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MICHAL (Heb. מִיכַל), the youngest daughter of King *Saul (Sam. 14:49), who loved *David and was given to him in marriage after he had killed 200 Philistines (in the Septuagint – 100). Michal's father had insisted on this as the condition for the marriage contract – "a hundred Philistines' foreskins," instead of a dowry (18:27–29), hoping of course that David would lose his life in the attempt to collect them. Michal, who loved David, was given to him instead of *Merab the elder, who had been promised to him but had been given to *Adriel the Meholathite (17:15; 18:17–20).

Michal demonstrated her loyalty to David in deceiving her father's messengers, who had been sent to murder David in his own home (19:17ff.). By the time Saul's messengers discovered the deceit, David had had time to escape. Later Saul gave Michal to *Paltiel son of Laish from Gallim (25:44). When David reigned in Hebron, he asked Ish-Bosheth, the son of Saul, to bring Michal back apparently under pressure from Abner, who was about to defect to David. He did in fact take her from her husband and restore her to David (II Sam. 3:12–16). No doubt the demand was politically motivated, at least in part. David was trying to induce Israel (the northern tribes) to follow the example of Judah and accept him as its king (II Sam. 2:5–7), and his marriage to a daughter of Saul who might become the mother of his successor would be an added inducement to the men of Israel to act upon his suggestion. When David leaped and danced in front of the Ark as it was brought to Jerusalem, Michal jeered that he had exposed himself "as one of the vain fellows shamelessly uncovers himself." David answered her in anger, referring to his being chosen as king, "above thy father, and above all his house" (6:16, 20–23). Michal remained childless (6:23). The masoretic text of II Samuel 21:8 mentions five children of Michal by *Adriel of Meholah, but the latter was in fact the husband of Merab (see above). Some versions (LXX, the Syriac; cf. Sanh. 19b) have Merab here instead of Michal.


Bright, Hist, 172, 176–7, 186; de Vaux, Anc Isr, index, S.V. Mikal; Morgenstern, in: ZAW, 49 (1931), 54–55; Stoebe, in: ZAWB, 77 (1958), 224–43; EM, S.V. incl. bibl.

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2007 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.