Tuesday, April 26, 2011
Michal: A Novel (The Wives of King David)
Not much is known about Michal, daughter of King Saul, in the Old Testament. We do know that she was David's first wife,she had no children of her own, and that David paid Saul a dowry of 100 enemy lives for her hand in marriage. There is a lot to be discovered about Michal's life. If you read about King Saul and David's relationship, you probably overlook the little inserts about Michal. She was a princess, she led a privileged life, and she married very young. She had hopes and dreams. She helped David escape from her father before disaster struck. That's the gist of her life...
Smith takes the small references to David's first wife and creates a story that immediately draws you in. Throughout the book, Smith draws upon scripture and connects it to the happenings in Michal's journey. You can tell she really did her research. Instead of just being a small role in David's life, Michal is portrayed as his first young love. Michal falls in love with the handsome, young harpist. It's a sweet, honest relationship and it warms your heart to see their marriage develop. When David runs from the wrath of King Saul and has to leave Michal behind, you can almost feel their despair and pain. You see her quick thinking in action and her strong will. The story is told from several points of view and gives a deeper perspective of all the forces playing out in David and Michal's lives. We all know that David sought a strong relationship with God, but what do we know about Michal? Smith has filled in the blanks to try to imagine the unknown. The greatest theme in this story is Michal's acceptance of God and finally allowing Him to come into her life. It's a bittersweet ending to a powerful story.
I read my Bible and I admit that many of the smaller, briefly mentioned characters are often overlooked. I tend to forget how each one had a life, may have played a slightly greater role than is written, and has a story to tell. From the historical view of it, I am deeply fascinated with how people lived throughout the Bible. Their day to day life is captivating to me. In this novel, details are given and people are real. There is an emphasis on God's grace, mercy and love weaving in and out of the characters' lives. One of the greatest stories in the Old Testament is brought to life! By the end of the book, you realize how bad King Saul was towards the end of his life, how deeply David loved the Lord, and the time it took for David to actually become king.
I highly recommend this book....even if you're never read Biblical fiction.... it's worth a try. Jill Eileen Smith has also written two other novels about King David's other wives. Smith has given a story to Abigail and Bathsheba. I guarantee these two will be on my reading list next! Click here to check out her Amazon page.