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Terry Svik wrote:

Hi, guys —

  1. In 2 Samuel 6:23 it states that Michal the daughter of Saul had no child unto the day of her death.
  2. In 2 Samuel 21:8 it speaks of her five sons.

My question is:

  • Did Michal have children or not?

I am a Catholic who years ago was involved in apologetics. In 2000 I had a defense of infant baptism published in This Rock magazine, I then lost interest in apologetics but am now getting back into it.

Thank you for your reply.


  { Can you explain this confusion in [2 Samuel 6] and [2 Samuel 21] about Michal, Merob, and Merab? }

Bob replied:


The daughter of Saul in 2 Samuel 21:8 is Merob, not Michal.

  1. Merob had five sons.
  2. Michal had 0.

Hope that clears it up.


Bob Kirby

Terry replied:

Hi Bob,

Thank you for your reply.

I checked this again and my Catholic (RSV) Revised Standard Version does say Merab but the (KJB) King James Bible says Michal.

Whenever possible I want to defend the Catholic faith from the (KJB) King James Bible because that is what Fundamentalists use.

God bless.


Bob replied:


It is an error of the (KJB) King James Bible, always check another translation like the (RSVCE) Revised Standard Version — Catholic Edition for something more accurate.


Bob Kirby

Eric replied:


This is a manuscript discrepancy. My RSVCE has a note saying:

Two Hebrew Mss [manuscripts] Gk: Heb Michal

which I believe means that three manuscripts, two Hebrew, and the Greek, say Merab, but another Hebrew manuscript says Michal. But my Septuagint (Brenton) says Michol so I'm not sure which Greek manuscript says Merab. I have an exegetical study that seems to suggest that the Septuagint of Lucian (Lag) uses Merob.

I will point out that 1 Samuel 14:49 says that Saul had two daughters, Merab and Michal.

Merab was given to Adriel the Meholathite as a wife (1 Samuel 18:19), and it was to him she bore the sons (2 Samuel 21:8). But remember that Michal was the wife of David (1 Samuel 18:27) so Michal cannot be the one who had five sons in 2 Samuel 21:8.

Some copyist must have confused Michal for Merab.


John replied:


Bob and Eric have covered the topic pretty well but there actually is an apologetic note of a different sort from this text.

Notice it says that she didn't have any children unto her death. Actually, in the Greek Septuagint translation of the Old Testament they use the same Greek word that is used in the Gospel according to Matthew 1:25, where it says:

And [Joseph] knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son.

That word till is the same Greek word used in the Septuagint in the case of Michal.

That's important because Protestants argue against the Perpetual Virginity of Mary, by saying the till implies they has sex afterwards but, in the Greek, the adverb Heos (Heosως) doesn't imply an action after. If it did, then it would also mean the Michal had children after she was dead.

Hope this helps,


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