2 Samuel 6:20-23
Then David returned to bless his household. And Michal the daughter of Saul came out to meet David, and said…
The greatest day of David's life did not end without a cloud. His wife Michal, "Saul's daughter" (ver. 16; 2 Samuel 3:13; 1 Samuel 19:11-17), had not, from whatever cause, gone forth to meet him with the other women (ver. 19)on his return to Jerusalem with the sacred ark; on beholding from a window of the palace, as the procession swept past, the enthusiasm which he displayed, "she despised him in her heart;" and when, after he had blessed the people, he returned to bless his household, she met him with sarcastic reproaches. "When at a distance she scorned him, when he came home she scolded him" (Matthew Henry). "Whereas David came to bless his house, she, through her foolishness, turneth his blessing into a curse" (Willet). Her scorn (like that of others) was -
I. INDULGED IMPROPERLY.
1. Without adequate cause; and even on account of what should have had an opposite effect. Fervent piety is not understood by those who do not possess it, and is therefore wrongly and uncharitably judged of by them (1 Samuel 1:13-18). "In Saul's time public worship was neglected, and the soul for vital religion had died out of the family of the king" (Keil).
2. From want of spiritual sympathy; in love to God and joy in his service. Her religion (like her father's) was marked by superstition, formality, and cold conventional propriety. She "knew nothing of the impulse of Divine love" (Theodoret). "The life from and in God remains a mystery to every one until, through the Spirit of God himself, it is unsealed to his experience" (Krummacher).
3. With a sinful mind - vain, proud, discontented, unwifely, irreverent (Ephesians 5:33), and resentful. "Probably she bitterly resented her violent separation from the household joys that had grown up around him in her second home. Probably the woman who had teraphim among her furniture cared nothing for the ark of God. Probably, as she grew older, her character had hardened in its lines, and become like her father's in its measureless pride, and in its half-dread, half-hatred, of David. And all these motives together pour their venom into her "sarcasm" (Maclaren). She had not "a meek and quiet spirit" (1 Peter 3:4).
II. EXPRESSED OFfENSiVELY. "How glorious the King of Israel made himself today," etc.!
1. At an unseasonable time; when, full of devotional feeling, he was returning from public worship "to bless his household," and when such language was calculated to be a cause of pain and of stumbling. But scoffers are inconsiderate, and reckless of the mischief their words may occasion.
2. With exaggerated statements and misrepresentation of motives. David had neither committed any impropriety, nor been desirous of vain display in the eyes of others, nor careless of affording occasion for their contempt. Mockers often ridicule in others what is really the creation of their own imagination or suspicion, and the reflection of the evil that is in their own hearts.
3. With bitter irony and derision. How keenly it was felt by the sensitive spirit of David may be learnt from what he says of an evil tongue (Psalm 52:2; Psalm 57:4; Psalm 120:3). "Scoffing at religion is irrational; rude and uncivil; a most cruel and unhuman sin; a most hardening vice; its impiety in the sight of God surpasses all description; it is a contagious and injurious vice" (J. A. James).
III. ANSWERED CONCLUSIVELY. By:
1. A sufficient explanation and defence. "It was before Jehovah" that he had "played;" conscious of his presence and desirous of giving him honour. He was not insensible to his own royal dignity; but recognized the surpassing greatness and goodness of Jehovah, from whom it was derived, and acted only in accordance therewith by giving free expression to his humble gratitude and abounding joy. His language was restrained (Psalm 39:1; Psalm 141:3); though not without rebuke of the proud daughter of the king in preference to whom, and all his house, himself had been chosen.
2. An expression of his resolve to proceed still further in his course of self-humiliation (Psalm 131:1).
3. And of his expectation of finding honour instead of reproach among others. In the affectionate regard of those who sympathize with fervent piety, there is abundant compensation for the contempt of those who despise it. "In this incident we have the clue to that spiritual conception of his duties and position which distinguished David from Saul. It was, in fact, his spiritual conception of the true Israel, of the high privileges and duties of worshippers in the holy place, and above all of the privileges and duties of a king, as one who should carry out Jehovah's counsels upon earth, which distinguished David's reign, not only from that of Saul, but from that of any subsequent Jewish monarch" ('The Psalms chronologically arranged,' by Four Friends).
IV. PUNISHED DESERVEDLY. "Michal's childlessness is specially mentioned as a punishment of her pride. This was the deepest humiliation for an Oriental woman" (Erdmann). The scorner:
1. Inflicts a self-injury, by hardening the heart and rendering it less capable of faith, love, hope, sympathy, and joy; more solitary, discontented, useless, and unhappy.
2. Becomes unamiable and odious in the sight of others.
3. Incurs the displeasure of God; for "surely he scorneth the scorners" (Proverbs 3:34). "Now therefore be ye not mockers, lest your bands be made strong" (Isaiah 28:22).
1. Expect to meet with opposition and contempt in your zeal for God. Even Christ himself was despised and mocked.
2. Count it no strange thing, if in your household, which you desire to bless, there should be those who deprive themselves of the blessing and dislike your devotion.
3. Suffer not their scorn to quench your zeal for God and your love for their souls.
4. Seek in Divine fellowship consolation amidst human reproach. - D.
Parallel VersesKJV: Then David returned to bless his household. And Michal the daughter of Saul came out to meet David, and said, How glorious was the king of Israel to day, who uncovered himself to day in the eyes of the handmaids of his servants, as one of the vain fellows shamelessly uncovereth himself!
WEB: Then David returned to bless his household. Michal the daughter of Saul came out to meet David, and said, "How glorious the king of Israel was today, who uncovered himself today in the eyes of the handmaids of his servants, as one of the vain fellows shamelessly uncovers himself!"