Sivut kuvina
PDF
ePub

bore towards Dav.d was fully returned, and so inspired the dangerous expedition on which he ventured.

We have not very much of Michal, nor any particularly pleasing portraiture of character, yet our history will not be complete without noticing all that is recorded concerning her. The deep love that in her youth she appears to have borne David, must have exposed her many times to an intensity of suffering which throws a degree of interest around her, and enlists us more warmly in her favor than we could otherwise have been. Jonathan's faithful friendship for David always receives the meed of our admiration, the more so from his being the son of his deadliest foe. The love borne towards him by the daughter of Saul, must have been a yet stronger emotion; and in consequence subjected Michal to still deeper suffering. It does not appear that Merab loved David ; and therefore Michal's first suffering must have been excited by beholding him destined for another who loved him not; while she who had given him the first freshness and fervor of her affections was set aside and disregarded. Even when this sorrow was removed by the union of Merab with Adriel, and her love being reported to her father it pleased him as the means of ensnaring David, how little confidence could she have placed in her father's prornise, when she remembered how he had already deceived ! Her fears of Saul's caprice were, however, at this time without foundation. She became the wife of David, whom, we are told, she continued to love as fondly after marriage as before. In her case it was not “ because the current; of true love never will run smooth” that she loved him, and consequently that, when the desired happiness was obtained, its glow dissolved. Peace indeed, and rest from anxiety, she had not, even when the wife of David. The love she bore him must continually have exposed her to terror for his safety, for her father“ grew yet the more afraid of David,” and repeatedly gave orders that he should be slain ; fortunately, he had taken his son Jonathan into his confidence, and the young man boldly and firmly stood forward in his friend's defence, venturing even to call the king's desired deed a sin against David, who had ever done his duty alike to Saul and to his country. For a time his pleadings succeeded, and as David was again with Saul, as in times past, Michal's terror might have in a degree subsided, and the heart alike of the daughter and the wife been a brief while at peace. But, again, there was war with the Philistines : and David, true to his heroic character, went out and fought with them, and slew them with such great slaughter that they fled from him: yet how might Michal rejoice in the glorious heroism of her husband, when his deeds of valor ever recalled the king's deadly hatred, and exposed him to renewed peril? Even in the very act of charming, by liis exquisite skill on the harp, the evil spirit from the monarch's heart, Saul flung the javelin which he had in his hand with such fierce and deadly aim, that David only escaped instar t death by starting aside, and the instrument struck the wall. He filed from the royal presence to his own home, revealing by his sudden return the danger he had incurred, and recalling all Michal's fears. Nor was the danger over. Messengers sent to David's house to watch and slay him in the morning, at once roused the terror and the energy of his devoted wife. David was so aniversally beloved, that information of the king's intentions towards him had in all probability been transmitted to Michal by the messengers themselves, or through the agency of Jonathan, who, like his sister, was ever on the alert for David's preservation. In whatever

way she received tidings of his danger, it is certain that she it was whose energy and judgment saved him; arousing him “ to save thy life to-night, else to-morrow thou wilt be slain.”

We find neither complaint nor bewailing on the part of Michal, though she was parting from her husband for an indefinité period, during which time suffering and horror of every description might assail both him

and her ; that she felt, even to anguish, we must believe, for we have been twice told that she “ loved David.” And those who love, can alone have an adequate idea of all that parting must have been; yet feeling itself succumbed before the energy of will, which only sought his preservation, scarcely allowing time even for words of kindness or one farewell embrace. “She let him down through a window, and he went, and fled, and escaped;" and Michal, not daring to give way to emotion, busied herself in carrying out her stratagem to obtain sufficient tirne for his escape, ere he was pursued. She laid an image in David's bed, and put a pillow of goat's hair for his bolster, and covered it with a cloth; and when the morning came, and Saul's messengers demanded David, she calmly told them he was sick; and with that information they evidently returned to their sovereign, probably not at all sorry that David was unable to accompany them. The wrath of the king, how ever, was not to be turned aside; he commanded them “ Bring him up to me in the bed, that I may slay him.” And, again proceeding to his house, the deceit was discovered, and Michal herself brought before her father.

“Wherefore hast thou deceived me so," he demanded, “and sent away mine enemy that he has escaped ?" And Michal answered Saul, “ He said unto me, Let me go; why should I kill thee ?" an answer which, though by the previous narrative not strictly true, was perhaps allowable from the dangerous and difficult position in which Michal was placed. To avow the share she had in his escape, would only have aggravated her father's anger; and though the enemy and persecutor of her innocent husband, yet Saul was still her father; and Michal, who nad, no doubt, been brought up in the peculiarly strict and reverential feelings of Hebrew children to their parents, might not have felt justified in exciting her father's wrath towards herself, more than David's escape had already done. The answer appears to have satisfied Saul so far as his daughter was concerned; but the search and pursuit after David continued unabated.

During the immediate pressure of danger, the mind and heart are supported by their own energy; and we know not how fearfully the nerves have been overstrained till the period of action is past, and we can only be still and endure. How sadly this must have been the case with Michal we may we imagine, when we remember that, from the hour of bis escape by her means until he was established in the sovereignty of Israel, an interval of five or six years, she never looked on the husband of her love again. Month after month, year after year, if she heard of him at all, it must have been still as a wanderer flying from place to place, at the imminent risk of his life, either from the emissaries of Saul, or from the treachery and spite of the various courts in which he was compelled to take a refuge. At one time even the inmate of caves and deserts—at another forced to feign madness—often in want of actual food and other necessaries of daily life ; and yet more than these ;—Michal was a woman, and a loving woman; and though the custom of marrying many wives was not illegal in Judea, and not felt as it would be now, we have already been that it was productive of sometimes sorrow and vexation;

and to the absent and the loving Michal, the thought that David had found others to supply her place, and that therefore he could not need or think of her as she did of him, must have been fraught with no little degree of bitterness greatly aggravating the pang of separation.

Nor was this all. We are told (1 Sam. xxv. 4), “ that Saul had given Michal his daughter, David's wife, to Phalti, the son of Laish,” an act of capricious tyranny in direct disobedience to the laws of Israel. A divorce might permit a woman to become the wife of another man, but no divorce whatever had taken place between David and Michal; and consequently Saul's action must only have proceeded from that determined persecution of the Lord's Anointed, which urged him to annoy him in every possible way, even if to do so occasioned disobe. dience to the law. That Michal herself could ever have voluntarily acquiesced, when we know how “she loved David,” is neither possible nor probable. Saul had become a tyrant even to his own family; and the same man who could cast a javelin at his noble son Jonathan, with the hope to slay him, after heapirg on him all manner of abuse, only because of his love for, and defence of David, would not scruple to outrage every feeling of his daughter, and compel her, by the most iniquitous force, to annul her brief period of connexion with David, and become the wife of another.

That Michal was the unhappy sufferer, not the agent in these nefarious and most illegal proceedings, is clearly evident from two circumstances. In the first place, we are expressly told, “ that Saul gave Michal his daughter,” &c. as agent, is not mentioned, whence we infer that it was her father's tyranny, against which a weak and defenceless woman had no power to rebel. In the second, it is clearly demonstrable that she herself was blameless, else would not David have made her restoration to himself one of the very first proceedings of his regal power. Had there been even the semblance of a divorce, he could not have done this, the law expressly forbidding it; but the iniquitous tyranny of Saul, in this outrage to his child, completely justified David's after-proceedings. He would not visit on a blameless child the sins of a guilty father, by leaving her in a position to which parental tyranny had assigned her; but recalled her to his heart and to his homo, at the very time when, had his noble spirit retained

Her name,

any spark of enmity towards the house of Saul, he might, and with some appearance of justice, have permitted her to remain neglected and uncared for, in the equivocal station which, as no divorce had taken place between her and himself, she must unavoidably have occupied in Phalti's house.

The next mention we have of Michal after her restoration to David, is indicative of a feeling very contrary to that which at first attracted us towards her, and displays an imperfection of character which we might perhaps expect from the daughter of Saul, but certainly not from the wife of David.

For the last twenty years, the ark of God had remained in Kirjath Jearim, in the house of Abinadab, whose son, Eleazer, had been sanctified to keep it

. Through all the troubles of the reign of Saul it had quietly remained there; no inclination having been demonstrated by either king or subjects to remove it, and so arguing an indifference to its sacred presence, only too fully borne out by the many illegal acts of Saul. David could not feel this indifference. The ark of God was to him so inexpressibly sacred, that his heart yearned for its holy influence in the city where he dwelt; and therefore every preparation was made for conducting it to Hebron with all befitting sanctity and honor. The fear, however, excited by the smiting of Uzzah for his irreverence, urged his turning it aside from the direct road to the city, and bringing it into the house of Obed-edom, the Gittite. There it abode three months; and the Lord so blessed Obed-edom, and all his household, that David again coveted its presence in his own city, believing with a child-like and loving faith that the presence of the Lord dwelt there, and would bless all those who sought to do him reverence and honor. “ So David went and brought up the ark of God from the house of Obed-edom, to the city of David, with gladness."

It was a very jubilee of rejoicing to the inmates of Hebron. Trumpets and holy songs marked its progress, and

every

six paces sacrifices of oxen and fatings were offered to the Lord; and the king himself

, disrobed of all regal ornaments, and attired simply in a linen ephod as one of the inferior priests, joined with his whole heart in the solemn rejoicing, by leaping and dancing before the Lord. The mode of this holy rejoicing may read strangely to our refined ears; but the song and the dance were ever the natural symbols of rejoicing in Israel. Amusements, which are by many deemed so profane as to be excluded

« EdellinenJatka »