useful Bible Studies > 2 Samuel Commentary > chapter 3

David demands the return of Michal, his first wife

2 Samuel 3:12-16

David was pleased when Abner offered to support him. However, first David would test whether Abner’s offer of help was genuine.

Abner had said that David had the right to rule Israel. So, David wanted to see whether Abner truly cared about David’s rights. In particular, David had a right to be with his first wife, Michal, who was Saul’s daughter. David did not divorce her; Saul took her and he arranged for her to marry another man. Now David wanted Michal back.

David probably also hoped that this would help to bring peace in Israel. Many people in Israel still supported Saul’s family. They would see that David’s own family now included an important member of Saul’s family.

In this matter, David was thinking about his own rights and desires. He seemed to care little about Michal, who had a new husband, and a new home. There is no record that David inquired of God in this situation. Deuteronomy 24:1-4 says that after a second marriage, the first husband should not demand his wife back.

David even sent a message to Ish-Bosheth, Saul’s son, to demand this. He reminded Ish-Bosheth of the battle that he (David) fought on Saul’s behalf, to earn the right to marry Michal (see 1 Samuel 18:20-27). David had made a clear agreement with Saul, and Ish-Bosheth had the duty to carry it out.

We feel sure that Ish-Bosheth disliked this demand. He considered David to be his enemy; he was at war against him. In addition, Michal was Ish-Bosheth’s sister. However, without Abner’s support, Ish-Bosheth was too weak to oppose the demand.

Paltiel, Michal’s second husband, clearly considered this a very cruel decision. He knew the circumstances of his marriage, but he still complained much, and with a great display of emotion. Then Abner took her from him, to bring her back to David.

Next part: Abner persuades Israel's leaders to support David (2 Samuel 3:17-19)


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