Merab, Saul’s Mute and Muffled Daughter
Merab, Saul’s older daughter, is first mentioned in the genealogy of the royal family in 1 Sam. 14:49. Merab’s name returns only twice after that, in the short episode of her proposed betrothal to David in 1 Samuel 18:17–19. Merab’s fleeting appearance here may lead us to wonder about her life and character. At first she is presented as a princess and potential bride for David; in the end, she is the wife of Adriel the Meholathite. Merab, present yet absent, is not the only character in this scene. Also involved are the two men who in practice govern her destiny: Saul and David. Hovering above the voices of these two men, as they haggle over her fate, is Merab’s silence that is not broken even when she was given to Adriel the Meholathite. Merab is just one more item in the list of conditions that Saul sets for David in their dialogue—but meant, in fact, to be a death-trap for her intended husband. Nowhere in this proposal of marriage is there any reference to her feelings or emotions. Both Merab and Adriel, are enveloped in silence and are ostensibly not involved in the events linked to the House of Saul.
The article examines the figure of Merab, daughter of Saul and wife of Adriel the Meholathite. The questions about her place in the story and the very need for her to appear in it underlies the discussion and will be answered by a surprising solution….
Key Words: Merab; King Saul; David; Marriage in Biblical times; Genealogy; Royal Family; Secondary character; Literary structure
To cite this document:
Keren, O. & Taragan, H. (2015). Merab, Saul’s Mute and Muffled Daughter. Journal of Biblical Literature, 134 (1), 85-103.
Journal of Biblical Literature