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How to steal another man’s wife

It’s not so hard to steal another man’s wife if you’re a king:

And Abner sent messengers to David on his behalf, saying, “To whom does the land belong? Make your covenant with me, and behold, my hand shall be with you to bring over all Israel to you.” And he said, “Good; I will make a covenant with you. But one thing I require of you; that is, you shall not see my face unless you first bring Michal, Saul’s daughter, when you come to see my face.” Then David sent messengers to Ish-bosheth, Saul’s son, saying, “Give me my wife Michal, for whom I paid the bridal price of a hundred foreskins of the Philistines.” And Ish-bosheth sent and took her from her husband Paltiel the son of Laish. But her husband went with her, weeping after her all the way to Bahurim. Then Abner said to him, “Go, return.” And he returned. (2 Sam 3:12-16; emphasis mine.)

I put it to you that King David ended up as a nasty, sleazy piece of work because he always was (1 Kgs 1:1-4, 2 Sam 11).

Nevertheless, the New Testament encourages us to follow his example (Rom 4:4-8).

8 thoughts on “How to steal another man’s wife

  1. You’re right Gordon – even David says:

    Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me. Psalm 51:5

    I don’t know why I always thought of him only as a man after God’s own heart, until he commits adultery with Bathsheba. But I’m not sure I understand what your point is.

  2. Yes,  I’m not sure what the point was exactly either.  BTW, wasn’t Michal David’s wife before Saul gave her away after David fled from him?

  3. Okay Gordon, I am going to take the bait and possibly appear a fool.
    Aren’t we all “nasty, sleazy piece(s)of work”?
    I get that, but I don’t get what you are trying to say.
    Please explain for me and the rest of the lurkers out there who don’t want to go to bed tonight still wondering about this post.

  4. I was just hoping people would click through on the Romans 4:4-8 link and say ‘A-ha!’

    Those verses say:

    <i>4 Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. 5 And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness, 6 just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works:

    7 “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven,
    and whose sins are covered;
    8 blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.”</i>

    So yes, Lucy, we are all by nature nasty sleazy whatsits; no need to follow anyone’s example when it comes to that.

    Where David was distinctive (although not unique—Romans 4 points to another fine sleazebag, namely Abraham) is that he acknowledged his sin and looked to the one who would credit him righteousness apart from works—God alone.

    <i>That’s</i> the example of David that we should be following!

    Sorry for any confusion, and as they say in the classics, “Do not commit adultery”.

  5. Jamie, yes, Michal had been given to David as a wife, and then to another man, Paltiel (1 Sam 18:27, cf. 1 Sam 25:44), who is subsequently spoken of as her husband by the writer of 2 Sam (2 Sam 3:15-16). They had weirdo marriage arrangements in those days. Come to think of it, we have weirdo marriage arrangements these days.

    I reckon it’s one of those situations where 2 or 3, or 4 wrongs don’t end up making even one fraction of a right.

  6. I do think we’re prone to cut David in particular way too much slack and to give him the benefit of the doubt because God, in His grace, used (very) ordinary men to do extraordinary things. If we read these stories without a pedestal mentality, David’s sinful humanity is evident all over the place—even later in his life. Which, of course, makes God’s mercy and grace only that much more overwhelming! I find that people are relieved when they hear that we don’t need to excuse David in the least for his bad behavior, even though it WAS David.

    [I think also that the willingness of Scripture to canonize these stories of its “heroes” is an amazing testimony to its truthfulness in other areas as well!]

  7. Thanks Gordon.  I have now been outed as a non clicker-through.  To my shame it did not even occur to me that the answer was there in the passage. I was fooled by the title. D’oh.

  8. hmmmm… in 1Kings 11:6 David gets a clean bill of health:
    “So Solomon did evil in the eyes of the LORD; he did not follow the LORD completely, as David his father had done.”
    So may be Romans is right and at least in regard to following the LORD completely we should imitate David?

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