Michal and David's Argument


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A Heated Argument

One of the most memorable of spousal interchanges in Tanakh is that between David and Michal in Shemuel II 6 after the bringing of the Ark to Yerushalayim.  As Michal watches David dance in front of the Ark, royal dignity abandoned, her heart fills with scorn:

(כ) וַיָּשׇׁב דָּוִד לְבָרֵךְ אֶת בֵּיתוֹ וַתֵּצֵא מִיכַל בַּת שָׁאוּל לִקְרַאת דָּוִד וַתֹּאמֶר מַה נִּכְבַּד הַיּוֹם מֶלֶךְ יִשְׂרָאֵל אֲשֶׁר נִגְלָה הַיּוֹם לְעֵינֵי אַמְהוֹת עֲבָדָיו כְּהִגָּלוֹת נִגְלוֹת אַחַד הָרֵקִים. (כא) וַיֹּאמֶר דָּוִד אֶל מִיכַל לִפְנֵי י"י אֲשֶׁר בָּחַר בִּי מֵאָבִיךְ וּמִכׇּל בֵּיתוֹ לְצַוֺּת אֹתִי נָגִיד עַל עַם י"י עַל יִשְׂרָאֵל וְשִׂחַקְתִּי לִפְנֵי י"י. (כב) וּנְקַלֹּתִי עוֹד מִזֹּאת וְהָיִיתִי שָׁפָל בְּעֵינָי וְעִם הָאֲמָהוֹת אֲשֶׁר אָמַרְתְּ עִמָּם אִכָּבֵדָה. (כג) וּלְמִיכַל בַּת שָׁאוּל לֹא הָיָה לָהּ יָלֶד עַד יוֹם מוֹתָהּ.
(20) Then David returned to bless his household. And Michal the daughter of Saul came out to meet David, and said: 'How did the king of Israel get him honour 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! ' (21) And David said unto Michal: 'Before the Lord, who chose me above thy father, and above all his house, to appoint me prince over the people of the Lord, over Israel, before the Lord will I make merry. (22) And I will be yet more vile than thus, and will be base in mine own sight; and with the handmaids whom thou hast spoken of, with them will I get me honour.' (23) And Michal the daughter of Saul had no child unto the day of her death.

What is it about David's dancing that so upsets Michal?  Why does David respond by commenting about his being chosen as king in place of her father?  How is that relevant to the conversation?   Finally, though David gets the final say and appears to be the victor in this war of words, is he in the right?  How should the actions of both Michal and David be evaluated?

Michal and David's Prior Relationship

In several other instances in Sefer Shemuel, the narrative discusses David and Michal's relationship.  How, if at all, do the couple's prior interactions shed light on their behavior in Chapter 6?

Do any of the above stories provide insight into the heated exchange of Chapter 6?  Have Michal and David had a strong or rocky relationship?

Additional Questions

The brief passage raises several smaller questions as well: