2 SAMUEL 9:1-13
|2Samuel 9:1 THEN DAVID SAID, "IS THERE YET ANYONE LEFT OF THE HOUSE OF SAUL, THAT I MAY SHOW HIM KINDNESS FOR JONATHAN'S SAKE?": (2Sa 1:26 1Sa 18:1, 2, 3, 4 20:14, 15, 16, 17,42 23:16, 17, 18 1Ki 2:7 Pr 27:10 Mt 10:42 25:40 Mk 9:41 Jn 19:26,27 Philemon 1:9, 10, 11, 12 1Pe 3:8)
While the word "covenant" does not appear in 2Samuel 9, this story is nevertheless one of the most beautiful illustrations of the solemn and binding nature of covenant in all of Scripture.
William Blaikie makes an excellent observation regarding King David…
It is proof that the bloody wars in which he had been engaged had not destroyed the tenderness of his heart, that the very chapter which follows the account of his battles opens with a yearning affection -- a longing for an outlet to feelings of kindness… This period of David's life was its golden era, and it is difficult to understand how the man that was so remarkable at this time for his regard for God and his interest in his neighbour should so soon afterwards have been betrayed into a course of conduct that showed him most grievously forgetful of both. (Ed: Your truly is continually reminded of 1Cor 10:12, which should be a "watch word" for ever saint.) (The Second Book of Samuel)
G Campbell Morgan commenting on 2Samuel 9:1 writes that…
There is an exquisite tenderness about the story of this chapter. David's love for Jonathan was still fresh. One can easily imagine how, in the days of his growing prosperity, the king would often think of the old strenuous times, and of his friend's loyalty to him under circumstances so full of stress and peril. For David, the house of Saul, which had caused him so much suffering, was redeemed by his love for (and covenant with) Jonathan; and therefore he instituted inquiry as to whether there were any left of that house, to whom he might show kindness (hesed - a covenant term) for the sake of his friend.
HISTORICAL CONTEXT: The prophet Samuel had anointed David ("beloved") to replace King Saul because of his rebellious heart which led to his willful disobedience (1Sa 15:16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 35, 16:1, 5, 6, 7, 12, 13, 14). God subsequently protected David from Saul's numerous attempts to assassinate the divinely anointed heir to the throne (1Sa 18:8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 15, 17, 20, 21, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 19:1, 2, 9, 10, 11, 12, 18, 19, 20). At the time of the writing of 2Samuel 9, David is reigning as King over united Israel. Saul and Jonathan had died some 15-20 years earlier (1Sa 31:2, 3, 4, 5, 6). However, before he died, Jonathan (see ISBE #2) had cut covenant (berit/berith/beriyth) with David in 1Sa 18:1,2,3, 4 (See Covenant-The Exchange of Robes) and David was loyal to his covenant partner Jonathan (see David's affirmation 1Sa 20:8 where kindly = hesed which is intimately associated with covenant). Jonathan affirmed his loyalty to David (1Sa 20:13) and cut a covenant with David asking…
We also see that although Saul did not cut covenant with David as did Jonathan, he nevertheless wisely sought David's favor…
Finally, to fully appreciate the beauty of the story in 2Samuel 9, the reader must keep in mind the fact that Jonathan (scroll down to ISBE #2) had one son who survived the war in which Jonathan had lost his life…
Phil Newton has two illustrations about how changing circumstances make it expedient to forget and forgo our former vows, something David could have easily done regarding his covenant with Jonathan considering that (1) Jonathan was dead, (2) no one else knew about it as far as I can discern (except of course God) and (3) that covenant had been cut almost 2 decades earlier.
Ralph Davis gives the following illustration of the power of covenant…
Is there anyone left of the house of Saul that I may show him kindness (hesed) - Several observations can be made…
First, note that David initiates the search for a possible relative of Jonathan and not vice versa.
Second, keep in mind as discussed above that David's query occurs some 15-20 years after the death of Saul and Jonathan. He could have easily reasoned, it's been almost two decades since I cut covenant with Jonathan, so I am free of any obligation. Besides no one else even knows about the covenant we cut.
Third, note that David does not seek descendants of Jonathan to assassinate (as occurred with most regime changes in that day) but to show lovingkindness (hesed). Ralph Davis defines hesed as "love that is willing to commit itself to another by making its promise a matter of solemn record". In a sense David is seeking one who by all other reasoning might be considered as his potential enemy (e.g., Mephibosheth would have been the heir apparent to Jonathan's kingdom), and he is doing so in order to demonstrate kindness, not vengeance.
As an aside, it is surprising to read a number of commentaries that question David's motives for his actions in this chapter, saying that he wants to "keep an eye" on Mephibosheth. It seems they are almost oblivious to the obvious repetition of the word lovingkindness which is clearly David's motivation reflecting his commitment to covenant with his beloved friend Jonathan.
Fourth, notice that David is motivated to do this for the sake of Jonathan. This clearly demonstrates the loyal, faithful love (hesed) that David had for Jonathan and which was a central component of the covenant they cut (1Sa 20:8 "kindly" = hesed). David, a man after God's own heart (Acts 13:22), was a man of his word, and understood the solemn and binding nature of covenant. And even though he was in a sense bound by the covenant to show lovingkindness (hesed) (1Sa 20:14, 15) to Jonathan's descendants, there is no hint that David is doing so as a "legalistic" obligation but as an act of his covenant love (See Love that Motivates Cutting Covenant) for his departed friend (covenant term) Jonathan. Such is the nature of covenant for it is undergirded and energized by love not law.
Application: Are you having difficulty in your marital covenant? Perhaps its a covenant you made 20 years ago, but for a variety of reasons you are now even considering leaving your spouse. Beloved, may God find us faithful to the end. May we not be covenant breakers, but emulate David, a covenant keeper, remembering that…
The promise made in the past
So despite the passage of time, David's loyalty to covenant was steadfast and so much so that it controlled his thoughts and actions in 2Samuel 9. Little wonder David is called a man after God's own heart (Acts 13:22)!
Lovingkindness (02617) (See hesed/chesed/heced)
What a picture of the steadfast lovingkindness of Jehovah (Play Don Moen's "Your Steadfast Love")…
O give thanks to the LORD, for He is good;
In this great chapter the reader would be remiss to pass over the text too quickly and fail to see the shadows of the "Greater David", the Lord Jesus Christ.
First, like David, the Lord Jesus Christ came to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10, 15:3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 32, Ezek 34:16, 1Ti 1:15, Isa 65:1), yea, even those who did not seek Him (Ro 3:11-note) and who were His inveterate (firmly established) enemies, hostile and alienated toward Him (Col 1:21, 22-note, Ro 5:10-note, Ro 8:7-note). He follows us in our empty wanderings, comes near to our spiritual helplessness (Ro 5:6-note) and poverty (Mt 5:3-note), and calls us by His Word, His providence, and His Spirit (Jn 3:8, 10:16). Do you remember the time when the King first called for you by name and brought you into His presence?
Second, even as David would not forget his covenant promise to Jonathan, neither will the Greater David forget His New Covenant promise to us for He has inscribed us "on the palms of" His hands (Isa 49:16-see note), scars of covenant that will endure throughout eternity (cp Zech 12:10 and Rev 1:7-note both of which allude to Messiah's Second Coming. See Rev 5:6-note where the phrase "Lamb as if slain" alludes to our Lord's eternal covenant marks) (See also Ps 22:16, Jn 20:19, 20, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, Read Lk 24:30, 31-What did they see that identified Him as their Redeemer?, )
Third, even as David was motivated to not to kill (compare 1Ti 2:3,4, 2Pe 3:9-note) but to show the lovingkindness of Jehovah, so too Jehovah was motivated by His kindness to pour out His Spirit through the Greater David, Jesus Christ, on those who did not deserve it, Paul explaining that…
Fourth, even as David was motivated by his covenant love for Jonathan, so too Jehovah…
What else can poor sinners saved by grace and made rich in Christ (2Co 8:9, 9:8) say but…
Gingrich comments on the typology of 2Samuel noting that…
For Jonathan's sake - Because of their having cut covenant, because of the friendship of covenant, because their hearts had been knit together in love (1Sa 18:1, 3, 20:17).
E Mellor writes that
2Samuel 9:2 NOW THERE WAS A SERVANT OF THE HOUSE OF SAUL WHOSE NAME WAS ZIBA AND THEY CALLED HIM TO DAVID; AND THE KING SAID TO HIM "ARE YOU ZIBA?" AND HE SAID, "I AM YOUR SERVANT.": (servant: Ge 15:2,3 24:2 39:6) (Ziba: 2Sa 16:1, 2, 3, 4 19:17,27-29)
Servant of the house of Saul… Ziba - One's character will eventually be shown for what it truly is in times of testing. In 2Samuel 9 Ziba appears in a good light, but subsequent events would show him for what he really was, a self-seeking conniving scoundrel. And so in this chapter David commands Ziba and his entire household to serve Mephibosheth (2Sa 9:9,10, 11), he subsequently proves himself to be a dishonest and disloyal servant to Mephibosheth. Keep the context in mind, noting first that David is on the run from his son Absalom (2Sa 15:10, 13, 14). Ziba rides out of Jerusalem to meet the fleeing David and proceeds to lie about Mephibosheth in order to deceive David. Sadly, David (showing himself to be human) made a rash decree that Ziba would receive Mephibosheth's properties (2Sa 16:1, 2, 3, 4-See discussion of this episode). However after the uprising is quelled and David returned to Jerusalem we read the following dramatic encounter with the "supposed traitor" Mephibosheth (where 2Sa 19:30 shows his heart)…
Matthew Henry notes that "Jews have a saying, "He that multiplies servants multiplies thieves’’, but in Ziba's case one self-seeking seductive servant was sufficient.
The King said to him - It is interesting that when David addresses Ziba the text refers to him as "the King" (2Sa 9:2, 3, 4, 9) but when he addresses Mephibosheth he is referred to as "David" (2Sa 9:6, 7)
2Samuel 9:3 THE KING SAID, "IS THERE NOT YET ANYONE OF THE HOUSE OF SAUL TO WHOM I MAY SHOW THE KINDNESS OF GOD?" AND ZIBA SAID TO THE KING, "THERE IS STILL A SON OF JONATHAN WHO IS CRIPPLED IN BOTH FEET.": (Kindness - Dt 4:37 10:15 1Sa 20:14, 15, 16, 17 Mt 5:44,45 Lk 6:36 Titus 3:3,4) (son: 2Sa 4:4 19:26)
Kindness of God - David had asked Jonathan to show "the lovingkindness (hesed) of the LORD" (1Sa 20:14) and now desires to show the same to any in Jonathan's house. The Almighty God used David as a "vessel of honor" (2Ti 2:21-note, cp Acts 9:15) to convey His lovingkindness.
Is this not the privilege the Everlasting God (Ge 21:33) has granted to us beloved, Paul writing for example…
Explaining how this is even possible Paul writes that…
Luke adds Jesus' exhortation…
A son of Jonathan who is crippled in both feet - It is interesting that Ziba does not specify Mephibosheth's name but instead chooses to focus on his physical deformity. And David when confronted with the boy's disability, does not respond "Isn't there someone else who is not lame?" In so doing David once again shows why he is a man after God's own heart "for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." (1Sa 16:7) How often we too are like Ziba and look primarily at the physical appearance of others while we fail to see what is really of eternal value to God! Almighty God please give us Your eyes that me might be enabled to see others the way you see them for the sake of Thy Son. Amen.
R A Torrey writes that the lovingkindness of God…
2Samuel 9:4 SO THE KING SAID TO HIM, "WHERE IS HE?" AND ZIBA SAID TO THE KING, "BEHOLD, HE IS IN THE HOUSE OF MACHIR THE SON OF AMMIEL IN LO-DEBAR.": (Machir: 2Sa 17:27, 28, 29) (Lo-Debar: Josh 13:26)
Where is he - David is seeking the fearful son of Jonathan. Grace is unmerited favor and clearly other than covenant Jonathan's son had no reason to expect kindness. One wonders what he would have done had he known about and understood the solemn covenant vows his father Jonathan had made with David some 15-20 years earlier. It begs the question dear saint in the New Covenant with God's Son, do you really know and understand the privileged position you have entered into because of this Covenant cut almost 2000 years ago? Are you still fearful? (Afraid that God is an angry Judge who is watching your ever move ready at any moment to punish you or even kill you?) Are you filled with shame for past sins which have been covered by the blood of the New Covenant (cp Mephibosheth's name)? Are you living in spiritual poverty (cp Lo-Debar) because you don't know about or really understand the infinite riches which are yours as an heir of God and co-heir of Christ?
Machir the son of Ammiel - Machir means "selling, sold". Ammiel means "the people of God." We encounter Machir again in 2Sa 17:27, 28, 29 which says that he (among others) brought supplies to David the fugitive King, suggesting that Machir was relatively well off. He certainly seems to a man filled with great compassion, having harbored and supported Mephibosheth for some 15-20 years prior to David's calling him to court. And for all Machir knew, King David may have held him guilty for harboring a relative of the rival monarchy, which could have meant the death sentence not only for Mephibosheth but himself, had David been so disposed (and as was frequently the case when a new regime came into power).
Lo-Debar - No pasture. A good word picture of Mephibosheth's condition. Even as David made a way out of the "wilderness wandering" for crippled Mephibosheth, our Greater David will make a way (play this song) for you dear reader. You may have been a believer for some time but because of circumstances (and people) you feel now like you are in a place of "no pasture", filled with fears and anxieties, perhaps trapped in the shame (bosheth = shame) of past (forgiven) sins, haunted by thoughts that have virtually "crippled" your walk of faith. Our Greater David desires not just eternal life for you but abundant life today (Jn 10:10b). May David's bestowal of the lovingkindness of God on an undeserving cripple named Mephibosheth stir the embers of your flickering hope (See Believer's Blessed Hope) into full flame for the sake of His Name. Amen. Meditate on Mephibosheth's dire condition which was changed by grace to Davidic communion, and allow the Spirit of your Greater David to renew your mind with this truth about how God deals with the downcast. The psalmist would have you ask and answer these questions dear child of God…
Why are you in despair, O my soul?
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Sent and brought him - KJV says David "fetched" Mephibosheth. David did not just send for him and tell him to pick up his crutches and make your way to Jerusalem. David made a way for him and provided the means for him to come. That's the lovingkindness of God through David on behalf of the covenant cut with his father Jonathan. It's a picture of the lovingkindness of God to those who have been crippled by the fall to come to His Throne Room through the New Covenant of His Son.
David is a beautiful picture of our Greater David, the Lord Jesus Christ, Who calls "Mephibosheths" crippled by the fall (Ro 5:12-note) to Come just as you are (Play this beautiful song). Have you come? Will you come? Hear the King's grace filled invitation…
And the Spirit and the bride say, "Come."
From Lo-Debar ("No Pasture") - Julie Martin poetically describes the picture of crippled Mephibosheth in a place called "no pasture" to all people outside of Christ…
Grace in a "Barren Place"
But somehow You found me and
You not only spared my desolate life but
Gingrich comments on the kindness shown to Mephibosheth (2Sa 9:5, 6, 7)
2Samuel 9:6 MEPHIBOSHETH, THE SON OF JONATHAN THE SON OF SAUL, CAME TO DAVID AND FELL ON HIS FACE AND PROSTRATED HIMSELF. AND DAVID SAID, MEPHIBOSHETH." AND HE SAID, "HERE IS YOUR SERVANT!": (Ge 18:2 33:3 1Sa 20:41 25:23)
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Fell on his face and prostrated (see popup) (bowing down throwing kisses toward the one in authority) himself - Fear. Dread. Reverence. Humility. Mephibosheth must have had a range of reactions to seeing face to face the one his grandfather had relentless sought to exterminate.
Lying prostrate was an act of respect to authority figures especially kings (cp 1Sa 24:8; 25:23; Esther 8:3). In addition lying prostrate was also a frequent expression of fear. For example, Balaam fell down afraid when he saw the Angel of the LORD (Nu 22:31). The beloved apostle John in exile on the Isle of Patmos fell down before his glorified Lord and heard words similar to those David spoke to Mephibosheth…
And David said "Mephibosheth" - Notice that Ziba had not specified this name but had referred to him as "the son of Jonathan who is crippled in both feet." While the Bible does not allow us to hear the tone or inflection of David's voice, the context would certainly support the presumption that the King spoke with a gentle, soft tone, not a harsh, condemning tone. Don't miss this magnificent display of grace. It is what David did not say that is dramatic - He did not "the cripple". He did not say "my former enemy's grandson". He did not even say "Jonathan's son". Instead David calls him by his name, "Mephibosheth". Can you imagine what went through Mephibosheth's mind at that moment? "He knows my name. The King knows my name!" And the "Greater David" King Jesus also knows your name and calls you personally and intimately by name. He calls you by name to join Him at the table for communion and fellowship. How wonderful that David called this frightened, shame-filled "dead dog" by name, and sought to lift him out of his fear, his shame and his poverty and place him on a higher plane (play hymn below). Is this not a manifestation of the lovingkindness of God through David as he stoops in his royal robe to reach out and lift up this crippled man by calling his name? Is this not what the Greater David, the Lord Jesus Christ, has done for all who have entered into communion and fellowship with the King of kings by grace through faith? Hallelujah! Amen!
by Charles H Gabriel
In lovingkindness Jesus came
My soul in mercy to reclaim,
And from the depths of sin and shame
Through grace He lifted me.
From sinking sand He lifted me,
With tender hand He lifted me,
From shades of night to plains of light,
O praise His Name, He lifted me!
He called me long before I heard,
Before my sinful heart was stirred,
But when I took Him at His word,
Forgiv’n, He lifted me.
His brow was pierced with many a thorn,
His hands by cruel nails were torn,
When from my guilt and grief, forlorn,
In love He lifted me.
Now on a higher plane I dwell,
And with my soul I know ’tis well;
Yet how or why I cannot tell
He should have lifted me.
Matthew Henry suggests that David…
Mephibosheth - The root of this name includes the Hebrew word "bosheth" which means shame or shameful thing and in turn is from a root meaning to fall into disgrace through failure of self. This name certainly is apropos for the state of Jonathan's surviving son. However the first portion of Mephibosheth's name means something like to scatter or to exterminate and so the full meaning of Mephibosheth is exterminate, scatter or destroy shame, in fact something that did transpire because of the gracious bestowal of the lovingkindness of God by King David! The reader should be aware that there is a second individual in Scripture who is named Mephibosheth (2Sa 21:8). This latter Mephibosheth is a son of Saul who is later executed by the Gibeonites to avenge Saul's bloodguiltiness for attempting to exterminate the Gibeonites during his reign (See 2Sa 21:1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9-See discussion of how this bloody revenge relates to the seriousness of the covenant Joshua cut with the Gibeonites some 300-400 years earlier!)
In the book of First Chronicles we also learn that Mephibosheth was also named Merib-baal…
Here is your servant (Hebrew = ebed; Lxx = doulos) - Mephibosheth refers to himself as "servant" five times (2Sa 9:6, 9:8, 19:26, 27, 28). What does this say about Mephibosheth? His reply suggests a humble attitude, an interpretation which is supported by the following passages. Like the apostle Paul (Ro 1:1-note) Mephibosheth seems to have understood the call and commitment that this great word "servant" pictures.
One source makes the unfounded statement that Mephibosheth is "a very bitter, resentful young man. He has been handicapped from childhood. He has probably not had very much social contact with people. (Don Anderson)" There is simply no evidence in the text to support such a speculative statement. He may have been bitter, but the text gives no clue that such was his attitude. Furthermore 2Sa 9:12 indicates he had enough social contact to have a child (and presumably a wife although none is specifically mentioned). One needs to be very diligent to rightly divide the Word of Truth, neither adding to nor taking away from what the text states.
2Samuel 9:7 DAVID SAID TO HIM, 'DO NOT FEAR, FOR I WILL SURELY SHOW KINDNESS TO YOU FOR THE SAKE OF YOUR FATHER JONATHAN , AND WILL RESTORE TO YOU ALL THE LAND OF YOUR GRANDFATHER SAUL; AND YOU SHALL EAT AT MY TABLE REGULARLY: (Do not fear: Ge 43:18,23 50:18, 19, 20, 21 1Sa 12:19,20,24 Isa 35:3,4 Mk 5:33,34 Lk 1:12,13,29,30)
Do not fear- The Septuagint (LXX) translates the Hebrew with the Greek "me phobou " (from phobos) using the present imperative with a negative which calls for one to cease something they are already doing, in this case cease fearing retribution and revenge from King David. Indeed, Mephibosheth was surely filled with dread at this first sight of his grandfather's archenemy (as least from Saul's perspective) and knew that his first words would call for the end his life. Yes, Mephibosheth's life would soon "end", but not as he had expected, not with his head on a platter before the king (Mt 14:6, 7, 8, 11) but with a privileged position at the royal table with the King! From fear of gallows to fullness with gastronomic delights! Amazing grace. Incomparable lovingkindness. And so King David quickly seeks to quiet Mephibosheth's fear and anxiety. (Related topic: Fear, How to Handle It) And on what basis does David take such incredible action? It flows out of covenant, and the loyal, steadfast covenant love that David had for Mephibosheth's father Jonathan. As someone has well said "What goes around, comes around." and this is especially true if it is based on covenants that have been cut that include the households of the covenanting parties (1Sa 20:14, 15, 16, 17).
Indeed, many years earlier Jonathan had spoken similar words of comfort to David…
God often speaks these same comforting words to those who are His (Ge 15:1, Lk 12:32, Rev 1:17) and in fact this was one of the most frequent commands of Jesus (Mt 10:26, 28,31, 14:27, 17:7, 28:10 Mk 5:36, 6:50, Lk 5:10, 8:50, 12:4, 7, 32, Jn 6:20)
For - David explains why he does not need to fear. And the answer of course is that it because of covenant, the same reason New Covenant believers need not fear. In Romans 5 Paul explains…
I will surely (Hebrew = kiy) show kindness to you - Don't miss the Spirit inspired addition of the Hebrew adverb "surely" (kiy) -- Not just "show kindness" but "surely" show kindness, words calculated to dissolve all the doubts and fears that surely must have shackled Mephibosheth. Many of the translations unfortunately do not render this little Hebrew particle "kiy" (03588) and thus miss the added emphasis intended by David. Kiy means indeed, surely, truly and is a marker of emphasis which strengthens the statement which follows (eg, Ge 18:20 = "indeed"; 1Sa 14:44, 1Sa 21:5). When used in this sense, "kiy" is almost equivalent to a positive assurance.
For the sake of your father Jonathan - "For" introduces David's explanation (Be alert for "for" when are reading God's Word always pausing to ask [and attempt to answer] "What's it there for?"- See terms of conclusion). This is a clear reference to Jonathan's covenant with David (1Sa 20:14, 15, 16) which he would not break. How interesting that David now carries out what he had formerly ask of Mephibosheth's father Jonathan when he declared…
Restore to you all the land of your grandfather Saul - Given that Saul was King, this is no small gift David bestows on Mephibosheth. David could have given Mephibosheth a few acres in proximity to the Holy City and that would have been grace (unmerited favor). But this is not the generous heart of David, who goes far beyond the letter of the law, even as the Greater David has done to those who believe in Him…
You shall eat at my table regularly - (HCSB - "you will always eat meals at my table", ESV "you shall eat at my table always") What an incredible declaration from the King to one whose very name means something like "shameful thing." An invitation to dine with the King. And not just once, not just occasionally, but regularly (implying the rest of his life, which would also have been during the glorious "golden years" which Israel experienced under the godly leadership of David). Like so many of David's words and actions, does this not remind us of our Lord Jesus about Whom it was recorded that…
Isaiah records a similar gracious invitation to those who are undeserving…
F B Meyer…
IVP Background commentary notes that
Again he prostrated himself - Reflecting his humility and amazement at such unexpected kindness. Have you ever fallen prostrate before the Lord in utter amazement at the grace and mercy He has poured out in your life? In an "exercise crazry" society, this is good exercise for the soul!
Matthew Henry adds that…
Your servant (Lxx = doulos) - Mephibosheth refers to himself as "servant" also in 2Sa 9:6.
Dead Dog - Dead dogs were contemptible to the Jews. While some might accuse him of "low self esteem", Mephibosheth's humble attitude is a model for all of us to consider. As Paul grows in grace he goes from seeing himself as the "least of all the apostles" to the "foremost" of sinners (Note the increasing sense of self abasement by Paul over time - 1Cor 15:9 = 55AD Ep 3:8 = 61AD 1Ti 1:15 = 63-66AD!) (See also Dog in the Bible)
Ryken notes that…
Kay Arthur writes that
Mephibosheth prostrates himself and says, "What is your servant, that you should regard a dead dog like me?" (2Sa 9:8)
A "dead dog" was a Hebrew expression for an embarrassing piece of garbage. That's how Mephibosheth saw himself. Compassion and lovingkindness were flowing from the throne, but Mephibosheth couldn't take it in. Why? Because, beloved, like so many of us, he did not have the facts straight. Mephibosheth knew only what he had been told by people who perpetuated Saul's point of view. Mephibosheth had lived in utter ignorance of the covenant his father, Jonathan, had cut for him - a covenant made for just such an occasion as this.
And what about you, precious one? Are you crippled because you've been living in fear of God, ignorant of the covenant cut for you? Have you been dwelling in the barrenness and the poverty of Lo-Debar rather than in the riches of the inheritance that belongs to those of covenant? Have you feared that, if you ever came and bowed before God and gave Him your life, He would do something terrible to you, He would exact some horrible price-giving you cancer, or killing your loved ones, leaving you single, and alone, or sending you off to some hostile foreign land? Have you believed you can only be safe by fighting for the throne, shaping your own destiny, taking care of yourself rather than trusting the God you have heard about?
May I ask you this: How well do you know the One who sits upon the throne? Are you fully aware that He administers justice for all His people? Or are you the hopeless victim of rumors about God? Do you feel that God would never find you acceptable and fit to enter His city because you are lame? Do you sometimes feel that He (and everyone else) must view you as worthless? Quit trembling, beloved. You have heard lies. Such reasoning knows nothing of the covenant cut for you from eternity. There is hope for you. There is a future because of covenant.
And yet here was Mephibosheth his own choosing an enemy of David's, a man lame in both feet, crippled because of fleeing from David, worthless and embarrassing in his own eyes yet bidden by the king to come and dine! Why? It wasn't because of Mephibosheth. It was because of Jonathan…
"Do not fear, for I will surely show kindness (hesed a covenant word) to you for the sake of your father Jonathan (for the sake of covenant)." (2Sa 9:7)
You can feast at Jesus' table anytime. He who fed the multitudes, turned the water into wine, to the hungry calls even now, "Come and dine!" (Rev 3:20-note) Oh, beloved, are you taking hold of all that is yours in your covenant with Him? (Our Covenant God by Kay Arthur)
Spurgeon offers these devotional thoughts on 2Sa 9:8…
F B Meyer…
2Samuel 9:10 "YOU AND YOUR SONS AND YOUR SERVANTS SHALL CULTIVATE THE LAND FOR HIM, AND OU SHALL BRING IN THE PRODUCE SO THAT YOUR MASTER'S GRANDSON MAY HAVE FOOD; NEVERTHELESS MEPHIBOSHETH YOUR MASTER'S GRANDSON SHALL EAT AT MY TABLE REGULARLY." NOW ZIBA HAD FIFTEEN SONS AND TWENTY SERVANTS.: (2Sa 9:7,11, 12, 13 19:28 2Ki 25:29 Lk 14:15)
Eat at my table regularly - I love Chuck Swindoll's illustration of God's grace taken from the life of Mephibosheth writing that…
the bible is a photo album filled with pictures of God’s grace. One striking image is found in the pages of 2 Samuel. The setting is the palace of King David. Gold and bronze fixtures gleam from the walls. Lofty, wooden ceilings crown each spacious room. In the banquet room, David and his children gather for an evening meal. Absalom, tanned and handsome, is there, as is David’s beautiful daughter Tamar. The call to dinner is given, and the king scans the room to see if all are present. One figure, though, is absent.
Clump, scraaape, clump, scraaape.
The sound coming down the hall echoes into the chamber.
Clump, scraaape, clump, scraaape.
Finally, the person appears at the door and slowly shuffles to his seat. It is the lame Mephibosheth seated in grace at David’s table. And the tablecloth covers his feet. Now the feast can begin. (Swindoll, C. R.: The Tale of the Tardy Oxcart and 1501 Other Stories. Nashville: Word Publishers)
J Vernon McGee draws some wonderful lessons from this chapter…
1. A child of God recognizes that he is also a cripple in God’s sight. We are told in Ro 3:15,16: “Their feet are swift to shed blood: Destruction and misery are in their ways.” That is the report from God’s clinic on the human race. Our feet lead us astray. “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isa. 53:6). Then the writer of the Book of Proverbs says, “There is a way that seems right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death” (Pr 16:25). Our feet get us into trouble. The way that the soul and the feet are so closely connected in Scripture is quite interesting. I do not mean to make a bad pun; I am not talking about the sole of the foot.
Remembering that David for the rest of his life had a crippled boy who ate at his table, listen to the words of Ps 56:13, “For thou hast delivered my soul from death: wilt not thou deliver my feet from failing, that I may walk before God in the light of the living?” Ps 73:2 says, “But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped” David knew what it was to have lame feet! In Psalm 116:8 he says, “For thou hast delivered my soul from death, mine eyes from tears, and my feet from falling.” My friend, all of us are actually cripples before God.
Modern philosophy and humanism present another picture of man. I once heard a liberal say that Christ came to reveal the splendors of the human soul! God says, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jer. 17:9). Out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, and it is a mess of bad things. You cannot expect any good from human nature. Paul could say, “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not” (Ro. 7:18). Paul had no confidence in the flesh. The Law is condemnation. Jn 14:6 says, “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” When we come that way, He will receive us.
2. David extended kindness to Mephibosheth for the sake of Jonathan. This is another facet of this amazing incident. You see, David did not know the boy. He did what he did for the sake of Jonathan whom he loved. When David looked upon this boy, he did not see a cripple; he saw Jonathan. He had made a covenant with Jonathan. The kindness, mercy, and grace extended to a helpless person were for the sake of another.
We have seen how much Jonathan meant to David. When the news of his death reached him, he said: “How are the mighty fallen in the midst of the battle! O Jonathan, thou wast slain in thine high places. I am distressed for thee, my brother Jonathan: very pleasant hast thou been unto me: thy love to me was wonderful, passing the love of women” (2 Sam. 1:25,26). Now God has saved you and me because of Another—the Lord Jesus Christ. When we accept Jesus Christ as Savior, Ephesians 1:6 tells us that we are “accepted in the beloved.” When God sees you and me in Christ, He accepts us and saves us.
3. David said nothing about the lame feet of Mephibosheth. There is no record that David ever mentioned it or made an allusion to it. He never said to him, “It is too bad that you are crippled.” He treated him like a prince. He sat at the king’s table, and his feet were covered with a linen cloth. My friend, God forgets our sin because it is blotted out by the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. That is the only way God can forgive our sins. The writer of Hebrews put it this way: “And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more” (Heb. 10:17).
4. Mephibosheth said nothing about his lame feet. What do you think David and Mephibosheth talked about when they sat at the table? They talked about another person. Do you know who it was? It was Jonathan. David loved Jonathan. Mephibosheth loved Jonathan—he was his father. Jonathan was the subject of conversation. What should you and I talk about? Some Christians take a keen delight in talking about the old days when they lived in sin. It is too bad that when we get together we don’t talk about Another. The Lord Jesus Christ should be the main subject of our conversation.
5. Others said nothing about Mephibosheth’s lame feet. There was a large company that ate at the king’s table. One day they saw David bringing this crippled boy to the table. The gossips did not say, “Did you hear how it happened?” Instead they listened to the king. They heard David praise Mephibosheth, They had no time to indulge in cheap talk. Their hearts went out in love to this boy. You see, love “beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.” Love “never fails” (1 Cor. 13:7–8).
As far as I can tell, David was never able to make this boy walk. If you see that you cannot walk well-pleasing to God, turn to the Lord Jesus Christ. Christ said to the man with palsy, whose friends had let him down through the roof, “… Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee…. Arise, and walk” (Matt. 9:2–5). The apostle Paul urges: “I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love” (Eph. 4:1–2). If you are failing in your walk, turn to Christ for help.
Christ is sending out an invitation today into the highways and byways and out into the streets of your town. He is saying, “Come to my table of salvation just as you are, crippled, and I will feed you.” He says, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28). He also says, “… If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink” (John 7:37). What a wonderful picture of God’s love is presented in this chapter! (Listen to Dr McGee's exposition - 2Samuel 9 Intro 2Sa 9:1-9 2Sa 9:10-13)
2Samuel 9:11 THEN ZIBA SAID TO THE KING, "ACCORDING TO ALL THAT MY LORD THE KING COMMANDS HIS SERVANT SO YOUR SERVANT WILL DO." SO MEPHIBOSHETH ATE AT DAVID'S TABLE AS ONE OF THE KING'S OWN SONS.: (Ziba: 2Sa 19:17) (According: 2Sa 16:1, 2, 3, 4 19:26)
As one of the king's sons - While not necessarily indicative of adoption, it certainly presents a picture similar to adoption a term filled with the ideas of love, grace, compassion, and intimate relationship.
John MacArthur commenting on Mephibosheth writes that…
Perhaps the most touching adoption mentioned in the Old Testament was that of Mephibosheth, the crippled son of Jonathan and the sole remaining descendent of Saul. When King David learned about Mephibosheth, he gave him all the land that had belonged to his grandfather Saul and honored this son of his dearest friend, Jonathan, by having him dine regularly at the king’s table in the palace at Jerusalem (see 2Sa 9:1-13). Pharaoh’s daughter adopted Moses out of pity and sympathy. And although Mordecai dearly loved Esther, his adoption of her was also prompted by family duty. But David’s adoption of Mephibosheth was motivated purely by gracious love. In many ways, David’s adoption of Mephibosheth pictures God’s adoption of believers. David took the initiative in seeking out Mephibosheth and bringing him to the palace. And although Mephibosheth was the son of David’s closest friend, he was also the grandson and sole heir of Saul, who had sought repeatedly to kill David. Being crippled in both feet, Mephibosheth was helpless to render David any significant service; he could only accept his sovereign’s bounty. The very name Mephibosheth means “a shameful thing,” and he had lived for a number of years in Lo-Debar, which means “the barren land” (lit., “no pasture”). David brought this outcast to dine at his table as his own son and graciously granted him a magnificent inheritance to which he was no longer legally entitled.
That is a beautiful picture of the spiritual adoption whereby God graciously and lovingly seeks out unworthy men and women on His own initiative and makes them His children, solely on the basis of their trust in His true Son, Jesus Christ. Because of their adoption, believers will share the full inheritance of the Son. To all Christians God declares, “ ‘I will welcome you, and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to Me,’ says the Lord Almighty” (2Co 6:17,18). Paul gives us the unspeakably marvelous assurance that God has “predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will” (MacArthur, J: Romans 1-8. Chicago: Moody Press or Logos or Wordsearch) (Bolding added)
Mica - In Hebrew the name is a rhetorical question "Who is like Jehovah?" or "Who is like Yahweh?"
Paul Westervelt writes -
Mephibosheth lived in Jerusalem - From fear in "no pasture" (Lo-Debar) to security in God's holy city of peace all on the basis of the "kindness of God" that flowed through a man after God's own heart!
He ate at the King's table regularly - From poverty in "no pasture" to provision in the presence of the King with a permanent place at the King’s table
Jesus has a table spread
Where the saints of God are fed,
He invites His chosen people, “Come and dine”;
With His manna He doth feed
And supplies our every need:
O ’tis sweet to sup with Jesus all the time!
“Come and dine,” the Master calleth, “Come and dine”;
You may feast at Jesus’ table all the time;
He Who fed the multitude, turned the water into wine,
To the hungry calleth now, “Come and dine.”
Soon the Lamb will take His bride
Now he was lame in both feet - But I thought we knew that. So clearly the inspired text means to make a point. One point would be to never forget the low state of Mephibosheth, which serves to even further magnify the lovingkindness of Jehovah. And by way of application, God does not want us to forget the point of His lovingkindnesses abundantly bestowed in spite of our lameness. Notice what Jesus' first coming brought about (Mt 11:2, 3, 4, 5, 6) and which serves as a foreshadowing of what He will do for the lame in the His Millennial (Messianic) Kingdom (Isa 35:5, 6; Jer 31:7, 8, 9; Mic 4:6, 7).
Paul Westervelt paints the scene for us…
Paul describes what has happened to those were born like "dead dogs", dead in their sins and transgressions, without hope in the world…
Mephibosheth was no great ornament to a royal table, yet he had a continual place at David’s board, because the king could see in his face the features of the beloved Jonathan. Like Mephibosheth, we may cry unto the King of Glory,
“What is thy servant, that thou shouldst
The Lord’s people are dear for another’s sake. Such is the love which the Father bears to His only begotten, that for His sake He raises His lowly brethren from poverty and banishment, to courtly companionship, noble rank, and royal provision. Their deformity shall not rob them of their privileges. Lameness is no bar to sonship; the cripple is as much the heir as if he could run like Asahel
Our right does not limp,
though our might may.
A king’s table is a noble hiding-place for lame legs, and at the gospel feast we learn to glory in infirmities, because the power of Christ rests upon us. Yet grievous disability may mar the persons of the best-loved saints. Here is one feasted by David, and yet so lame in both his feet that he could not go up with the king when he fled from the city, and was therefore maligned and injured by his servant Ziba (compare the falsehood of Ziba in 2Sa 16:1, 2, 3, 4 with the truth of Mephibosheth in 2Sa 19:24, 25, 26, 27, 28). Saints whose faith is weak, and whose knowledge is slender, are great losers; they are exposed to many enemies, and cannot follow the king whithersoever he goes. This disease frequently arises from falls. Bad nursing in their spiritual infancy often causes converts to fall into a despondency from which they never recover, and sin in other cases brings broken bones.
Lord, help the lame to leap like an hart,
GREATLY VALUED - "Mephibosheth… shall eat at my table like one of the king's sons." -2 Samuel 9:11
In God's eyes, every person is important. He sent His only Son to die for us. May we remember with gratitude how much He values each human life. -J D Branon (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
Lord, may we see in those we meet
Everyone is valuable to God.
SHOWING THE KINDNESS OF GOD - DURING a time when I was feeling down, a good friend sent me a card thanking me for being honest with him even though it hurt. Another person sent me a note of appreciation, saying, "Thanks for coloring my world beautiful." Those small kindnesses encouraged me greatly.
SPECIAL PEOPLE- "Be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted." - 1Peter 3:8
As king, David could have eliminated Saul's household for Saul's attempts to kill him. But he desired instead to show favor to any living member of Saul's family for Jonathan's sake. When told about Mephibosheth, who was "lame in his feet" (2 Samuel 9:3), David showed him special kindness. I believe his physical condition, as well as his place in Saul's household, brought out the best in David.
People with disabilities fulfill a unique place in God's plan. Let's learn from David's example.- H. V. Lugt (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
They will not realize right away
A C Gaebelein - Annotated Bible - David and Mephibosheth 2 Samuel 9
1. Mephibosheth brought to David (9:1-6)
The story of Mephibosheth is the first thing mentioned after the government of David had been fully established. Typically it reveals the gospel in a beautiful way, and dispensationally the kindness of God which will be manifested in the coming kingdom. Mephibosheth is a type of the sinner and the condition which he is in. He was helpless, being lame of both feet. How he became lame is found in chapter 4:4. He fell and became lame, a helpless cripple. It reminds us of the fall of man and the helpless condition into which sin has put man. Therefore he could not come to David. He had to be carried into the king's presence. The sinner cannot come of himself to the Saviour; He has to seek him out.
And David wanted to show him "the kindness of God" for Jonathan's sake. "Thus the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man hath appeared" (Titus 3:4). God for Christ's sake shows His great kindness to sinful man. Mephibosheth means "shame out of the mouth"; when he hears from David's lips what kindness was prepared for him he confessed with his mouth his own shame and nothingness. "What is thy servant that thou shouldst look upon such a dead dog as I am?" And what words of grace came from David's lips! Surely the kindness of God is here fully made known. He is lifted from his low place of shame to take a place at the King's table "as one of the King's sons." It is the kindness of God as made known in the gospel of His Son our Lord Jesus Christ. He takes us out of our shame and makes us one of His sons. "So Mephibosheth dwelt in Jerusalem ; for he did eat continually at the king's table; and was lame on both feet." When the kingdom has come the King will show such grace and kindness to the poor and needy (Isaiah 11:1-5; Ps. 72:1-4).
L M Grant - 2 Samuel 9…
When David's kingdom was established, he was not infatuated with his self-importance, as many men would be. Some would be inclined to get rid of every possible challenger of his position, particularly those of the house of Saul, who had reigned before him.