2 Samuel 3:14
And David sent messengers to Ishbosheth Saul's son, saying, Deliver me my wife Michal, which I espoused to me for an hundred foreskins of the Philistines.
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(14) To Ish-bosheth.—The demand is made upon the de facto king that all may be done legally, and David may not appear to be reclaiming his wife by force. At the same time, Ish-bosheth is thus compelled to acknowledge the wrong done to David and his inability to refuse his demand. It appears from 2Samuel 3:16 that Abner was employed to execute the command, and, in fact, the whole matter was really determined by him, the king being merely the official and legal instrument.

An hundred foreskins.—David had actually delivered to Saul as her dowry two hundred, but only one hundred had been required (1Samuel 18:25; 1Samuel 18:27), and therefore only that number is mentioned.

2 Samuel 3:14. David sent messengers to Ish-bosheth — We are not informed what answer Abner gave to David when he required the forementioned condition of him. But it is probable he let him know, as the truth was, that it was not in his power to bring Michal to him without Ish-bosheth’s consent, whose sister, as well as subject, she was; at least that it was not safe to attempt it, and therefore advised him to send to her brother, who could not easily deny what he desired. Be this as it may, David sent to Ish- bosheth, and thereby opened to him a door of hope for reconciliation, lest, being desperate, he should use every possible means to hinder Abner from his present design. Saying, Deliver me my wife — Who, though she was taken from me by force, and constrained to marry another, yet is my rightful wife. David demands her, both for the affection he still retained for her, and upon a political consideration, that she might strengthen his title to the kingdom.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.Sent messengers to Ish-bosheth - Not to Abner, for the league between David and Abner was a profound secret, but to Ish-bosheth who, David knew, must act, feeble as he was, at Abner's dictation. Abner's first act of overt allegiance to David was thus done at Ish-bosheth's bidding; and the effect of the humiliation laid upon Ish-bosheth in exposing his weakness to his own subjects, and so shaking their allegiance to him, was such that Abner needed to use no more disguise. 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. Ish-bosheth’s consent was necessary, both to take her away from her present husband, and to persuade her to return to David. Hereby David opened to him also a door of hope for his reconciliation, lest being desperate he should hinder Abner in his present design.

My wife Michal; who, though she was taken from me by force, and constrained to marry another, 1 Samuel 25:44, yet is indeed my rightful wife. Her David demands, partly, for the affection he formerly had and still retained to her; partly, to deliver her from the sin and reproach of adultery with another man, who was not in truth and justice her husband, though he was so called and accounted; and partly, upon a politic consideration, that she might strengthen his right and title to the kingdom. And David sent messengers to Ishbosheth, Saul's son,.... When Abner's messengers returned to him, and acquainted him with the condition of David's entering into a league with him, it is highly probable that Abner sent them or others to David, to let him know that he could not do this of himself; that it was advisable for him to write to Ishbosheth, whose sister she was, and demand her of him; and that then he would use his interest with Ishbosheth to grant it, and this method David took:

saying, deliver me my wife Michal, which I espoused to me for an hundred foreskins of the Philistines; two arguments he made use of to enforce his demand; one is, that it was his wife he required, to whom he had a right, and no other man; and the other is, that he had purchased her at a great expense, at the risk of his life, in slaying an hundred Philistines, whose foreskins he paid in for her at the instance of Saul; he mentions but one hundred, though he gave two hundred as her dowry, no more being required than one hundred; see 1 Samuel 18:25. Josephus very wrongly says six hundred (b); the Syriac and Arabic have here two hundred.

(b) Antiqu. l 7. c. 1. sect. 4.

And David sent messengers to Ishbosheth Saul's son, saying, Deliver me my wife Michal, which I espoused to me for an hundred foreskins of the Philistines.
14. David sent messengers to Ish-bosheth] The acceptance of the condition by Abner is implied, but the formal demand was made from Ish-bosheth, who was powerless to resist the will of his master. Thus the restoration of Michal took place openly as a public act of justice; it clearly exhibited the strength of David and the weakness of Ish-bosheth; it gave Abner opportunity to go to Hebron as Michal’s escort, and mature his plans for deposing Ish-bosheth.

which I espoused, &c.] Saul proposed the slaughter of an hundred Philistines as the price of Michal’s hand in lieu of dowry: David paid him double (1 Samuel 18:25; 1 Samuel 18:27).Verse 14. - A hundred foreskins. This was the number which Saul had required (1 Samuel 18:25), and David acted rightly in not boasting that he had really given twice as many (1 Samuel 18:27). As he had paid her father the stipulated price, Michal, by Oriental law, was David's property. Abner was so enraged at Ishbosheth's complaint, that he replied, "Am I a dog's head, holding with Judah? To-day (i.e., at present) I show affection to the house of Saul thy father, towards his brethren and his friends, and did not let thee fall into the hand of David, and thou reproachest me to-day with the fault with the woman?" "Dog's head" is something thoroughly contemptible. ליהוּדה עשׁר, lit. which (belongs) to Judah, i.e., holds with Judah.
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