2 Samuel 9


‘David asked, ‘Is there anyone still left of the house of Saul to whom I can show kindness for Jonathan’s sake?’ Now there was a servant of Saul’s household named Ziba. They summoned him to appear before David, and the king said to him, ‘Are you Ziba?’ ‘At your service,’ he replied. The king asked, ‘Is there no one still alive from the house of Saul to whom I can show God’s kindness?’ Ziba answered the king, ‘There is still a son of Jonathan; he is lame in both feet.’ ‘Where is he?’ the king asked. Ziba answered, ‘He is at the house of Makir son of Ammiel in Lo Debar.’ So King David had him brought from Lo Debar, from the house of Makir son of Ammiel. When Mephibosheth son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, came to David, he bowed down to pay him honour. David said, ‘Mephibosheth!’ ‘At your service,’ he replied. ‘Don’t be afraid,’ David said to him, ‘for I will surely show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan. I will restore to you all the land that belonged to your grandfather Saul, and you will always eat at my table.’ Mephibosheth bowed down and said, ‘What is your servant, that you should notice a dead dog like me?’ Then the king summoned Ziba, Saul’s steward, and said to him, ‘I have given your master’s grandson everything that belonged to Saul and his family. You and your sons and your servants are to farm the land for him and bring in the crops, so that your master’s grandson may be provided for. And Mephibosheth, grandson of your master, will always eat at my table.’ (Now Ziba had fifteen sons and twenty servants.) Then Ziba said to the king, ‘Your servant will do whatever my lord the king commands his servant to do.’ So Mephibosheth ate at David’s table like one of the king’s sons. Mephibosheth had a young son named Mika, and all the members of Ziba’s household were servants of Mephibosheth. And Mephibosheth lived in Jerusalem, because he always ate at the king’s table; he was lame in both feet.’ 2 Samuel 9:1-13

David And Mephibosheth

After David had conquered the enemies of Israel, 2 Samuel 8:14, and settled in as king over Israel, he appears to have learned that Mephibosheth, Johnathon’s son, who as a five-year-old was crippled, is still alive, 2 Samuel 4:4.

Mephibosheth’s real name was Meribbaal or Meribaal, 1 Chronicles 8:34 / 1 Chronicles 9:40. By this time Mephibosheth had grown up, got married and had become the father of a young son Mica.

This was an occasion when David remembered his covenant with Jonathan, 1 Samuel 18:3 / 1 Samuel 20:1-4 / 1 Samuel 20:14-17, and so, looking for anyone who might be an heir of Jonathan through whom he could preserve Jonathan’s posterity. This shows us how David is a man of his word and a man of honour.

Although David asks the question, no one is able to answer, but someone else tells him about Ziba, who was a close relative of Saul. Ziba appears to be in full possession of all the properties of the former king, Saul, but as Machir had been caring for Mephibosheth, it seems likely that Ziba had made himself quite wealthy in those intervening years after Saul’s death.

Lo Debar was located in north-eastern Palestine east of the Jordan River and not far from Mahanaim, which was Ish-Bosheth’s capital. Ammiel is mentioned in 1 Chronicles 3:5 as the father of Bathsheba, the mother of Solomon and so Machir was Bathsheba’s brother, making him a brother-in-law of King David.

It appears that Machir was a very wealthy person and because he loved Saul’s family, took Mephibosheth into his home and cared for him. This tells us that Machir was a very faithful and generous person, and later helped David when Absalom rebelled against him, 2 Samuel 17:27-29.

It’s clear that when Mephibosheth appeared in front of David, he was fearful for his life, as he bowed down. Understandably, he would be nervous about this meeting because it was common practice that any heir to the former king was to be killed.

Mephibosheth calls himself a dead dog, which was used as an exaggeration of the truth, 1 Samuel 24:14, and he realises that he wasn’t called to David to be killed but to be rewarded so that Johnathon’s name may continue in Israel. Mephibosheth is very humbled by all this, he knows he doesn’t deserve mercy, but he receives it.

Because Mephibosheth was disabled on both feet, Ziba was asked to continue to look after Mephibosheth and bring the produce of the fields to Mephibosheth, in other words, everything which belonged to Jonathan was to be returned to Mephibosheth. Later, Mephibosheth’s descendants would become prominent leaders within the tribe of Benjamin, 1 Chronicles 8:35-40 / 1 Chronicles 9:40-44.

Although Ziba appears to be sincere here, it wouldn’t be too long before he betrays David and rebels against him, 2 Samuel 16-20.

Go To 2 Samuel 10


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