MEPHIBOSHETH: “MEPHI-BAH-SHETH” “MEH-FIB-OH-SHETH
ZIBA: “SZIGH-BAH” “ZEE-BAH”
Looking at your own life, has there ever been a time where either yourself or your family was dependent upon or found yourselves the recipient of someone else’s act of kindness of Grace?
1 One day David asked, “Is anyone in Saul’s family still alive—anyone to whom I can show kindness for Jonathan’s sake?” 2 He summoned a man named Ziba, who had been one of Saul’s servants. “Are you Ziba?” the king asked. “Yes sir, I am,” Ziba replied. 3 The king then asked him, “Is anyone still alive from Saul’s family? If so, I want to show God’s kindness to them.” Ziba replied, “Yes, one of Jonathan’s sons is still alive. He is crippled in both feet.”
● Why did David wish to show kindness to someone in Saul’s family for Jonathan’s sake? (1 SAM 20: 14-17)
● Why did David summon Ziba?
In the Hebrew, the term for “God’s kindness”, “Chesed (pron. ‘khes-sed’) actually has a deeper meaning. By using the word, David wanted to show ‘God’s Loving kindness’ to someone in Saul’s family.
● What is the difference between the kindness of David, and the ‘loving kindness’ of God?
● Why did Ziba tell David that Jonathan’s son was crippled in both feet?
● How did Jonathan’s son, Mephibosheth become crippled? (2 SAM 4:4)
● Why did the nurse feel it was necessary to flee with the child?
4 “Where is he?” the king asked. “In Lo-debar,” Ziba told him, “at the home of Makir son of Ammiel.” 5 So David sent for him and brought him from Makir’s home. 6 His name was Mephibosheth; he was Jonathan’s son and Saul’s grandson. When he came to David, he bowed low to the ground in deep respect. David said, “Greetings, Mephibosheth.” Mephibosheth replied, “I am your servant.”
The term, “Lodebar” means “no pasture.” It was a barren desolate place located far from the capitol city, Jerusalem.
● Why was Mephibosheth hiding in Lodebar?
● Why did Mephibosheth likely think David had summoned him? (Note the tension apparent in Mephibosheth’s rather formal reply to David!)
7 “Don’t be afraid!” David said. “I intend to show kindness to you because of my promise to your father, Jonathan. I will give you all the property that once belonged to your grandfather Saul, and you will eat here with me at the king’s table!” 8 Mephibosheth bowed respectfully and exclaimed, “Who is your servant, that you should show such kindness to a dead dog like me?”
● Do you think David’s gift to Mephibosheth was a normal thing for a king to do during that period of history? Why did David want to do such a lavish thing?
● Discuss how/why David is known as “A man after God’s own heart.”
● Was Mephibosheth’s response appropriate?
9 Then the king summoned Saul’s servant Ziba and said, “I have given your master’s grandson everything that belonged to Saul and his family. 10 You and your sons and servants are to farm the land for him to produce food for your master’s household.But Mephibosheth, your master’s grandson, will eat here at my table.” (Ziba had fifteen sons and twenty servants.)
11 Ziba replied, “Yes, my lord the king; I am your servant, and I will do all that you have commanded.” And from that time on, Mephibosheth ate regularly at David’s table, like one of the king’s own sons.
● Scripture tells us Ziba, himself a well placed servant, had fifteen sons and twenty servants of his own. Be honest, what do you think of the deal David gave Ziba and his sons?
● Ziba and his sons were to farm the land so that Mephibosheth would have an income and social standing. Why was this important? (Hint: Mephibosheth was living in Lodebar without a household of his own. Mephibosheth was also living off the charity of another family, Ammiel’s son).
● So, David was also rewarding Ziba and his son’s with likely an extra income and even greater social standing.
● What had Mephibosheth done to deserve such kindness from David? What did Mephibosheth have to offer David that he should show him such kindness and extend such grace to him?
Verse 11, “ …like one of the king’s own sons ” shows us a beautiful picture of David adopting Mephibosheth (now in his early twenties) into his own family!
● As a new testament Christian, Why is the imagery of adoption and eating at the king’s table ‘from that time on’ particularly significant? (Rev 17: 7-9; Luke 14:15-24)
12 Mephibosheth had a young son named Mica. From then on, all the members of Ziba’s household were Mephibosheth’s servants. 13 And Mephibosheth, who was crippled in both feet, lived in Jerusalem and ate regularly at the king’s table.
David is seen here as a “type and shadow” of Christ in the old testament. Here we see Mephibosheth fully restored with a household and family of his own! Yet the scriptures see fit to once again remind us that Mephibosheth was still crippled in both feet. This shows us that God lavishes His love and His grace upon us in spite of our sin and cannot earn it through any act of our own. We who continue to carry our sin burden for the remainder of our earthly lives are wholly dependent on the LOVE, MERCY, & GRACE of Jesus our savior and redeemer!
As you consider how loving and kind God has been to you in the midst of the unrest in our daily lives, not to mention a global pandemic, what are a few ways you can show grace and kindness to those you know and love? In the midst of your kindness to others, how will you introduce others to God’s loving kindness for them?
Ephesians 1:5 “God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.