2 Samuel 8-12 I will show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan

From 2 Samuel 8-12

09 10 david goliath head samuel thumb

David remembered the bond he had with Jonathan and it caused him to act in kindness to a member of Saul’s family – Mephibosheth. Jesus himself touched many lives and caused them to do things they would not normally had done otherwise.

This post is part of my bible in a year series.

Passage and Comments

David has been made king of all the tribes of Israel and has won several battles. The LORD has established him. In today’s passage he remembers Jonathan and the covenant he made with him. David is keen to show some kindness to his family.

9 And David said, “Is there still anyone left of the house of Saul, that I may show him kindness for Jonathan’s sake?” 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.”

3 And the king said, “Is there not still someone of the house of Saul, that I may show the kindness of God to him?”

Ziba said to the king, “There is still a son of Jonathan; he is crippled in his feet.”

4 The king said to him, “Where is he?”

And Ziba said to the king, “He is in the house of Machir the son of Ammiel, at Lo-debar.” (2 Sam 9.1-4)

Ziba says, ‘I am your servant’.

Ziba will prove to be a bit of a shady character in the future. But that’s part of another post. Here we learn something about him. He (and his sons) served Saul in his house. When David calls him he gives him his service.

David learns from Ziba, Jonathan had one remaining son. He isn’t mentioned by name at this point, but we learn he is crippled in his feet (cf. 2 Sam 4.4). Which obviously means he cannot move, needs help and support. David tracks him down and brings him over.

10 Mephibosheth kneels before David

5 Then King David sent and brought him from the house of Machir the son of Ammiel, at Lo-debar. 6 And Mephibosheth the son of Jonathan, son of Saul, came to David and fell on his face and paid homage.

And David said, “Mephibosheth!”

And he answered, “Behold, I am your servant.”

7 And David said to him, “Do not fear, for I will show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan, and I will restore to you all the land of Saul your father, and you shall eat at my table always.”

8 And he paid homage and said, “What is your servant, that you should show regard for a dead dog such as I?” (2 Sam 9.5-8)

Mephibosheth humbles himself before David. He has good reason to. Saul his grandfather tried to kill him. Occasionally kings would wipe out the whole family of their rivals. David is different. He is kind.

Mephibosheth says, ‘I am your servant’.

Saul has an inheritance. He gives all the land Saul had to Mephibosheth. He also wants him to eat at his table always. That is, Mephibosheth will never go hungry.

Mephibosheth humbles himself again before David, recognising how low he is. Likening himself to a dead dog. The Jews believed dogs are unclean animals (food laws I believe). Dead dogs even more so because death itself transfers uncleanness.

9 Then the king called Ziba, Saul’s servant, and said to him, “All that belonged to Saul and to all his house I have given to your master’s grandson. 10 And you and your sons and your servants shall till the land for him and shall bring in the produce, that your master’s grandson may have bread to eat. But Mephibosheth your master’s grandson shall always eat at my table.”

Now Ziba had fifteen sons and twenty servants.

11a Then Ziba said to the king, “According to all that my lord the king commands his servant, so will your servant do.” (2 Sam 9.9-11a)

David puts Ziba and his sons into service of Mephibosheth. They are to take care of his lands and produce. Ziba we find out had a fair amount of power and authority. How he liked serving Mephibosheth we don’t know.

11b So Mephibosheth ate at David’s table, like one of the king’s sons. 12 And Mephibosheth had a young son, whose name was Mica. And all who lived in Ziba’s house became Mephibosheth’s servants. 13 So Mephibosheth lived in Jerusalem, for he ate always at the king’s table. Now he was lame in both his feet. (2 Sam 9.11b-13)

The incident highlights David’s kindness to someone who he could have potentially killed with little thought. David instead provides for him abundantly and raises him above others.

Story of Israel

Click to enlarge.
Click to enlarge.

 “Human life is not determined in its condition or conduct at any particular hour by what is purely new in thought, in feeling, or in circumstance. The past furnishes the seed on which the present acts as new environment, and the nature of that past is a more potent element in determining the conduct than is the new environment. The chief clue to David’s later character is to be sought in his earlier experiences. The mightiest inner forces that thus influence life are those which centre in strong and sacred associations. The memory of Jonathan’s love worked unconsciously as a spell throughout David’s career. Every man is subject to this law of life. As a rule, the early mental associations of our life give tone and colour to all that comes after. The power lying in the memory of a mother’s love over even the vagaries of later years is proverbial. The mention of a name may suffice to flood the eyes with tears and break down the stoutest heart. David never knew how much of restraint, of tenderness, of noble aspiration, and of fidelity to truth and honour he owed to the associations carried in his memory with the name of his friend Jonathan.” (Spence-Jones, H.D.M. ed., 1909. 2 Samuel, London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company.)

Story of Jesus

David remembered the bond he had with Jonathan and it caused him to act in kindness to a member of Saul’s family – Mephibosheth. Jesus himself touched many lives and caused them to do things they would not normally had done otherwise.

3 And while he was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he was reclining at table, a woman came with an alabaster flask of ointment of pure nard, very costly, and she broke the flask and poured it over his head. 4 There were some who said to themselves indignantly, “Why was the ointment wasted like that? 5 For this ointment could have been sold for more than three hundred denarii and given to the poor.” And they scolded her. 6 But Jesus said, “Leave her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. 7 For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you want, you can do good for them. But you will not always have me. 8 She has done what she could; she has anointed my body beforehand for burial. 9 And truly, I say to you, wherever the gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her.” (Mk 14.3-9)

In what ways has Jesus touched your life? What can you do in response to his kindness?

Copyright © Joshua Washington and thescripturesays, 2016. All Rights Reserved.