II Samuel: Michal and David’s Unhappy Reunion

After all these victories, David decided to bring the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem. So he took his army, 30,000 strong, to the priest’s house where it was kept, so they could form the processional guard for its long march to Jerusalem.

The army and worshipers made a grand parade around the Ark, singing and playing lyres and harps, castanets, cymbals, and tambourines. The Ark itself was loaded onto a cart that was driven by the priest’s sons, Uzzah and Ahio. Unfortunately, the oxen stumbled over a rut, causing the cart to jolt. Uzzah reached out a hand to steady the Ark, and this unseemly touch angered God so much that It smote him right there for his impertinence.

The parade stopped in fear and confusion. David was angry that God disrupted his celebration, but also terrified that God might smite him too. He also totally decided that the Ark was a dangerous thing, and maybe it wasn’t a great idea to have it anywhere near Jerusalem. So he told Ahio to store it nearby, at the house of some guy named Obed-edom.

Three months later, David kept hearing reports that Obed-edom and his whole establishment had been having unwonted prosperity since the Ark had been left there. This made David change his mind and decide that maybe the Ark was actually a lucky thing, so he gathered back up the parade to march the Ark into the city. This time, David led the parade, dancing and leaping and singing and shouting–and wearing nothing but a linen ephod.

From the palace windows, Michal spied this spectacle. Her lips curled in disgust. All her anger at this man welled up–this man who had caused so much strife in her family, who had had her dragged away from her children, her husband, her happy home to this uncertain position in his ever-growing harem of wives and concubines. This middle-aged man who now forgot himself and danced half naked with the lowest peasant wenches in his city!

When David came home from the city-wide feast he had thrown, perhaps Michal was waiting for him. Or perhaps he went to her expecting sex. In any case, she was all, Don’t touch me. You disgust me. Why don’t you go to one of those peasants with whom you were cavorting earlier!

David was all, Whatevs. God loves me better than he ever did your father or anyone in your father’s family–including you. In fact, everyone loves me. So despise me all you want. I don’t need your love.

And Michal was barren for the rest of her life, which the Bible makes seem like a curse, but which I read as meaning she never let him have sex with her again.

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