How could Michal have five sons when another verse said she had none?


Please, I need an answer. Can you see any contradiction between II Samuel 6:23 which says Michal had no children to the day of her death and II Samuel 21:8 which says Michal had five sons?


"So David said to Michal, "It was before the LORD, who chose me above your father and above all his house, to appoint me ruler over the people of the LORD, over Israel; therefore I will celebrate before the LORD. I will be more lightly esteemed than this and will be humble in my own eyes, but with the maids of whom you have spoken, with them I will be distinguished." Michal the daughter of Saul had no child to the day of her death" (II Samuel 6:21-23).

The point being made is that David stopped having sex with Michal and that the two of them had no children.

However, Michal was married to another man for a while. Saul originally married Michal to David (I Samuel 18:20-22). Later Saul became angry with David and married his daughter to another man. "But Saul had given Michal his daughter, David's wife, to Palti the son of Laish, who was from Gallim" (I Samuel 25:44). After Saul's death, David demanded his wife back. "So David sent messengers to Ishbosheth, Saul's son, saying, "Give me my wife Michal, whom I betrothed to myself for a hundred foreskins of the Philistines." And Ishbosheth sent and took her from her husband, from Paltiel the son of Laish" (II Samuel 3:14-15).

"So the king took Armoni and Mephibosheth, the two sons of Rizpah the daughter of Aiah, whom she bore to Saul; and the five sons of Michal the daughter of Saul, whom she brought up for Adriel the son of Barzillai the Meholathite" (II Samuel 21:8 NKJV).

"So the king took the two sons of Rizpah the daughter of Aiah, Armoni and Mephibosheth whom she had born to Saul, and the five sons of Merab the daughter of Saul, whom she had born to Adriel the son of Barzillai the Meholathite" (II Samuel 21:8 NASB95).

Notice that the husband's name is wrong. Adriel was married to Merab. "But it happened at the time when Merab, Saul's daughter, should have been given to David, that she was given to Adriel the Meholathite as a wife" (I Samuel 18:19).

"Two of Dr. Kennicott's MSS. have Merab, not Michal; the Syriac and Arabic have Nadab; the Chaldee has properly Merab; but it renders the passage thus:-And the five sons of Merab which Michal the daughter of Saul brought up, which she brought forth to Adriel the son of Barzillai. This cuts the knot" [Adam Clarke's Commentary].

In other words, it is believed that several words were accidentally dropped from II Samuel 21:8 or changed by some copyist. Another thought is that they were Merab's sons, but Michal had taken over their upbringing at some point, perhaps after the death of her sister. For similar wording, "Then Naomi took the child and laid him on her bosom, and became a nurse to him. Also the neighbor women gave him a name, saying, "There is a son born to Naomi." And they called his name Obed. He is the father of Jesse, the father of David" (Ruth 4:16-17). Ruth was Obed's actual mother, but Naomi helped raised him so he was also called Naomi's child.

While we don't know the exact correct answer, there is enough here that we don't need to assume a contradiction.

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