Scripture reading – 2 Samuel 9
Resting from his victories on the battlefield and enjoying the Lord’s blessings upon his household, David’s heart became reflective. We are not told what stirred the king to remember his friend (2 Samuel 9:1), but a vow he made to Jonathan, the late son of King Saul, moved him to ask: “Is there yet any that is left of the house of Saul, that I may shew him kindness for Jonathan’s sake?” (2 Samuel 9:1)
If you have followed www.HeartofAShepherd.com, you may remember the occasion of David’s vow to his friend. Jonathan found in David a kindred spirit, and the prince admired the young shepherd who slew the Philistine giant, Goliath. However, as David’s popularity grew in Israel, his presence in the palace increasingly provoked Saul’s jealousy, and the king sought to slay him. Despite his father’s malice, Jonathan accepted David as his peer, later demonstrating his unselfish love for him, and acknowledged he would succeed to the throne of Israel.
1 Samuel 20 records David’s final meeting with Jonathan before his death. At that time, David was a fugitive from the palace and sought refuge in the wilderness after barely escaping with his life. Knowing his father meant to slay David, Jonathan sought from him a covenant that when David became king, he would “not cut off [his] kindness from [Jonathan’s] house for ever” (20:15, 42).
2 Samuel 9
David’s Inquiry into the Household of Jonathan (2 Samuel 9:1-4)
When I read, “Is there yet any that is left of the house of Saul, that I may shew him kindness for Jonathan’s sake?” (2 Samuel 9:1), I am reminded of the manner of man David was. The house of Saul had been his enemy, but his friendship with Jonathan stirred in his heart a desire to show mercy and compassion to any that might be alive from Saul’s lineage.
Ziba, a servant of Saul, was summoned to appear before David, and he brought news that Mephibosheth, a son of Jonathan, still lived. The surviving son of Jonathan was “lame on his feet” because his nurse dropped him while fleeing the palace after receiving news that Saul and his sons were slain in battle (2 Samuel 4:4; 2 Samuel 9:3).
Kings of ancient times would have slain their rivals to the throne, but not David. He desired to “shew the kindness of God unto him” (2 Samuel 9:3). What manner of man was the king? He was one whom God described as “after his own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14).
David’s Compassion for Mephibosheth (2 Samuel 9:4-8)
Mephibosheth, who had spent his life crippled, must have been frightened when he received the summons to appear in David’s court. Limping his way through the palace corridors, Mephibosheth made his way into the king’s presence. Most likely around twenty-one years old, he “fell on his face, and did reverence. And David said, Mephibosheth. And he answered, Behold thy servant!” (2 Samuel 9:6)
David sensed Mephibosheth’s fear and spoke words of comfort to him, saying, “Fear not: for I will surely shew thee kindness for Jonathan thy father’s sake, and will restore thee all the land of Saul thy father; and thou shalt eat bread at my table continually” (2 Samuel 9:7).
What a grand gesture of mercy and grace! Mephibosheth, the grandson of Saul, David’s enemy, but the son of his beloved friend Jonathan, was no longer a frightened soul dependent on the charity of others. By the king’s edict, he was heir to his grandfather’s royal lands and would be served at the king’s table! In humiliation, Mephibosheth wondered aloud why David would show kindness to a man who was no more worthy than a “dead dog” (2 Samuel 9:8).
David’s Provision for Mephibosheth (2 Samuel 9:9-13)
With his father and grandfather’s lands restored, Mephibosheth needed servants to care for his estate. Therefore, David commanded Ziba (Saul’s servant), his sons, and his servants to look after Mephibosheth’s interest in the estate (2 Samuel 9:9-11).
Closing thoughts –
Unlike our day, when those with physical challenges often flourish in their pursuits, men like Mephibosheth were shunned in ancient times. The thought of a lame man sitting at the king’s table would have been unthinkable in any other kingdom, but not that of David.
The king remembered his covenant with Jonathon, and his integrity demanded he fulfill his vow, even to a disabled son. Herein was grace, for Mephibosheth was honored as though numbered among “the king’s sons, he did eat continually at the king’s table; and was lame on both his feet” (2 Samuel 9:7, 11, 13).
What manner of man was David? Though king, he remained loyal, compassionate, caring, faithful, and true!
Can the same be said of you?
Questions to ponder –
1) What was David’s purpose for summoning Mephibosheth, Jonathan’s son? (2 Samuel 9:1)
2) What was Mephibosheth’s lifelong ailment? (2 Samuel 9:3)
3) What posture did Mephibosheth assume when he came into David’s presence? (2 Samuel 9:6)
4) What kindnesses did David show Mephibosheth? (2 Samuel 9:7)
5) Though he had been given his grandfather and father’s inheritance, where did Mephibosheth continue to live? (2 Samuel 9:13)
Copyright © 2023 – Travis D. Smith
* You can subscribe to the Heart of a Shepherd daily devotionals by entering your name and email address at the bottom of today’s devotion.
The Internal Revenue Service recognizes Heart of A Shepherd Inc as a 501c3 public charitable organization. Your donation is welcome and supports the worldwide ministry outreach of www.HeartofAShepherd.com.