Holman Bible Dictionary
(meh fih' oh sshehth) Personal name meaning, “shame destroyer” or “image breaker.” 1. A son of Jonathan, who was granted special position and privilege in David's court (2 Samuel 9:1 ). Jonathan was killed in battle when Mephibosheth was five years old. Fearing that the Philistines would seek the life of the young boy, a nurse fled with him, but in her haste she dropped him and crippled him in both feet (2 Samuel 4:4 ). Mephibosheth may be an intentional change by copyists to avoid writing the pagan god's name “baal.” The original name would be Meribaal (1 Chronicles 8:34 ). See Meribaal. When David invited Mephibosheth to be a part of his court, he entrusted the family property to a steward, Ziba. During the Absalom rebellion Ziba tried unsuccessfully to turn David against Mephibosheth. Upon the king's return to Jerusalem, Mephibosheth vindicated himself and was allowed to remain in the king's house (2 Samuel 16:1; 2 Samuel 19:1 ). 2 . A son of Saul, who with six other members of Saul's household, was delivered by David to the Gibeonites to be hanged. This was in retaliation for Saul's earlier slaughter of a band of Gibeonites (2 Samuel 21:1-9 ). Mephibosheth's mother guarded the bodies until the time of burial.
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