Another Twist of Scripture to Subjugate Women to Abusive Husbands

michalThroughout the twenty years I was in the Independent Fundamental Baptist Cult, this next topic was one that I heard often in the preaching. Without fail, the theme of the message was that Michal was barren “as a punishment” from God for her words with David. The underlying message that was given was this:  If a wife disagrees with her husband, she will be punished by God.  This instills “fear” and causes emotional trauma to the woman because what she has to say becomes unimportant. It tells the woman that she has no say so in the way her spouse treats her. If he desires to be mean, hateful, and abusive, that she must endure it or God will punish her too.  Her desires and wants have no value in the marriage relationship and are of no VALUE WITH GOD.  This twisting of scripture places the man in a position of control and abuse that God never intended. Let’s look at this passage and hear from an expert whom I hold in much higher regard than the unlearned and secularly uneducated men that hold positions of leadership in most I.F.B. churches, Rabbi Joseph Telushkin. According to Telushkin, it makes no sense to believe that God is punishing Michal for her words. Here is a paraphrase of what Telushkin talks about in his book, Biblical Literacy and then I will expound further on this subject.

“David whirled with all his might before the Lord” (II Sam. 6:14). The text tells us that Michal looks out a window and sees David dancing in the streets and despises him for it. Afterwards, when David returns, there is an exchange between Michal and David. Michal meets him after his return with anger and scorn saying, “Didn’t the king of Israel do himself honor today–exposing himself today in the sight of slavegirls . . . as on of the riffraff might expose himself?”

David responds to this verbal slap with an arrow to the heart of Michal: “It was before the Lord who chose me instead of your father and all his family, and appointed me ruler over the Lord’s people Israel [that I danced]“ (II Sam. 6:21). The chapter concludes with the verse “So to her dying day, Michal, daughter of Saul, had no children.”

Most Bible commentators generally sympathize with David; many explain Michal’s barrenness as God’s punishment for her angry words to David. But in truth, if Michal’s words were tactless, her husband’s were cruel. There is no reason to assume that God chose to punish Michal. More likely, after this brutal exchange the two never again were intimate.

– Rabbi Joseph Telushkin, Biblical Literacy

One wonders, when Michal went to sleep every night in the palace, was she thinking of David or Palti, the only man who ever loved her and that she had five children with. 2 Sam 21:8,9 – “But the king took the two sons of Rizpah the daughter of Aiah, whom she bare unto Saul, Armoni and Mephibosheth; and the five sons of Michal the daughter of Saul, . . . And he delivered them into the hands of the Gibeonites, and they hanged them in the hill before the LORD: and they fell all seven together, and were put to death in the days of harvest, in the first days, in the beginning of barley harvest.”

No one stops to consider that Michal had been married for quite awhile before David took her from her husband! What kind of emotional attachment would she have to David by being FORCED to leave her husband and children!! The emotional TRAUMA alone is enough to chill one’s bones.  God is NOT going to punish further someone that is already suffering and is broken. If you think differently, then you do not serve the LIVING GOD that is full of compassion and mercy and love.  Michal was a broken women who was torn from her family by a King who showed no mercy,  compassion, love or care for Michal.  He did not love her. She was a tool used to keep Saul’s followers, and his enemies, at bay.  Michal, more than likely, was never intimate with David, because she KNEW he did not love her and did not care about her or her five children that she was taken from. David destroyed her marriage and family for his own SELFISH reasons.

David was human. He committed murder. He made some bad decisions. This was just one more to add to his list. BUT, to use this example in scripture to tell women that if they do not let an abusive husband have is way, that God will punish them is preposterous! More than likely, Michal did not have children WITH DAVID because she didn’t love him or want any children with him because of his cruelty toward her. And David. . . well, he didn’t FORCE himself upon her! That alone should make men realize that they DO NOT have a RIGHT to force themselves on their spouses and God does not expect women to submit to abuse.

2 thoughts on “Another Twist of Scripture to Subjugate Women to Abusive Husbands

  1. D.S.

    I agree. There is no basis in Scripture that gives a husband permission to abuse his wife. Indeed, he is to love her as his own body, as Christ loves the church. I also agree with you that many scriptures are twisted to make them appear to say something that God does not say. Many Scriptures are twisted to justify treating women in a way that God abhors.

    However, your defense against this error contains error. That gives sufficient reason for people to ignore what you are trying to say. — It is Michel’s sister Merab who had 5 sons. – [the five sons of Merab the daughter of Saul, whom she bore to Adriel the son of Barzillai the Meholathite 2Sam.21:8.] -Yes, Michal was married to Palti. However, David is the husband she was taken from. – [Saul had given Michal his daughter, David's wife, to Palti the son of Laish, who was of Gallim.1 Sam. 25:44] – David was her first love. [1 Sam. 18: 20, 28]
    A second fatal flaw to your argument is your use of conjecture. It might be true that they never had sex again. How you imagine their tone of voice in the interchange might be true. It might not. You are reading into the text, twisting it to say what you want it to say.
    I agree with your message. There are men who claim to be godly bible-believers, yet they are perverting Scripture and perpetrating evil. What they claim does not come from the bible. In fact, the Bible contains plenty that speaks against their belief and behavior. Your argument about Scriptures being twisted to justify evil is important. It needs to be heard, yet it will be dismissed when the reader observes the broken defense. Because you are critiquing their hermeneutics, it is crucial you are rigorous in your own hermeneutics.

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    1. Religion's Cell Post author

      Thank you for your input on this subject. If you would allow me to take a moment to give you my thinking on why I wrote this the way I did, I would be so grateful.

      Yes, you are correct that the five sons were Merab’s. But the scriptures state that “. . .and the five sons of Michal the daughter of Saul whom she brought up for Adriel the son of Barzillai the Meholathitie.” Thus, she raised these children as her own just as parents adopt and raise children as their own. This is why it says “the five sons of Michal.” As a mother that has “raised” other family member’s children and has had them taken away suddenly, I understand the trauma inflicted. It is a crushing blow to the heart in the most hurtful way. If she raised them, they are hers. This is just my interpretation on this issue and I do not expect others to agree. Sometimes it is easier to disregard a woman’s feelings than to acknowledge them, as in this case with Michal. She had a husband that truly loved her. She had children she raised with Palti that she loved, whether she bore them or not. Also, We must not forget that Palti helped to raise them too and, had to finish raising them alone when David took Michal from him.

      Bear with me please on what I am about to say next. . .

      From the beginning, God put a marriage law in place – “Therefore shall a man [husband] leave his father and his mother, and cleave unto his wife.” – The husband was to leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife. It does not say that the wife is to leave father and mother and cleave to the husband. All of this is right in line with what we hear in other parts of scripture. For instance, in the story of Jacob, Laban had the law on his side when Jacob “stole away his daughters.” Another example is Joseph’s sons who were born by his Egyptian wife; they only became Israelites by adoption. They were not Israelites by birth because they were considered Egyptian. Samson is another example of this type of marriage. His wife remained with her tribe and Samson visited her. Abraham had to travel to visit Sarah. when she died, he had to go to her city, where she dwelt independently of him, to bury her.

      From the earliest ages of history this law is shown to be in force. It was customary during the early ages for the husband to go and live under the roof of his wife’s parents, or to make frequent visits to her there. The wife never left the protection of her parents. The parents were the “natural protectors” of their married daughters, not the husband, whose character had not yet been established. Since the wife was with her family, they would help to ensure that no abuse took place against the woman. If they saw abuse, either emotional or physical, they had the legal right to remove their daughter from the marriage and situation. This is what happened with Michal. Saul had the legal right to take Michal away and give her to another as wife to protect her from emotional trauma.

      This Marriage Law tells us that God cares about his daughters and from the beginning, made a plan to take precious care of them. This commandment shows us that He had women’s rights and dignity on his heart from the outset. This law was obeyed in the earliest ages of history. This fact, archaeologists have brought to light. The first in modern times to write on this subject was Bacholfen, a Swiss jurist, in 1861. Many others, such as Tylor, Westermarck, Fraser, Lord Avebury (Sir John Lubbock), and Robertson Smith have followed. Still, there are others besides these.

      While my interpretation may be conjecture as to why they did not have sex. It comes from the standpoint of one who can look at this from the perspective of a woman. Most men rarely consider the woman’s perspective or emotions on an issue. So, while it may be conjecture, it does fit in line, and makes more sense, than most of the conjecture I have heard from the pulpit.

      Thank you for having a heart that wants to protect women from abusive men. Thank you for desiring to have scripture properly interpreted. I appreciate that so much. While you may disagree with me on this subject, just know that I truly appreciate the input and perspective that you bring to this subject and sincerely hope that you understand my perspective as well. I do not feel that my perspective is wrong. I feel that it is just different. My apologies for this long post.

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