Article: 2 Samuel 21:8 Michal or Merab? by Will Kinney

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2 Samuel 21:8 Michal or Merab?

In 2 Samuel 21:8 we read: "and the five sons of MICHAL the daughter of Saul, whom she brought up for Adriel..." Since Michal was childless until her death, it was asked how could she have five sons. The NASB and NIV have changed this to MERAB, the sister of Michal.

First of all, the Hebrew Masoretic text clearly says: "and the five sons of MICHAL the daughter of Saul, whom she brought up for Adriel..." Notice it says "brought up FOR Ariel".

The first English version to change the Hebrew text was the liberal Revised Standard Version. Since then others like the NASB, RSV, NRSV, Holman Standard, and NIV editors have followed suit. They do not believe God has preserved His words, look at this verse and think the Hebrew texts must be wrong. So they correct it, supposedly on the basis of a couple of Hebrew mss (but not the Masoretic) and SOME LXX. The NIV footnote says most Hebrew manuscripts and most LXX read Michal. My copy of the LXX says Michal, which agrees with the KJB.

The 2001 English Standard Version also changes the Hebrew text from Michal to Merab and then footnotes: "Two Hebrew manuscripts, Septuagint; most Hebrew manuscripts Michal" Why didn't they mention the Syriac? Well, most likely because the Syriac reads: "NADAB the daughter of Saul".

Not at all surprisingly, Daniel "scribal error" Wallace's NET version also adopts the phony reading of Merab instead of the correct Michal.

I believe God puts many things like this in His word to cause unbelievers to stumble. The perverted bible versions that read MERAB instead of MICHAL are the NASB, NIV, RSV, NRSV, ESV, NET, Holman Standard, and the New English bible among other modern pretenders.

The Hebrew-English translations of both 1917 and 1936, Judaica Press Tanach, Hebrew Names Bible, Complete Jewish Bible, Wycliffe 1395, Coverdale 1535, Bishops' Bible 1568, the Geneva Bible 1599, the Italian Diodati, the French Martin 1744, and Ostervald 1996, the Spanish Reina Valera 1909-1995, Luther German 1545, Webster's 1833, Young's, Darby, Revised Version 1881, American Standard Version 1901, Rotherham's Emphasized bible 1902, Green's interlinear, the Third Millenium Bible, 21st Century KJV, as well as the NKJV correctly read Michal- which is what God's preserved Hebrew masoretic text says.

Now for the explanation. Merab was the sister of Michal, and she was the wife of Adriel. See I Samuel 18:19. Michal was childless till the day of her death, as is seen in 2 Samuel 6:23. What must have happened is that Merab died, and Michal took her place in the nuclear family and brought up these 5 children

Jamieson, Fauccett and Brown comment: "the five sons of Michal the daughter of Saul, whom she brought up for Adriel--Merab, Michal's sister, was the wife of Adriel; but Michal adopted and brought up the boys under her care."

John Gill comments: "Michal had no children to the day of her death, nor was she the wife of Adriel, but Merab her sister, (1 Samuel 18:19); wherefore these sons were not whom she "bare", as the word used signifies, but, as we rightly render it, whom she "brought up" or educated, so the Targum, her sister being dead; and so the Jews say Merab brought them forth, and Michal brought them up, therefore they were called by her name."

Even if you translate the word as "born to", which the KJB rightly did not, you need to use some close scrutiny to see how this word is sometimes used. In Ruth 4:17 the exact same word is used in the phrase "There is a son BORN TO Naomi." Now Naomi was not the biological mother of this child, but Ruth was. Even here in this same chapter of 2 Samuel 21 in verse 22 we read of the brothers of the Giant Goliath, and it says "these four were BORN to the giant". God sometimes uses this word to mean "born in relation to a family member". The KJB is correct, and the NASB and NIV are false perversions written by "good, godly, pious" unbelievers. That is the unvarnished truth.

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