King David had many wives. In this talk (24 mins) we will learn about three of them, Michal, Abigail, and (through a guest lesson) Bathsheba.

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Hebrew words:

  • Mikhál = brook
  • 'Avigail = my father is joy
  • Bath-sheva' = daughter of the oath

David's wives:

  • Ahinoam, Maachah, Haggith, Abital, Eglah
  • Michal, Abigail, Bathsheba—and possibly more
  • Note: this does not include concubines (secondary wives)

Michal: 1 Sam 14:50; 18:20, 28; 19:11-17; 25:44; 2 Sam 3:13; 6:14-15; 16-23; 1 Chr 15:29

What we learn about Michal:

  • She is Saul's daughter; there was a political dimension to the marriage.
  • She loves David, but is tempted to control him.
  • Michal she has a sharp tongue, and can be sarcastic.
  • She is scandalized by his expressive worship, despising her husband. Yet her critical attitude is based on her opinion. David did not dishonor anyone.
  • David seems to respond by withdrawing conjugal love from her—unless the Lord was disciplining her by denying her children. (I lean towards to former possibility.)
  • Are we sometimes like Michal, embarrassed by others' expressions of religious fervor, or evangelistic bluntness, or strong biblical convictions? Do we care too much about our own reputation?

Abigail: 1 Sam 25:14-42; 30:5, 18

What we learn about Abigail:

  • She is beautiful and intelligent.
  • Whereas her husband lacked character and integrity, she was abounding in these qualities.
  • Like Michal, she can think on her feet—and she is discreet.
  • Like Michal, Abigail was connected to a controlling, ungodly, manipulative man.
  • She is diplomatic—a "defuser," not a "detonator." (Most men greatly need such voices of reason in their lives.)
  • She is "rescued" twice by David. Interestingly, Michal too is removed from David, then restored.
  • How about us? Are we wise, able to defuse sensitive situations? And if for the moment we are locked into a negative or abusive relationship, are we patiently waiting for the Lord to bring about a change?

Bathsheba: 2 Sam 11-12; 1 Ki 1-2

  • She's the most famous (and beautiful) of his wives.
  • David raped her. The power differential was so great, she could hardly have refused his summons to the palace. See Brent Nessler's excellent article in JBL 142, no. 1 [2023], 91-109.)
  • For more about David and Bathsheba, please listen to the amazing keynote message on Bathsheba given by Sara Barton at the Pepperdine Bible Lectures, 2 May 2019.

What the three wives have in common:

  • All were married to other men, not only to David.
  • Abigail and Bathsheba marry David after their husbands die. Michal doesn't marry as a widow, but she too is separated from her husband and remarried.
  • These remarkable women learn the political game. Bathsheba apparently learned quickly. Michal was less successful. Abigail is already exhibits maturity and wisdom when we first meet her.

What we learn about God:

  • God works for the good, altering our life circumstances. This is obvious in Abigail's life, and could have been in Michal's, too. Abigail is the wiser of the two. To some degree, God works things out for us in proportion to the wisdom and spirituality of our decisions. Although Bathsheba must have experienced a good deal of pain, God works through her life, too.
  • God isn't necessarily on the side of the rich and powerful. Nabal dies for his wickedness. So does Saul. David is condemned for his adultery and murder. God's righteousness is always more important than the things we tend to value: power, comfort, pleasure...
  • Women are important characters on the world stage, valued and loved in the grand scheme of God's wise and providential will. Let's determine to pay attention to all the men and women of the Bible. We just might learn something.