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Bible Commentaries

L. M. Grant's Commentary on the Bible
2 Samuel 9

 

 

Verses 1-13

When David's kingdom was established, he was not infatuated with his self-importance, as many men would be. Some would be inclined to get rid of every possible challenger of his position, particularly those of the house of Saul, who had reigned before him.

In contrast to this, David desired to show kindness to someone of the house of Saul who remained living (v.1). He proposed this "for Jonathan's sake," whose attachment to David was not to be forgotten. This history is a beautiful picture of the gospel of the grace of God, and reminds us of God's showing kindness to sinners "for Jesus' sake." A servant of Saul's house is found, named Ziba (v.2), whom David asks if there is one left of Saul's family to whom he may show the kindness of God.

Ziba knew of one son of Jonathan, lame on both his feet (v.3). We have read of him before in 2 Samuel 4:4, which tells us that he was crippled through a fall. This is spiritually true of all mankind. Because of Adam's fall, all his children have inherited his crippled, sinful condition. The man, Mephibosheth, was living at Lo Debar (meaning "no pasture") (v.4), in other words, a place of desolation with typically no food for the soul. We have all been at one time in this place, needing the grace of God.

The meaning of Mephibosheth's name is "shame out of the mouth." When the gospel of grace is preached, it is this "shame out of the mouth" that people usually strongly resist. They justify themselves rather than confessing the shame of their sinful condition. Their unseemly pride becomes the great hindrance to their being sinful condition. Their unseemly pride becomes the great hindrance to their being saved. When Mephibosheth was brought before David he did not act with the bold defiance of human pride, but fell before him prostrate (v.6). This is the only becoming attitude for anyone to assume before the face of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God. David addressed the cripple man by name, and he answered, "Here is your servant." No doubt he was afraid, when summoned into the king's presence, that he might even be put to death. Similarly, when we who know we are sinners are called to face our Creator, we are fearful of the eternal consequences. Just as Mephibosheth did not know the heart of David at first, so a guilty sinner does not at first realize how great is the love of God in Christ Jesus.

David immediately sets him at ease, telling him not to fear, and adding, "I will surely show you kindness for Jonathan your father's sake, and will restore to you all the land of Saul your grandfather; and you shall eat bread at my table continually" (v.7). What a lesson for us is this, that God is not only merciful in forgiving our sins, but in over abounding grace He enriches every believer with far more than he could ever imagine he would receive! He "has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ" (Ephesians 1:3)

When David announces to Mephibosheth the many kindnesses he would show him, the response of Mephibosheth is just what is to be expected from everyone who comes to the Lord Jesus for salvation. Do we fully echo the words of Mephibosheth, "What is your servant, that you should look upon such a dead dog as 1?" A dog is unclean: being dead it is corrupt. Both things are true of us in our natural sinful condition.

The man who was virtually destitute is given abundant riches. David instructs Ziba, Saul's servant, to care for the land that Mephibosheth is given as an inheritance (v.9). Ziba in fact had 20 servants of his own, so that all would be well cared for, with the fruit of the land rendered to Mephibosheth in its due time. But not only were his needs to be met: he was to have the privilege of eating continually at David's table. The Lord Jesus does not only supply what is necessary for us: He desires our company in fellowship with Him. He is not only kind to us: He loves us. Mephibosheth ate at the kings table "like one of the king's sons" (v.11).

Verse 12 informs us that Mephibosheth had a young son named Micha, and that all who lived in the house of Ziba were servants to Mephibosheth. Then verse 13 reminds us again that Mephibosheth ate at the king's table continually, indicating that this is something that should engage our special attention. Again also it is mentioned that he was lame in both feet. Though the grace of God blesses us with innumerable blessings, this does not mean that all our health problems will disappear, as Paul was reminded when he prayed for relief from his "thorn in the flesh" (2 Corinthians 12:7-9) when the Lord answered him, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." The lame feet also illustrates the fact that the flesh remains in us while we live on earth. However, some one has well observed that when Mephibosheth ate at David's table, his feet would be hidden from view under the table. So long as we are honestly enjoying communion with the Lord Jesus, the flesh will not show itself.

 


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Bibliography Information
Grant, L. M. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 9:4". L.M. Grant's Commentary on the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/lmg/2-samuel-9.html. 1897-1910.

Lectionary Calendar
Monday, August 19th, 2019
the Week of Proper 15 / Ordinary 20
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