Have you ever wished you could have been born to a wealthy family? An important family? A good-looking family? A family in which you could have anything you want whenever you want it? Have you ever wondered what your life would be like if your last name were Rockefeller or Kennedy or Walton (the Wal-Mart bunch, not the John Boy bunch)?
Wouldn’t it be great to live a “carefree” life? Would being born into that kind of family guarantee a “carefree” life?
Let’s look at Merab… she was King Saul’s oldest daughter…
– Offered as a Reward for Valor… 1Samuel 17:25-27
Merab is first mentioned (though not by name) during the confrontation between David & Goliath. King Saul had promised his daughter’s hand in marriage, along with riches and a lifetime exemption from taxes, to whoever could kill the Philistine giant. David volunteered for the job – not so much for the reward as for defending the honor of God’s name.
Can you imagine what it might have been like to be married to someone like David? He was soooooo handsome. And he’d just killed the giant named Goliath; everyone knew who he was! To have been promised to the mightiest warrior was one thing – that it was David was just icing on the cake!
It would be a long year of waiting for the promised wedding to take place…
– Bait in King Saul’s Trap… 1Samuel 18:17-27
After killing Goliath, King Saul did not immediately give David his princess… maybe because David was too young, or maybe because he was wanting to string David along. David was growing more and more popular among the people; King Saul was becoming more jealous and paranoid. Saul had been chosen to be king because he was Big Man On Campus. But, eventually, there will always be the next Big Man On Campus.
2 times, King Saul tried, unsuccessfully, to kill David with a spear. When that failed, King Saul began sending David on dangerous military missions; promising the same reward David had already earned… Merab’s hand in marriage (v.17,18).
All along, King Saul was just hoping the Philistines would kill David for him. Saul’s plan backfired. David wasn’t eager to marry Merab. He continued to succeed against the Philistines, getting more popular with each victory. And, by the time David got back from the battlefield, Merab was married to someone else(v.19-21)!
The same scene unfolded again when Michal fell in love with David. David was probably closer in age with Merab’s younger sister, Michal. Saul was really no more interested in marrying his younger daughter to David than he was his oldest daughter. So, he arranged a “dowry” that should have killed David… but didn’t (v.27b).
This time, when King Saul gave his daughter, David took her as his wife. But, she, too, would eventually be given to another man (1Samuel 25:44).
– Lineage Sacrificed for Saul’s Sins… 2Samuel 21:3-8
Merab is unmentioned for many years, until quite a while after Saul was dead and David was king. David had asked the Gibeonites to find out how he could make restitution for King Saul’s attempt to annihilate them (Israel had sworn an oath to spare the Gibeonites years before, but, in an incident not recorded in Scripture, King Saul had attacked them).
The Gibeonites asked for 7 male descendants of King Saul… and David obliged, handing over 5 of Merab’s sons, along with 2 other descendants of Saul. The 7 men were executed… and their bodies put on display as a reminder of Saul’s misdeeds.
(The Revised Standard Version says it was Merab. If Michal, since she could have no children, she would have had to adopt these 5 sons that were her sister’s and raised them as her own upon Merab’s & Adriel’s death)
From the outside looking in, Merab should have had it all. Did she?
Maybe others we think should have it all… or do have it all… don’t either.
Envy is an emotion that is rarely based on all the facts… and is NEVER becoming!
You can read Merab’s story in 1 Samuel 14, 17, 18, 25 & 2 Samuel 21.