It was common in Israel for a new king to annihilate the previous king’s family. But David was different. David made a promise to Saul that he would not kill his descendants. He also promised Jonathan, Saul’s son, that he would be loyal to his family forever. So when David returned from war and was settling down, he asked if any descendants of Saul’s family were still alive. David was looking for anyone in Saul’s family to show kindness for Jonathan’s sake. A servant of Saul told David that Jonathan’s son was still living; his name was Mephibosheth. David sent for him to offer him a gracious opportunity. We read in 2 Samuel 9 this phrase four times that Mephibosheth “regularly ate at David’s table.”
So where’s the mercy?
David gave Mephibosheth everything that had belonged to his grandfather and father’s family. He asked Ziba, the family servant, to maintain that property for Mephibosheth because he was disabled. And then David made a place for Mephibosheth in his home, at his table, treating him as one of his sons.
By the standard practices of society, then, Mephibosheth should have been executed. He was not only the grandson of a spiteful, hostile king but also disabled in both feet – that indicates severity, most likely unable to care for himself. But David restores his land, dignity, and honor.
In this story, we see the foreshadowing of the grace and mercy of Jesus in our own lives. We were His enemies, but God invites us to His table – a continual feast of love, joy, peace, grace, and mercy!
Prayer of Gratitude
Father, thank you for the pictures You give us in Your word that teach us about Your love and care for us. We see ourselves in the story of Mephibosheth – lame, a people hostile to You. And we see in David a picture of Jesus making room at the table for us, providing a banquet, adopting us as Your children. We are overwhelmed with gratitude that even when we were far off, You brought us near through the blood of Jesus. He is our peace, our life, and the joy of our hearts! May we express our gratitude in ways that bring You glory and point our friends to Jesus!
*You can read the story of Mephibosheth in 2 Samuel 9.