2 Samuel 9
1 David asked, "Is there anyone remaining from Saul's family I can show kindness to because of Jonathan?" 2 There was a servant of Saul's family named Ziba. They summoned him to David, and the king said to him, "Are you Ziba?" "[I am] your servant," he replied. 3 So the king asked, "Is there anyone left of Saul's family I can show the kindness of God to?" Ziba said to the king, "There is still Jonathan's son who is lame in both feet." 4 The king asked him, "Where is he?" Ziba answered the king, "You'll find him in Lo-debar at the house of Machir son of Ammiel." 5 So King David had him brought from the house of Machir son of Ammiel in Lo-debar. 6 Mephibosheth son of Jonathan son of Saul came to David, bowed down to the ground and paid homage. David said, "Mephibosheth!" "I am your servant," he replied. 7 "Don't be afraid," David said to him, "since I intend to show you kindness because of your father Jonathan. I will restore to you all your grandfather Saul's fields, and you will always eat meals at my table." 8 Mephibosheth bowed down and said, "What is your servant that you take an interest in a dead dog like me?" 9 Then the king summoned Saul's attendant Ziba and said to him, "I have given to your master's grandson all that belonged to Saul and his family. 10 You, your sons, and your servants are to work the ground for him, and you are to bring in [the crops] so your master's grandson will have food to eat. But Mephibosheth, your master's grandson, is always to eat at my table." Now Ziba had 15 sons and 20 servants. 11 Ziba said to the king, "Your servant will do all my lord the king commands." So Mephibosheth ate at David's table just like one of the king's sons. 12 Mephibosheth had a young son whose name was Mica. All those living in Ziba's house were Mephibosheth's servants. 13 However, Mephibosheth lived in Jerusalem because he always ate at the king's table. He was lame in both feet. — 2 Samuel 9
David’s Kindness to Mephibosheth
by Reid Patton
One of the most interesting things about King David is how he treated those who hated him or who were his enemies. Time and time again we see David develop relationships that seem contrary to what is expected. Though Saul became jealous of and hated David, David never reciprocated Saul’s animus.
David also developed a deep bond of friendship with Jonathan, Saul’s son, a bond which David later extended to Jonathan’s son Mephibosheth. Even though Saul had tried to kill David, David sang a song of lament when Saul died. He then actively sought to do well to the members of Saul’s household.
Had David followed the custom of the times, he would have destroyed Saul, Jonathan, and all of their descendants including Mephibosheth. One of the most surprising aspects of David’s reign was his repeated refusal to exact revenge upon Saul’s family. Instead of exercising his right to destroy the house of Saul, David allowed them to live.
David was under no obligation to treat Mephibosheth with kindness, but he did. More than that, David went far beyond basic kindness, but instead treated Mephibosheth as one of his own sons. Being in the line of Saul should have made Mephibosheth David’s enemy, but David treated an “enemy” as a friend.
This is a powerful example of the unmerited favor we call grace. When you treat someone better than they deserve or treat them well with no cause or reason to do so, that is a picture of grace. It is also a picture of how God has treated sinners who were once His enemies. Paul wrote, “While we were still sinners Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). There is nothing that required God to forgive or excuse our sin. God has dealt with us better than we deserve, and it is for no other reason than His amazing grace.
The Bible refers to David as a man after God’s own heart. David points forward to Christ as the supreme “Son of David” who will reign forever on the throne David established. Like David, Jesus is a King filled with mercy and grace. David’s kindness to Mephibosheth pales in comparison to the kindness we have been shown by Christ. Like Mephibosheth, we were helpless to save ourselves, but God stooped to save us and call us His own. This episode in David’s life helps us to more fully appreciate the grace we have received in Christ.
- How should the love of God we experience through Christ motivate us to extend that love to others?
- What graces has God shown you today? Pause for a moment to thank Him for His grace.
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Holman CSB®, and HCSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.