How King David and His Wife Got on the Crazy Cycle

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Couples in Bible times didn’t use terms like Crazy Cycle, decoding, and air hose, but they still faced the same kind of communication problems people face today. And these women and men had the same basic needs for Love and Respect.

One incident from the life of King David is a classic illustration of how a wife can stomp on her husband’s air hose. When King Saul gave David his daughter Michal to be his wife, the marriage appeared to start out well. First Samuel 18:20 tells us, “Now Michal, Saul’s daughter, loved David.”

But did Michal respect David?

See what happened over in 2 Samuel 6 when David brings the ark of the covenant back to Jerusalem. It’s an occasion of joy beyond description. The tablets containing the Ten Commandments are in the ark, which will eventually be placed in the Holy of Holies in the temple, the design of which God will reveal to David, but it will be built many years later by David’s son Solomon (1 Chronicles 28:11–19). There is shouting and the sound of trumpets, and as the procession with the Ark enters the city, David dances “with all his might” in joyous worship of the Lord.

As he leaps and whirls about in wild celebration, he is not wearing his royal robes. Instead he has chosen to garb himself as a Levite high priest, in a linen ephod, or tunic, because, as the king of Israel, he wishes to transport the ark of the covenant in priestly fashion (see 2 Samuel 6:1–15).

But dressed as he was, David did not look kingly, nor was he in full Levite dress either, which would have included a blue robe under the ephod.

Gazing down on David from her window, Michal sees David looking like anything but a king and dancing in a fashion which, to her, is shameless, and she is “filled with contempt for him” (2 Samuel 6:16 NLT).

David continues on to a special tent set up just for the celebration. There the ark is placed, and he proceeds to offer burnt offerings and peace offerings. Then he blesses the people in the name of the Lord of hosts and distributes to all those present cakes made of dates and raisins (see 2 Samuel 6:17–19).

His responsibilities as leader of the nation completed, David returns home to “bless his own household.”

But, sadly, his wife has missed the holiness of an event that has glorified God. She says nothing about the return of the ark, nothing about David’s desire to praise God with all his might, nothing about how carefully the ark had been transported according to God’s law, nothing about thanksgiving to God, and no affirmation that Yahweh, the Lord, was glorified.

In 2 Samuel 6:20–23, the New Living Translation clearly catches the spirit of a conversation that quickly starts Michal and David spinning on the Crazy Cycle. With sarcasm and contempt dripping from her every word, Michal says, “How glorious the king of Israel looked today! He exposed himself to the servant girls like any indecent person might do!”

Stung but not at all cowed, David retorts defensively, “I was dancing before the LORD, who chose me above your father and his family! He appointed me as the leader of Israel, the people of the LORD. Yes, and I am willing to look even more foolish than this, but I will be held in honor by the girls of whom you have spoken!”

And then the final verse of the passage brings down the curtain on this Crazy Cycle scene and adds a postscript: “So Michal, the daughter of Saul, remained childless throughout her life” (2 Samuel 6:23). For her disdain of both the king of Israel and the holy event over which he had presided, God sentenced Michal to the disgrace of childlessness.

In violating her husband’s basic need for respect, Michal had stepped much too far over the line. We may wish to pass judgment on David’s angry reaction, but the facts are that he came home from leading an incredible worship experience to bestow a blessing on his own household and was met by his wife’s contempt. The entire incident illustrates how Blue needs and wants appropriate respect and can lose fond feelings of affection when Pink shows him such obvious contempt.

May I ask you, is your first impulse to defend Michal because men are almost always wrong and when a woman reacts as Michal, there is a backstory that explains, justifies, and excuses her contempt?

Or, can some husbands be good willed and godly husbands, who genuinely love and worship God, married to wives who inappropriately despise them in their hearts?

Here’s an extra question: if your daughter-in-law treated your son like Michal treated David, what would you feel?

-Dr. E

From The Language of Love and Respect, page 104-106


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