7 Aug. 2 Samuel 9:1-13

7 Aug.  David helps Jonathan’s son

“David asked, ‘Is anyone still left in Saul’s family? I want to show kindness to that person for Jonathan’s sake!’

“Now there was a servant named Ziba from Saul’s family. So David’s servants called Ziba to him. King David said to him, ‘Are you Ziba?’ He answered, ‘Yes, I am your servant.’ The king asked, ‘Is anyone left in Saul’s family? I want to show God’s kindness to that person.’”

“Ziba answered the king, ‘Jonathan has a son still living who is crippled in both feet.’ The king asked Ziba, ‘Where is this son?’ Ziba answered, ‘He is at the house of Makir son of Ammiel in Lo Debar.’”

“Then King David had servants bring Jonathan’s son from the house of Makir son of Ammiel in Lo Debar. Mephibosheth, Jonathan’s son, came before David and bowed face down on the floor. David said, ‘Mephibosheth!’ Mephibosheth said, ‘I am your servant.’”

“David said to him, ‘Don’t be afraid. I will be kind to you for your father Jonathan’s sake. I will give you back all the land of your grandfather Saul, and you will always eat at my table.’ Mephibosheth bowed to David again and said, ‘You are being very kind to me, your servant! And I am no better than a dead dog!’”

“Then King David called Saul’s servant Ziba. David said to him, ‘I have given your master’s grandson everything that belonged to Saul and his family. You, your sons and your servants will farm the land and harvest the crops. Then your family will have food to eat. But Mephibosheth, your master’s grandson, will always eat at my table…’”

“Ziba said to King David, ‘I, your servant, will do everything my master, the king, commands me.’ So Mephibosheth ate at David’s table as if he was one of the king’s sons. Mephibosheth had a young son named Mica. Everyone in Ziba’s family became Mephibosheth’s servants. Mephibosheth lived in Jerusalem, because he always ate at the king’s table. And he was crippled in both feet.”

          (2 Samuel 9:1-13)

 

 

The story of Mephibosheth is one of the more tender moments in the Old Testament. It is often portrayed as King David helping a young boy, the son of his best friend Jonathan. But this is not quite accurate, as we’re told that Mephibosheth had a young son of his own, Mica (see 2 Samuel 9:12). So Mephibosheth was a grown man, not a child! And this incident must have happened many years after David became King of Israel.

An account of Mephibosheth’s disability can be found earlier in the 2nd Book of Samuel. According to the narrative, Mephibosheth was 5 years old when the news arrived that his father and grandfather had both been killed at the Battle of Mount Gilboa. On hearing the news, “Mephibosheth’s nurse had picked him up and run away. But as she hurried to leave, she dropped him, and now he was lame.” (2 Samuel 4:4)

Bearing in mind that it was not unusual in those days for rulers to kill the entire extended family of their enemies and to confiscate all their possessions, Mephibosheth must have been terrified when he was called before King David. The king, however, told him not to be afraid. David had decided to be kind to him, “for your father Jonathan’s sake. I will give back all the land of your grandfather Saul, and you will always eat at my table.” (2 Samuel 9:7)

Not only did David restore the lands of Mephibosheth’s grandfather, Saul, but he also put Ziba and his 15 sons and 20 servants at his disposal, to farm the land and to provide for all his needs (2 Samuel 9:10-12). And Mephibosheth was to dine at King David’s table, like one of his own sons.

As David had been King of Israel for some years before he restored Saul’s lands to Mephibosheth, we can only guess what prompted David to take this action at that point, and not several years earlier. In all probability, David was now well established in his kingdom, with little opposition from former supporters of Saul. Only at this time, was David able to feel comfortable in offering such generosity to a member of the house of Saul.

The photo shows Mephibosheth being brought to David by Ziba, from an illustration in the 13th century Maciejowski Bible.

You can read more about David @ https://www.thebiblejourney.org/biblejourney2/30-israel-becomes-a-kingdom-under-saul-and-david/davids-victories-over-israels-neighbours/


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