Useful Bible Studies > 2 Samuel Commentary > chapter 6

Was David wrong to dance?

2 Samuel 6:20

David returned home with the intention to bless his family with words of God’s kindness and goodness. It was a shock, therefore, when Michal approached him in a bad and angry temper. His behaviour disgusted her, she said.

Michal was David’s first wife, and she was also a daughter of King Saul. Perhaps the author reminds us of her relationship with Saul because she was behaving very much like him. Saul often became bitter and angry, with an anger that he could not control (1 Samuel 18:8-17). He spoke powerfully against people in a frightening manner (1 Samuel 22:7-8). Now Michal, his daughter, was behaving in the same way. Perhaps in reality that was because of the cruel way that David took her from her second husband (3:13-15). However, she gave a different reason for her anger which David could not accept.

Michal insisted that David’s actions were shameful. He should have behaved with honour, so that people would respect his importance as Israel’s king. Instead he had undressed in public - even the girls who were slaves had seen it. Like her, they would laugh at him, Michael argued.

The truth was that David had not worn a king’s clothes on that sacred occasion. He was not trying to show his importance as the king; on that day he had to give God special honour. So, he wore the same, simple white clothes that several other people were wearing, for example the singers (1 Chronicles 15:27). His outer clothes were too long when he wanted to dance for joy in front of God. So, he took off the outer clothes, and he danced in simpler, shorter clothes. However, David was then wearing the same short clothing that the priests wore to do their usual work for God (see 1 Samuel 22:18). However, David would not even try to argue that his clothes were modest. Instead, he would insist that God alone deserved honour. Therefore Michal was very wrong to argue as she did.

Next part: David's reply to Michal (2 Samuel 6:21-22)


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