Summary: We sometimes forget that David was human and would enjoy companionship. One day he found his first true love and she was closer than he ever thought possible.
Introduction: David was a young man when Samuel anointed him to be king over Israel and only a few years older, most likely, when he went into battle against Goliath. In the days and months afterwards, God was with him and blessed him in every way.
But something that was not mentioned is David’s implied loneliness. True, he may have been too busy at the time to consider starting a family or even attempting to find his true love but somehow, the stirrings for a companion must have started to flow through him.
Strangely, his first true love was closer than he ever thought! She was right there in the king’s palace. She was the king’s youngest daughter!
And her name was Michal.
I. Michal loved David enough to marry him
Text, 1 Samuel 18:20, 26-27 (KJV): 20 And Michal Saul's daughter loved David: and they told Saul, and the thing pleased him. . . . 26 And when his servants told David these words, it pleased David well to be the king's son in law: and the days were not expired. 27 Wherefore David arose and went, he and his men, and slew of the Philistines two hundred men; and David brought their foreskins, and they gave them in full tale to the king, that he might be the king's son in law. And Saul gave him Michal his daughter to wife.
This is a beautiful, but brief, summary of Michal’s and David’s falling in love with each other. The text does not say when they first began to notice each other, when they spoke to each other, or if they had any common interests. After all, Saul had been a keeper of livestock before he was crowned king (compare 1 Samuel 9:3 and 10:14-16 with 11:5-7) and David had been a shepherd (1 Sam. 16) so they may have found something to talk about. She might have even listened to David’s stories about how he chased away the lion and bear when they were looking for a dinner of fresh mutton!
But as beautiful as this love story may have been in the beginning, there was another side to this story, and it was anything but beautiful. Michal, we remember, was the daughter of King Saul. Saul absolutely hated David even though David had done nothing wrong according to the text. In the past, David had played music for the king and he had even fought for the king and his country, apparently seeking nothing in return (1 Samuel 16:14-23 and 18:1-10). Saul even threw a javelin or spear at David, trying to kill him (1 Sam. 18:10-11)!
Then Saul came up with a plan to get rid of David once and for all. He would, and did, dangle his oldest daughter as bait or a prize if David would “fight the Lord’s battles (1 Sam 18:17)” He most likely meant fighting the Philistines as they were Israel’s greatest enemies in those days.
The text does not record what or what kind of battles David fought for the king, but he was apparently gone long enough for Merab, Saul’s oldest daughter, to be married off to Adriel the Meholathite (about whom we know little). Could it be that Saul had engaged in a bit of “sorry, not sorry” in this case? Besides, there is no mention in the text where David had expressed any desire for Merab, nor she for him. David, then, may have felt it was no great loss.
Saul then proposed another quest for David. In verses 21-25, the text has the story of Saul’s plan to again get rid of David by sending him on what was basically a suicide mission. In brief, David would have had to kill 100 Philistine men in order to bring back the “proof” or evidence. The evidence, by the way, would not be easy to obtain from a living man, no matter what nation he was from! And Saul must have felt, when David left on this mission, that he was going to be free of David, he would be singing and making music instead of David, and his kingdom would endure for a long time to come. Oh yeah, did we mention, he hoped he would be free of David?
Saul, however, didn’t count on the Providence of God in taking care of David. David and his men (the number is not given) went to the Philistines, all right, and got the 100 pieces of evidence that Saul required. Oh, by the way, they got another 100 for a total of 200! Then David and his men brought the whole collection to the king as proof he had completed the quest.
Now what could Saul do? He had laid down a challenge, and David had fulfilled it. Saul had made plans for David to be killed but the LORD God of Israel did not let that happen. There was nothing else Saul could do but allow David and Michal, his daughter, to get married. Of course, the text mentions nothing about the ceremony itself, if there was one, but a ceremony does not make a marriage, nor does a wedding make a marriage. Weddings and ceremonies so often are for show, and simply do not reflect a genuine love between groom and bride (God’s definition of marriage, by the way). Without love, a real marriage cannot last. David and Michal seemed to have plenty of genuine love for each other and a desire to make their marriage a success.