When a kingdom passed from one family to another, often the incoming king would have everyone from the previous royal family assassinated. David did not. On the contrary, “David asked, ‘Is there anyone remaining from the family of Saul I can show kindness to?’ ” (2 Samuel 9:1).
The word “kindness” in this verse is translated “faithful love” in Psalm one-thirty-six. “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His faithful love endures forever” (Psalm 136:1). David demonstrated “faithful love” to a descendant of Saul’s.
One of Saul’s servants reported to David, “There is still Jonathan’s son who was injured in both feet” (2 Samuel 9:1–13). “Saul’s son Jonathan had a son whose feet were crippled. He was five years old when the report about Saul and Jonathan came from Jezreel. His nanny picked him up and fled, but as she was hurrying to flee, he fell and became lame. His name was Mephibosheth” (2 Samuel 4:4). Mephibosheth was injured when he and his nursemaid were fleeing from probable assassination. Because Saul and Jonathan had died in battle, the new king would surely hunt and kill all of their descendants.
David asked, “Where is he?” ... “You’ll find him in Lo-debar” (2 Samuel 9:4).
Lo-debar can be translated “no pasture.” Mephibosheth had been hidden from David and protected from likely assassination. He’d been living in a distant dessert on the eastern side of the Jordan River, far from civilization in a place known for its barren fields.
At David’s command, the grandson of Saul was brought before the king. When Mephibosheth fell on his face before the throne, David urged him up, saying, “Don’t be afraid, ... since I intend to show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan. I will restore to you all your grandfather Saul’s fields, and you will always eat meals at my table”(2 Samuel 9:7).
The title-deed to all of Saul’s property was transferred to Mephibosheth. All of it. Suddenly the runaway boy was a rich landowner. But better than that, he was invited to dine at the king’s table, just like David’s son. Mephibosheth became wealthy, and he was adopted into the royal family. He became a king’s kid!
As Mephibosheth came before the king, he had nothing except his crutches. He was impoverished and crippled, deserving of nothing. As the crippled man bowed before him, David owed him nothing. Nothing. He was the grandson of the man who eagerly sought to kill him. Mephibosheth deserved nothing. David owed nothing.
That’s a little like me and God. I deserve nothing. God owes nothing. Grace! Faithful love. Kindness. David illustrates God’s grace. God’s faithful love. God’s kindness. Hallelujah.
“Mephibosheth lived in Jerusalem because he always ate at the king’s table” (2 Samuel 9:13). One day, in the sweet-by-and-by, we’ll feast like king’s kids at the Master’s banquet table... forever.
All Scripture quotation, except as otherwise noted, are from
Holman Bible Publishers’ Christian Standard Bible.