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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

2 Samuel 9:10

You and your sons and your servants shall cultivate the land for him, and you shall bring in the produce so that your master's grandson may have food; nevertheless Mephibosheth your master's grandson shall eat at my table regularly." Now Ziba had fifteen sons and twenty servants.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Nave's Topical Bible - Feasts;   Friendship;   Hospitality;   Kindness;   Mephibosheth;   Servant;   Thompson Chain Reference - Bible Stories for Children;   Children;   Home;   Pleasant Sunday Afternoons;   Religion;   Stories for Children;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Kings;   Liberality;  
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Jonathan;   Mephibosheth;   Ziba;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Vengeance;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Ziba;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Economic Life;   Manaen;   Samuel, Books of;   Ziba;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - David;   Samuel, Books of;   Slave, Slavery;   Ziba;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Mephibosheth ;   Ziba ;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Jonathan;   Mephibosheth;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Agriculture;   Zi'ba;  
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Hebrew Monarchy, the;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Alliance;   Master;   Mephibosheth;   Relationships, Family;   Samuel, Books of;   Ziba;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

Verse 2 Samuel 9:10. Thou therefore, and thy sons - shall till the land — It seems that Ziba and his family had the care of the whole estate, and cultivated it at their own expense, yielding the half of the produce to the family of Mephibosheth. Ziba was properly the hind, whose duty and interest it was to take proper care of the ground, for the better it was cultivated the more it produced; and his half would consequently be the greater.

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These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 9:10". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". 1832.

Bridgeway Bible Commentary

Remembering former kindnesses (9:1-10:19)

Although his power was now great, David did not forget his covenant with Jonathan. Unlike other kings, David would not destroy the family of the king whom he replaced (9:1; see 1 Samuel 20:12-17). David not only spared the life of Jonathan’s sole surviving son, the crippled Mephibosheth, but also restored to him Saul’s family property (2-8; cf. 4:4). David gave Mephibosheth the privilege of free access into the palace, and appointed one of Saul’s former servants to manage his property for him (9-13).

Another to whom David tried to be friendly was the new king of Ammon, whose father had helped David during his flight from Saul. But the Ammonites rejected David’s goodwill, suspecting that he was looking for ways of spreading his power into their country (10:1-5). They then decided to attack Israel, and even hired soldiers from various Syrian states to help them. The Israelite soldiers turned back the attackers, then, as if to show that Israel had no desire to seize Ammonite territory, returned home (6-14). (This was probably the battle referred to earlier in 8:3-8.)
The Ammonites were willing to accept defeat, but the Syrians were not. They prepared for a second attack on Israel. This time David did not stop when he had turned back the attackers, but overran their country and seized political control (15-19).

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 9:10". "Brideway Bible Commentary". 2005.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Fifteen sons ... - See 2 Samuel 19:17, marginal reference.

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These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 9:10". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". 1870.

Chuck Smith Bible Commentary

Chapter 9

In chapter nine David sought to discover if there were any left from the house of Saul. Jonathan and David had made a friendship pact between them that they would do good, and show kindness unto each other, and to each other's descendants forever. So now that David is established, he seeks to find out if there are any left from Saul's house that he might honor, and they might keep this pact that he had made with Jonathan. He was told concerning Jonathan's son Mephibosheth. Now Mephibosheth was only five years old when his father Jonathan was killed in battle with his grandfather Saul, when they battled against the Philistines at Mount Gilboa. When his nurse heard that the Philistines had taken Jonathan, Saul in battle, she was fearful. She grabbed this little five year old son of Jonathan's, Mephibosheth, and sought to flee. As she did, she dropped him and broke both of his legs. Not being set properly, he became a cripple.

And so it was told David that Mephibosheth was yet alive. So David called to have Mephibosheth brought into him. And when Mephibosheth came in he bowed down, and did obeisance to David. David said, Don't be afraid, I want to actually honor you seeing I made this pact with Jonathan. And he said, I want to restore to you all that belonged to the house of Saul, all of the properties, the houses and the vineyards, and every thing that belonged to the family. I want to restore them to you. And you are to eat meat at my table from now on ( 2 Samuel 9:3-10 ).

He was to become a part of the entourage that ate with the king. So David showed great kindness for Jonathan's sake, and for the vows and all that he had made with Jonathan.

Then David took one of the servants and he made this servant and his family the servants of Mephibosheth, and Ziba with his fifteen sons and twenty servants [were given the orders to take care of his crops and to bring in the harvest, and to just watch over all that belonged to him.] ( 2 Samuel 9:10 ).

So David showed unto Mephibosheth great honor, and was extremely gracious unto him. "

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Copyright © 2014, Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, Ca.
Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 9:10". "Chuck Smith Bible Commentary". 2014.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

A. David’s Faithfulness ch. 9

The story of David’s kindness to Mephibosheth (ch. 9) helps to explain David’s subsequent acceptance by the Benjamites. It also enables us to see that the writer returned here to events in David’s early reign.

"It is, in my personal opinion, the greatest illustration of grace in all the Old Testament." [Note: Swindoll, p. 169.]

If Mephibosheth was five years old when Jonathan and Saul died on Mt. Gilboa (2 Samuel 4:4), he was born in 1016 B.C. When David captured Jerusalem in 1004 B.C., Mephibosheth was 12. Now we see Mephibosheth had a young son (2 Samuel 9:12), so perhaps he was about 20 years old. People frequently married in their teens in the ancient Near East. So perhaps the events of chapter 9 took place about 966 B.C.

David’s kindness (Heb. hesed, loyal love, 2 Samuel 9:1; 2 Samuel 9:3; 2 Samuel 9:7) to Jonathan’s son, expressed concretely by allowing him to eat at David’s table (2 Samuel 9:7; 2 Samuel 9:10-11; 2 Samuel 9:13), shows that David was, at the beginning of his reign, a covenant-keeping king (cf. 1 Samuel 20:14-17; 1 Samuel 20:42). This was one of David’s strengths. [Note: Leo G. Perdue, "’Is There Anyone Left of the House of Saul . . . ?’ Ambiguity and the Characterization of David in the Succession Narrative," Journal for the Study of the Old Testament 30 (October 1984):67-84, presented an interesting study of the complexity of David’s character.] His goodness to Mephibosheth was pure grace, entirely unearned by Saul’s son. Yet the story is primarily about loyalty.

It is doubtful that the Ammiel mentioned in 2 Samuel 9:4 was Bathsheba’s father (cf. 1 Chronicles 3:5), though this is possible. Lo-debar (lit. no pasture) was about 10 miles northwest of Jabesh-gilead in Transjordan and 10 miles south of the Sea of Chinnereth (Galilee). David provided for Mephibosheth’s needs in Jerusalem, but Ziba and his family cultivated Mephibosheth’s land and brought the produce to David. Thus the produce of his land paid the cost of Mephibosheth’s maintenance. The writer may have stressed the fact that Mephibosheth was lame (2 Samuel 9:3; 2 Samuel 9:13) to remind us of the sad fate of Saul’s line because of his arrogance before God. Mephibosheth physically had trouble standing before God and His anointed.

"Given David’s loathing for ’the lame and the blind’ since the war against the Jebusites (2 Samuel 5:6-8), one is brought up short by his decision to give Jonathan’s son Mephibosheth, ’lame in both feet’ (2 Samuel 9:3; 2 Samuel 9:13), a permanent seat at the royal table. . . . Is David willing to undergo such a daily ordeal just in memory of his friendship with Jonathan, as he himself declares, or as the price for keeping an eye on the last of Saul’s line? Considering David’s genius for aligning the proper with the expedient, he may be acting from both motives." [Note: Meir Sternberg, The Poetics of Biblical Narrative: Ideological Literature and the Drama of Reading, p. 255. James S. Ackerman, "Knowing Good and Evil: A Literary Ananysis of the Court History in 2 Samuel 9-20 and 1 Kings 1-2," Journal of Biblical Literature 109:1 (Spring 1990):43; Perdue, p. 75; John Briggs Curtis, "’East is East . . .,’" Journal of Biblical Literature 80:4 (1961):357; and David Payne, p. 197, shared the same opinion.]

The sensitive reader will observe many parallels between Mephibosheth and himself or herself, and between David and God. As Mephibosheth had fallen, was deformed as a result of his fall, was hiding in a place of barrenness, and was fearful of the king, so is the sinner. David took the initiative to seek out Mephibosheth in spite of his unloveliness, bring him into his house and presence, and adopt him as his own son. He also shared his bounty and fellowship with this undeserving one for the rest of his life because of Jonathan, as God has done with us for the sake of Christ (cf. Psalms 23:6).

"On the whole it seems very likely that in this instance David’s actions benefited not only Mephibosheth but served also the king’s own interests." [Note: Anderson, p. 143.]

In what sense can the affairs recorded in this chapter be considered part of David’s troubles? We have here one of David’s major attempts to appease the Benjamites. As the events of the following chapters will show, David had continuing problems with various Benjamites, culminating in the rebellion of Sheba (ch. 20). Not all of David’s troubles stemmed from his dealings with Bathsheba and Uriah.

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 9:10". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". 2012.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Thou therefore, thy sons, and thy servants,.... Which were many, and whose numbers are after given:

shall till the land for him; manure it, plough it, sow it, and reap it:

and thou shall bring in [the fruits]; the corn, and oil, and wine, the land produces:

that thy master's son may have food to eat; meaning either Micha, the son of Mephibosheth, since Mephibosheth seems to be distinguished from him, and opposed to him in the next clause: and who would stand in no need of food from any other quarter, being a guest at the king's table continually; or else Mephibosheth, who by this means would have a sufficiency for his son and servants, and in which Ziba's family and servants would have a share:

but Mephibosheth thy master's son shall eat always at my table; wherefore the land was to be tilled not for him personally, but for his family, and for what uses he should think fit to put the produce of it to:

now Ziba had fifteen sons and twenty servants: who were enough to cultivate a considerable quantity of land.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 9:10". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". 1999.

Matthew Henry's Complete Commentary on the Bible

      9 Then the king called to Ziba, Saul's servant, and said unto him, I have given unto thy master's son all that pertained to Saul and to all his house.   10 Thou therefore, and thy sons, and thy servants, shall till the land for him, and thou shalt bring in the fruits, that thy master's son may have food to eat: but Mephibosheth thy master's son shall eat bread alway at my table. Now Ziba had fifteen sons and twenty servants.   11 Then said Ziba unto the king, According to all that my lord the king hath commanded his servant, so shall thy servant do. As for Mephibosheth, said the king, he shall eat at my table, as one of the king's sons.   12 And Mephibosheth had a young son, whose name was Micha. And all that dwelt in the house of Ziba were servants unto Mephibosheth.   13 So Mephibosheth dwelt in Jerusalem: for he did eat continually at the king's table; and was lame on both his feet.

      The matter is here settled concerning Mephibosheth. 1. This grant of his father's estate is confirmed to him, and Ziba called to be a witness to it (2 Samuel 9:9; 2 Samuel 9:9); and, it should seem, Saul had a very good estate, for his father was a mighty man of substance (1 Samuel 9:1), and he had fields and vineyards to bestow, 1 Samuel 22:7. Be it ever so much, Mephibosheth is now master of it all. 2. The management of the estate is committed to Ziba, who knew what it was and how to make the most of it, in whom, having been his father's servant, he might confide, and who, having a numerous family of sons and servants, had hands sufficient to be employed about it, 2 Samuel 9:10; 2 Samuel 9:10. Thus Mephibosheth is made very easy, having a good estate without care, and is in a fair way of being very rich, having much coming in and little occasion to spend, himself being kept at David's table. Yet he must have food to eat besides his own bread, provisions for his son and servants; and Ziba's sons and servants would come in for their share of his revenue, for which reason perhaps their number is here mentioned, fifteen sons and twenty servants, who would require nearly all there was; for as goods are increased those are increased that eat them, and what good has the owner thereof save the beholding of them with his eyes?Ecclesiastes 5:11. All that dwelt in the house of Ziba were servants to Mephibosheth (2 Samuel 9:12; 2 Samuel 9:12), that is, they all lived upon him, and made a prey of his estate, under pretence of waiting on him and doing him service. The Jews have a saying, "He that multiplies servants multiplies thieves." Ziba is now pleased, for he loves wealth, and will have abundance. "As the king has commanded, so will thy servant do,2 Samuel 9:11; 2 Samuel 9:11. Let me alone with the estate: and as for Mephibosheth" (they seem to be Ziba's words), "if the king please, he need not trouble the court, he shall eat at my table, and be as well treated as one of the king's sons." But David will have him at his own table, and Mephibosheth is as well pleased with his post as Ziba with his. How unfaithful Ziba was to him we shall find afterwards, 2 Samuel 16:3; 2 Samuel 16:3. Now because David was a type of Christ, his Lord and son, his root and offspring, let his kindness to Mephibosheth serve to illustrate the kindness and love of God our Saviour towards fallen man, which yet he was under no obligation to, as David was to Jonathan. Man was convicted of rebellion against God, and, like Saul's house, under a sentence of rejection from him, was not only brought low and impoverished, but lame and impotent, made so by the fall. The Son of God enquires after this degenerate race, that enquired not after him, comes to seek and save them. To those of them that humble themselves before him, and commit themselves to him, he restores the forfeited inheritance, he entitles them to a better paradise than that which Adam lost, and takes them into communion with himself, sets them with his children at his table, and feasts them with the dainties of heaven. Lord, what is man, that thou shouldst thus magnify him!

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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Bibliographical Information
Henry, Matthew. "Complete Commentary on 2 Samuel 9:10". "Matthew Henry Complete Commentary on the Whole Bible". 1706.