A Lesson About Pride and Humility

AN INCIDENT in the life of King David highlights the difference between true humility and wicked pride. It happened after David had conquered Jerusalem and made it his capital city. David looked to Jehovah as the real King of Israel, so he arranged for the Ark, which symbolized God’s presence, to be brought into the city. This event was so important to David that he showed his joy for all to see as he followed the priests who carried the Ark. The inhabitants of Jerusalem saw their king “skipping about” and “dancing . . . with all his power.”​—1 Chronicles 15:15, 16, 29; 2 Samuel 6:11-16.

David’s wife Michal, however, did not join that joyful procession. She watched from a window, and rather than admiring David’s way of directing praise to Jehovah, she “began to despise him in her heart.” (2 Samuel 6:16) Why did Michal feel this way? Evidently, she attached too much importance to being the daughter of Israel’s first king, Saul, and now the wife of Israel’s second king. She could have felt that her husband, the king, should not have lowered himself to the level of the common people and shared in their mode of celebrating. Such haughty feelings were revealed in the way she greeted David when he returned home. With sarcasm she said: “How glorious the king of Israel made himself today when he uncovered himself today to the eyes of the slave girls of his servants, just as one of the empty-headed men uncovers himself outright!”​—2 Samuel 6:20.

How did David react to this criticism? David gave Michal a rebuke by stating that Jehovah had rejected her father, Saul, in favor of him. David added: “I will make myself even more lightly esteemed than this, and I will become low in my eyes; and with the slave girls whom you mentioned, with them I am determined to glorify myself.”​—2 Samuel 6:21, 22.

Yes, David was determined to keep on serving Jehovah with humility. This attitude helps us to understand why Jehovah called David “a man agreeable to my heart.” (Acts 13:22; 1 Samuel 13:14) In fact, David was following the finest example of humility​—that of Jehovah God himself. Interestingly, the expression David used when he said to Michal, “I will become low” is from a Hebrew root verb that is also used to describe God’s own view of mankind. Although Jehovah is the greatest Personage in the universe, Psalm 113:6, 7 describes him as “condescending [coming down from one’s rank or dignity in dealing with an inferior] to look on heaven and earth, raising up the lowly one from the very dust; he exalts the poor one from the ashpit itself.”

Since Jehovah is humble, it is no wonder that he hates the “lofty eyes” of proud people. (Proverbs 6:16, 17) For displaying this wicked trait and disrespecting the one God had chosen as king, Michal was denied the privilege of bearing a son to David. She died childless. What an important lesson for us! All who want God’s favor must follow these words: “Gird yourselves with lowliness of mind toward one another, because God opposes the haughty ones, but he gives undeserved kindness to the humble ones.”​—1 Peter 5:5.