Useful Bible Studies > 2 Samuel Commentary > chapter 6

Michal had no children

2 Samuel 6:23

Michal, David’s first wife, never had children. The passage seems to describe that as the result of her disgust when David danced to give God honour. In Michal’s society, people considered it a matter of shame when a woman had no children. In particular, a king’s wife would be desperate to give birth to the son who became the future king.

By her attitude of disgust, Michal was trying to get honour for herself and her future family. She wanted her husband to be a proud and impressive king so that she would gain honour. However, the result was the opposite. Michal’s wrong attitudes brought shame on herself, and she was unable to have children.

The Bible does not say that David divorced or separated himself from Michal. We do not read, as in the passages about certain other women (13:20; 20:3), that Michal lived separately like a widow. We only read that she had no children. A man can refuse to sleep with his wife; but only God can choose whether to give her children (Genesis 30:2). So, it seems that this was God’s judgement against her and not merely David’s decision. She had spoken against David, a holy man of God and the king whom God had chosen. She said those things to oppose how he gave honour to God on a very sacred occasion. Her attitudes were very wrong.

Of course, we must not think that a woman without children is normally suffering God’s punishment for some evil deed (compare John 9:2-3). Rather, it is God’s delight to give children to such women (Genesis 21:1-2; 1 Samuel 1:1-20; Psalm 113:9; Luke 1:5-25). If he does not give them children, he desires to show them kindness and to give them honour in other ways.

The five ‘sons of Michal’ in 2 Samuel 21:8 are probably the sons of her sister, Merab. The reference to Michal in that verse seems to be an error from an ancient copy of the book (compare 1 Samuel 18:19).

 

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© 2021, Keith Simons.