David's Kindness to Mephibosheth

David’s Kindness to Mephibosheth

2 Sam. 9:1-10




1.  Saul was the king of Israel prior to David.  David had shown respect to Saul even though Saul had hated him and sought to take his life.

2.  Jonathan, the son of Saul, was a close friend and ally to David.  Jonathan had sought David’s safety even though Saul had sought David’s death.

3.  Of course, it was traditional in the ancient world for the king’s son to reign upon his father’s death.  But Jonathan looked forward, not to his own reign but to the reign of King David as God’s anointed one.

4.  Saul even made an attempt on Jonathan’s life as a result of Jonathan’s loyalty to David.

5.  Often, a new king would kill all the children of the past king to remove all potential challengers to his kingship.

6.  But Jonathan and David had a special covenant.  It is recorded in 1 Sam. 20:14-17.

Jonathan and Saul had been killed together in battle.  Now, David was king, but he acted on the promise he had made to Jonathan to manifest the lovingkindness of God to his family.




I.  King David said, “Is there yet anyone left of the house of Saul, that I may show him kindness for Jonathan’s sake?” (v. 1).  “Is there not yet anyone of the house of Saul to whom I may show the kindness of God?” (v. 3).


    A.  Three times in our text the term “kindness” is used (1, 3, 7).

         1.  It is the kindness of God (v. 3).

         2.  Kindness for Jonathan’s sake (v. 1, 7).

         3.  David is the one reflecting the kindness of God because of his commitment 

              to Jonathan.

    B.  In David’s rise to power he had defeated the Philistines.  He had defeated Moab.  

         Measured two lines of Moabites. He put to death one line and kept the other alive 

         and made them bring tribute to him.  He defeated Hadaddezer, hamstrung 

         chariot horses, killed 22,000 Arameans and another 18,000 later.  He was a 

         warrior.  AND YET, he will show kindness.

   C.  Ziba was a servant of king Saul and as such had become the guardian of Saul’s 

           grandson, Jonathan’s son, Mephibosheth.  He described Mephibosheth as 

           “crippled in both feet.”  Was he diminishing Mephibosheth as “disabled.”


II.  Who is Mephibosheth?


    A.  2 Sam. 4:4 identifies him as a son of Jonathan.  

          1.  He was five years old when Jonathan and Saul were killed in battle by the 


          2.  His nurse fled with him and in her hurry, he fell and became lame.  It may be 

               that she dropped him.

          3.  So, he became lame.

     B.  He is now grown up but is not making any gestures toward taking the throne.  He 

          is living in the house of Machir in Lo-debar.

     C.  When David sent for him, he came and fell on his face and prostrated himself 

           before David and identified himself as David’s servant (2 Sam. 9:6).

     D.  David said, “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” (9:7). Mephibosheth later 

           observed that his father’s house was nothing but dead men before David.  I take 

           that to mean that David could have executed all from his father’s house, but he 

           had blessed Mephibosheth instead (2 Sam. 19:28).

     E.  Mephibosheth described himself as a dead dog (2 Sam. 9:8).  This was a term of 

          self-diminishing.  Probably here it is a recognition by Mephibosheth that he is 



III.  Lessons to be learned from both David and Mephibosheth.


     A.  Loyalty to promises made.  

          1.  David had made a promise to Jonathan, his friend.

          2.  There is much to be said for the value of loyalty between friends.

          3.  When you make a promise to a friend following through on the commitment 

               values the relationship and the trust upon which the friendship is established.

          4.  The Lord is loyal to us (Heb. 13:5-6).

          5.  Loyalty is often costly.  It cost David all the land of Saul (2 Sam. 9:7).

    B.  Although Mephibosheth may have not known about the covenant between 

         Jonathan and David, David was faithful, even though Mephibosheth may have felt 

         he had no rightful claim to anything.  David did what was right over a long 

         duration of time (2 Sam. 9:12).  He initiated the relationship with 


    C.  David manifested the kindness of God. (2 Sam. 9:3).

         1.  That is our business too.

         2.  In this we reflect the image of God to the recipients of our kindness.

    D.  Mephibosheth acted in humility.

         1.  He did not seek the kingship from David.

         2.  He acted in humility toward God’s anointed king.  David had done this with 

              Saul.  We have studied about Miriam recently (Num. 12).  She grumbled about 

              Moses and said, “Has the Lord indeed spoken only through Moses?  Has He 

              not spoken through us as well?”  Mephibosheth did not lift himself but humbled 


          3.  If we learn nothing more than covenant keeping and humility in this study it is 

               most valuable.


IV.  Ziba, Mephibosheth’s servant, promised to act as a good steward (2 Sam. 9:11-



       A.  It is required of stewards that they be found faithful to their master.  Are you 

          faithful to the Lord?  To the people you work for?  To your spouse?  To the 

            responsibilities that are entrusted to you?

       B.  Ziba was not faithful (2 Sam. 16:1-4).

            1.  When Absolam took power in Jerusalem as king in David’s place David fled 

                 the city.

            2.  Ziba gave gifts to David as a sign of loyalty.

            3.  When David asked about Mephibosheth Zibasaid, “He is staying in 

                Jerusalem.”  He claimed that Mephibosheth said, “Today the house of Israel 

                will restore the kingdom of my father to me.”

            4.  David gave all that belonged to Mephibosheth to Ziba.

            5.  Perhaps Ziba was motivated by greed.  He had probably had complete 

                 control over property of Saul, until David granted it to Mephibosheth.

      C.  2 Sam. 19:24-30 gives the rest of the story.

            1.  Mephibosheth explains that Ziba slandered him.  He had planned on going 

                 with David when he left Jerusalem.  Ziba was supposed to saddle the 

                 donkey for Mephibosheth and did not.  Mephibosheth was left on the city, 

                 unable to walk.

            2.  Ziba had betrayed Mephibosheth.  

            3.  David divided the property between them.  

            4.  Mephibosheth was lame, broken, humble, betrayed by Ziba, but loyal to 





1.  Loyalty to our commitments, loyalty to our friendships, loyalty to God are fundamental qualities of character.

2.  Manifesting the kindness of God to others reflects our character.

3.  Acting as a good steward in faithfulness is critical to the character of those who are children of God.

4.  Humility is a character trait always commended in Scripture.

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