As we observed in the profile of Merab’s younger sister, Michal, both of these girls were the first princesses of Israel because their father, Saul, was the first King. Before Saul gave Michal to David, he first promised to give him Merab if David served him bravely and fought the battles of Israel. David did exactly that, but jealousy caused Saul not to keep his promise. Instead of giving Merab to David, he gave her to Adriel of Meholah to marry. You can read all about this in 1 Samuel (14:49; 18:17, 19). Adriel and Merab had five sons together, but unfortunately these sons were killed by the Gibeonites as revenge for what Saul had done to them (2 Samuel 21:8-9).
This is all the Scripture that we have on Merab, the oldest daughter of Saul. We don’t know how she reacted to her father’s broken promise about her marrying the future king of Israel. We don’t know how she handled the horrible green-eyed monster that her father became in his obsessive pursuit to get rid of David. We don’t know how she reacted to the deaths of her father and brother, Jonathan, at the hands of the Philistines. We don’t know how she dealt with the horrible deaths of her five sons (although, some believe that she died young and was not around when this happened). Whatever the case, if the musical Annie had been around back then, I’m almost certain Merab would have readily sang ‘it’s a hard-knock life for me!”