1 Samuel 18:17-29 – David Becomes Saul’s Son-in-Law


1 Samuel 18:17-29


After refusing his first opportunity with Saul’s daughter, Merab, David takes up Saul’s cynical offer to become his son-in-law by marrying Michal. In the process, David foils Saul’s attempt to kill him. 


Saul has fallen a long way from the warrior king. Instead of leading Israel against its enemies, Saul attempts to use his enemies to kill his rival, David. Saul offered to let David marry his daughter Merab, if David would be willing to continue to fight the Philistines. David did not count his pedigree as worthy enough to marry into the royal line, however. This is probably a veiled admission that David could not afford the bride price to marry a king’s daughter. Bride price is when money and resources go from the groom’s family to the bride’s. A dowry is when money and resources go from the bride’s family to the groom’s. 

Saul seeks to use another daughter to engage David in a losing battle against the Philistines and offers Michal as a potential spouse. This time, Saul understands that David is unable to pay an expensive bride price, and names the price as only one hundred Philistine foreskins. In one of the grossest episodes in the Hebrew Bible, David and his men slayed two hundred Philistines, removed their foreskins, and then presented the fullness of them [counted them out] for Saul (1 Samuel 18:27). Instead of inducing David to a fatal fight against the Philistines, Saul made David part of his own family while providing an opportunity for David to increase his renown.