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Bible Dictionaries

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible

Mephibosheth

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MEPHIBOSHETH. 1 . A son of Jonathan ( 2 Samuel 4:4 ), called also in 1 Chronicles 8:34; 1 Chronicles 9:40 Merib ( b ) aal , really the original form of the name ‘Baal contends’ or ‘Baal’s warrior.’

David, on succeeding to the throne, instead of destroying all the family of Saul, as was usual on such occasions, spared Mephibosheth out of regard for his father Jonathan (2 Samuel 9:1 ). Mephibosheth was five years old when Saul fell on Mt. Gilboa, and in the flight of the royal household after the battle he was so seriously injured by a fall as to become lame in both his feet ( 2 Samuel 4:4 ). In that warlike age such a bodily weakness prevented him from becoming a rival of David, and no doubt inclined the latter to mercy. David was informed of his place of concealment in Lo-debar, on the east of the Jordan, by Ziba , who had been steward of Saul ( 2 Samuel 9:1 ff.). The king restored to Mephibosheth all the estates of Saul, Ziba became his steward, and Mephibosheth himself was maintained as a permanent guest at David’s table ( 2 Samuel 9:13 ).

At the flight of David from Jerusalem after Absalom’s rebellion, Ziba met him on the Mount of Olives with provisions. He also stated that his master had remained in Jerusalem, in hope of obtaining the kingdom of Saul. Notwithstanding the doubtful nature of the story, David said, ‘Behold, thine is all that pertaineth to Mephibosheth’ (2 Samuel 16:4 ). On David’s return, Mephibosheth came out to meet him, and declared that Ziba had accused him falsely, taking advantage of his lameness. David seems to have doubted the truthfulness of Mephibosheth or did not wish to alienate Ziba, who had also been faithful, and divided the land of Saul between the two. Mephibosheth expressed his willingness that Ziba should have all, ‘forasmuch as my lord the king is come in peace unto his own house.’

From 2 Samuel 9:12 we learn that Mephibosheth had a son Mica, who was regarded as the founder of a well-known family of warriors ( 1 Chronicles 8:35; 1 Chronicles 9:41 ).

2. One of the sons of Saul’s concubine Rizpah, slain by the Gibeonites ( 2 Samuel 21:8 ).

W. F. Boyd.

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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Mephibosheth'. Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/hdb/m/mephibosheth.html. 1909.

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