In David’s life there are so many fascinating stories. David and Goliath, David and Saul, David and Jonathan, and so many more interesting relationships. But there is one that has a very teachable application: the women in David’s life. Let’s note two of the lesser known of them.
In 2 Samuel 6 we read of the Ark of God finally being brought to Jerusalem. During this time David is married to Saul’s daughter Michal. When Michal looks at David when the ark is being brought in, she is embarrassed by his behavior. “Now as the ark of the Lord came into the City of David, Michal, Saul's daughter, looked through a window and saw King David leaping and whirling before the Lord; and she despised him in her heart” (2 Samuel 6:16). When David returns from the ceremony he gets some choice words from her about how he “shamelessly uncovered” himself (2 Samuel 6:20). He responded in this way: “…It was before the Lord, who chose me instead of your father and all his house, to appoint me ruler over the people of the Lord, over Israel. Therefore I will play music before the Lord. And I will be even more undignified than this, and will be humble in my own sight. But as for the maidservants of whom you have spoken, by them I will be held in honor.” David knew that he was being humble before God and simply was rejoicing over all the blessings God gave him. Because of this, the relationship between David and Michal was never the same. “Therefore Michal the daughter of Saul had no children to the day of her death” (2 Samuel 6:23).
In 1 Kings the book begins with a very important note about David’s health. It was not going to be long before David passed away and he had a heat retention issue. “Now King David was old, advanced in years; and they put covers on him, but he could not get warm. Therefore his servants said to him, “Let a young woman, a virgin, be sought for our lord the king, and let her stand before the king, and let her care for him; and let her lie in your bosom, that our lord the king may be warm.” So they sought for a lovely young woman throughout all the territory of Israel, and found Abishag the Shunammite, and brought her to the king. The young woman was very lovely; and she cared for the king, and served him; but the king did not know her” (1 Kings 1:1-4). It is hard to miss the addition at the end. The phrase “know her” is a reference to sexual activity, which is an important detail to mention. I think the significance of this is quite clear; David was not intimate with Abishag possibly learning from his mistake with Bathsheba. At the very least it showed this king’s self control in his desire for women.
From Michal the application can be made for the importance of both spouses benign harmony when it comes to praising God. How much strife can be caused when one partner thinks less of the other when they are desirous to give God the glory for great things that are done. In the application for Abishag and David’s relationship, I would like to think that this is written to inform us about the personal growth of David. To see someone who previously committed fornication, conspiracy, and murder to satisfy his lust, then to become so self-controlled that even a beautiful young woman being held by him very close not being a sexual stumbling-block is a wonderful amount of maturation.
And these are just two relationships that David had. There is so much more to learn from this great king.