2 Samuel 3:13
And he said, Well; I will make a league with thee: but one thing I require of thee, that is, Thou shalt not see my face, except thou first bring Michal Saul's daughter, when thou comest to see my face.
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(13) Except thou first bring Michal.—David consents to negotiate with Abner only on condition of the previous restoration of his lawful wife. Besides the justice of this demand (Michal having been wrongfully taken from him by Saul), and besides all question of affection towards one who had loved him and saved his life (1Samuel 18:20; 1Samuel 19:11-17), there were political reasons of importance for the demand. The demand itself showed to all Israel that he bore no malice against the house of Saul, and the restoration would again constitute him Saul’s son-in-law, and thus further his claims to the throne; while it also showed publicly that he was in a condition to enforce his rights as against the house of Saul.

2 Samuel 3:13. And he said, Well; I will make a league with thee — David agreed to enter into a treaty with him, but upon condition that he procured the restitution of Michal his wife. Hereby David both showed the sincerity of his conjugal affection to his first and most rightful wife, from whom neither her nor his marrying another had alienated it, and also testified his respect to the house of Saul. “David did right in making this stipulation; for, whatever may be said of his other wives, he had certainly a claim to this, as she was his first wife, and a king’s daughter. And there was something of true generosity in this, both to her and to Saul, in that he received her after she had been another man’s, remembering how once she loved him, and knowing, probably, that she was, without her consent, separated from him; and to show that he did not carry his resentment of Saul’s cruel and unjust persecutions of him to any of his family; whereas many princes, for much less provocation of a wife’s father, would have turned off their consorts, in revenge of them, and even put them to death for having been married to another.” — Chandler.

3:7-21 Many, like Abner, are not above committing base crimes, who are too proud to bear reproof, or even the suspicion of being guilty. While men go on in sin, and apparently without concern, they are often conscious that they are fighting against God. Many mean to serve their own purposes; and will betray those who trust them, when they can get any advantage. Yet the Lord serves his own designs, even by those who are thus actuated by revenge, ambition, or lust; but as they intend not to honour him, in the end they will be thrown aside with contempt. There was real generosity both to Michal and to the memory of Saul, in David's receiving the former, remembering probably how once he owed his life to her affection, and knowing that she was separated from him partly by her father's authority. Let no man set his heart on that which he is not entitled to. If any disagreement has separated husband and wife, as they expect the blessing of God, let them be reconciled, and live together in love.David's motive in requiring the restitution of Michal was partly his affection for her, and his memory of her love for him; partly the wish to wipe out the affront put upon him in taking away his wife, by obtaining her return; and partly, also, a politic consideration of the effect on Saul's partisans of a daughter of Saul being David's queen. 12, 13. Abner sent messengers to David—Though his language implied a secret conviction, that in supporting Ish-bosheth he had been laboring to frustrate the divine purpose of conferring the sovereignty of the kingdom on David, this acknowledgment was no justification either of the measure he was now adopting, or of the motives that prompted it. Nor does it seem possible to uphold the full integrity and honor of David's conduct in entertaining his secret overtures for undermining Ish-bosheth, except we take into account the divine promise of the kingdom, and his belief that the secession of Abner was a means designed by Providence for accomplishing it. The demand for the restoration of his wife Michal was perfectly fair; but David's insisting on it at that particular moment, as an indispensable condition of his entering into any treaty with Abner, seems to have proceeded not so much from a lingering attachment as from an expectation that his possession of her would incline some adherents of the house of Saul to be favorable to his cause. I will make a league with thee, to wit, upon thy terms; which, all circumstances considered, seems to be lawful, to prevent the great effusion of Israelitish blood, which otherwise would certainly have been split. And although the principle of this action of Abner’s was base and wicked, yet the action itself was lawful and commendable, and no more than his duty to God and David obliged him to; and therefore David might well persuade and induce him to it.

And he said, well, I will make a league with thee,.... He accepted of the offer, he was ready and willing to enter into a covenant of friendship with him, and forgive all past offences:

but one thing I require of thee; as the condition of this covenant:

that is, thou shall not see my face; be admitted into my presence, or have any mark of my favour and respect:

except thou first bring Michal, Saul's daughter, when thou comest to see my face; he insisted on it that Michal, Saul's daughter, and his wife, should be brought along with him, and presented to him; this was the preliminary to the league and covenant; if this was not complied with, the proposal would not be attended to. This shows the great affection David retained for his first wife, though he had had six since, see 2 Samuel 3:2, and though she had lived with another man, 1 Samuel 25:44; as also his great regard to the honour of Saul's family, that one of them might share with him in the grandeur of the kingdom; though this also might be a piece of policy in him, to gain the friends of Saul's family to him.

And he said, Well; I will make a league with thee: but one thing I require of thee, that is, Thou shalt not see my face, except thou first bring Michal Saul's daughter, when thou comest to see my face.
13. except thou first bring] As the text stands it can only be rendered except on condition of thy bringing. But it looks like a combination of two readings, except thou bring (so the LXX.) and before thou bring (Vulg.).

David’s reasons for demanding the restoration of Michal were probably (a) genuine affection for the wife of his youth who had saved his life (1 Samuel 18:20; 1 Samuel 19:11 ff.); (b) a desire to efface the slight put upon him by the deprivation; (c) a wish to conciliate the good will of the northern tribes by an alliance with Saul’s family.

Verse 13. - Except thou first bring Michal. Besides David's affection for Michal, there were political reasons for demanding her restoration. Saul's despotic act in giving her in marriage to another man (1 Samuel 25:44) had been a public disavowal of David as the son-in-law of the royal house, and equivalent to a proclamation of outlawry. David's rights were all declared null by such an act. But now Ishbosheth must with equal publicity reverse his father's deed, and restore to David his lost position. It must have been a most painful humiliation to him to be driven thus to cancel his father's decree, and declare thereby to all Israel that he was unable to refuse hie assent to whatever his rival demanded. And for this reason David sent his messengers directly to Ishbosheth, because the importance of Michal's surrender to him lay in its being a public act of the state. For Michal, in 2 Samuel 21:8, we ought to read Merab (see note there). 2 Samuel 3:13David assented to the proposal on this condition: "Only one thing do I require of thee, namely, Thou shalt not see my face, unless thou first of all bringest me Michal, the daughter of Saul, when thou comest to see my face." הביאך אם־לפני כּי, "except before thy bringing," i.e., unless when thou hast first of all brought or delivered "Michal to me." This condition was imposed by David, not only because Michal had been unjustly taken away from him by Saul, after he had rightfully acquired her for his wife by paying the dowry demanded, and in spite of her love to him (1 Samuel 18:27; 1 Samuel 19:11-12), and given to another man (1 Samuel 25:44), so that he could demand her back again with perfect justice, and Ishbosheth could not refuse to give her up to him, but probably on political grounds also, namely, because the renewal of his marriage to the king's daughter would show to all Israel that he cherished no hatred in his heart towards the fallen king.
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