From this tabular summary of the lives
of Abraham, Moses, Jonathan, David and Saul we can see that covenant is
withholding nothing from God. We begin to understand that whatever God
wants in our life as believers who have entered into the New Covenant in
Jesus' blood. The LORD has every right to anything we possess because we
are in a solemn covenant with Him. From the
lives of these men one can see that covenant demands
faithfulness whatever the cost. Finally, in studying these OT lives one can
understand that no other relationship, no other responsibility, no
other goal and absolutely nothing is more important than our covenant
relationship with God.
Circumcision: Why the foreskin? The covenant cut is
made close to the source of paternity by which the seed or descendents
will come who will be included in that covenant..
Trumbull explains that...
The blood-covenant of friendship shall
be consummated by your giving to me of your personal blood at the very
source of paternity — "under your girdle"; thereby pledging yourself to
me, and pledging, also, to me, those who shall come after you in the line
of natural descent. When a Jewish child is circumcised, it is commonly
said of him, that he is caused "to enter into the covenant of Abraham";
and, his god-father, or sponsor, is called Baal-bereeth, "Master of the
covenant " (Trumbull, H C: The
Blood Covenant. Impact
Abraham proved that his faith was real
obedience, circumcising himself and all male members immediately.
Beloved, the first time God prompts your heart
you refuse to obey, your revived life begins to dry up. To delay is to
disobey. To maintain the fire of revival in your heart, you must be
committed to absolute obedience. The closer you are to God, the faster you
will obey. Is God prompting your heart to some step of obedience that you
are putting off? Are you wholehearted toward God in all things? Have you
truly sold all for the pearl of great price? Is your attitude toward God
whatever He wants, He can have?
Keep the context in mind. Abraham had
walked with God for probably 40 years or more....
Age 75 (Genesis 12:4) (Sarai =
65).God told him He would make Abe a father of many nations. Age 86
(Ge 16:16) Abe went into Hagar producing Ishmael
Age 86 (Genesis 16:16)
Abraham went into Hagar producing Ishmael, the product of the flesh not of
the promise--and the flesh can never please God!
Age 99yo (Ge17:1, 17) In Ge 12:3
God preached the gospel to Abraham (Ga3:8), and not only would the Jews
find salvation but so would the Gentiles. The seed that God promised was
in fact Jesus Christ, (Ga 3:16) Here in Genesis 17 God appears to Abraham
whose body was as good as dead and He tells him that He is his El Shaddai
and ''I will establish My covenant. I am your all sufficient One. Quit
seeking other ways. Rest in Me. Trust Me.'' Where can we run when we need
help? We should run to the rock that is higher than us and find our
strength in El Shaddai.
Genesis 21:34 says that "Abraham
sojourned in the land of the Philistines for many days". How long
Scripture does not say, but long enough for Isaac to grow into a lad who
could carry the wood for sacrifice on his back, so surely in the range of
15 years old or older, which would make Abraham somewhere around 115 year
old or older.
The point is that at the time of
God's supreme test in Genesis 22, Abraham had walked with Jehovah for
at least 40 years.
THE 8TH DAY
Why carry out circumcision on 8
Days? As a physician this
Biblical fact fascinates me for it beautifully illustrates the incredible
accuracy of God's Word (see
on inerrancy), even its perfect scientific accuracy, truths which clearly
underscore the supernatural inspiration of God's Word by the Creator of
all "coagulation factors"! How awesome is our God! Indeed
there is "no other" (Isa 46:9, 5, 45:21, 22, cp He 11:3-note).
In short, the Vitamin K dependent coagulation factor prothrombin is
considerably below 100% in the first days of life and circumcision of the
foreskin in ancient times ran the risk of significant, even life
threatening hemorrhage in a newborn who was circumcised before 8 days of
life, at which time the prothrombin levels are actually above 100%. God's
Word is sure (Ps 19:7-note)
and you can stake your physical life on that (in this case the physical
life of the neonate), but more importantly you can stake your eternal life
on God's sure Word of prophecy (2Pe 1:19-note, cp Acts 16:31) (See more in depth
discussion on the
Biblical Accuracy and Circumcision on the 8th Day).
Quote on inerrancy...
By this word we mean that the
Scriptures possess the quality of freedom from error. They are exempt from
the liability to mistake, incapable of error. In all their teachings they
are in perfect accord with the truth. (E. J. Young)
Concerning the definition of
inerrancy, Dr Charles Ryrie adds that...
Definitions of inerrancy are not
plentiful! Errantists equate inerrancy with infallibility and then limit
its scope to matters of faith and practice or to revelational matters or
to the message of salvation. An example of this: “The Bible is infallible,
as I define that term, but not inerrant. That is, there are historical and
scientific errors in the Bible, but I have found none on matters of faith
and practice” (Stephen T. Davis, The Debate about the Bible Philadelphia:
Westminster Press, 1977, p. 115). (See well done article by Hampton
The Bible - The Inerrant Word of God)
hymn - The Lord Will Provide
Jehovah Jireh - God our Provider -
study of this Name of God on this website
Jehovah Jireh - sermon by Alexander
Maclaren "the prince of expository preachers"
- article from the International Standard Encyclopedia of the Bible
- sermon by C H Spurgeon
God sought to kill Moses his appointed
leader for failure to circumcise his son. What is the message for those in
New Covenant? We need to be circumspect and ask: "Am I wholehearted in my
commitment to my covenant partner?"; "Is there any known command of
Scripture I am willfully disobeying?" "Am I procrastinating in some area
of my life, thinking God doesn't really take my delayed or partial obedience
(both equating with disobedience)
seriously?" Maybe you've had a "burning bush experience" like Moses
but you've let the flames of your first love be quenched by disobedience in some area of your life. Are you willing to confess it honestly?
Jesus warned the once "on fire" church at Ephesus...
therefore from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did
at first; or else I am coming to you, and will remove your lampstand out
of its place-- unless you repent.'
G Campbell Morgan
has some wise words on David's "chance" to take Saul's life in 1 Samuel 24
In this chapter we have the account of
how circumstances suddenly put Saul in the power of David. It would have
been perfectly easy for him to take the life of his enemy, and so put an
end to the bitter experiences through which that enemy was compelling him
to pass. From the standpoint of worldly wisdom. he missed his opportunity,
and so prolonged his own suffering. From the standpoint of the true
wisdom, that which results from faith in God, he acted rightly. To have
slain Saul would have been to have taken things into his own hands, and to
do that Its always to bring disaster. It is ever better to wait for God
than to 'attempt to hurry His purposes by actions dictated only by the
appearance of fortuitous circumstances. It is perhaps one of the hardest
lessons for the human heart to learn, and yet more harm than we think is
done in the enterprises of the Divine Kingdom by the zeal which is without
knowledge. The hour comes when we have such a chance of getting level with
our foes, of wiping out old scores, of ending our suffering by some swift
act in the dark. Let us be very much afraid of such hours. They almost
always conceal perils far greater than those from which they seem to
afford opportunity of escape. It is ever better to wait for God. He sees
all. We see but a part. We are always safer waiting for Him. (Morgan, G.
C. Life Applications from Every Chapter of the Bible) (Bolding added)
Other resources on Mephibosheth:
Mephibosheth and Me by David
His Kindness to Mephibosheth (2 Samuel 9)
by A W Pink
His Kindness to Mephibosheth (Continued) (2 Samuel
9) by A W Pink
by Alexander Maclaren
2Samuel 4:4 Now Jonathan,
Saul's son, had a son crippled in his feet. He was five years old when the
report of Saul and Jonathan came from Jezreel, and his nurse took him up
and fled. And it happened that in her hurry to flee, he fell and became
lame. And his name was Mephibosheth.
2 SAMUEL 9
Lovingkindnesses of God
Click for in depth commentary on
2Samuel 9:1-13 Mephibosheth
This scene takes place probably some 15-20 years later, as implied by the
fact that Mephibosheth now has a son, Mica 2Sa 9:12. Time is no factor to
David who allowed the solemn,
binding nature of the covenant he had cut with Jonathan [see esp 1Sa
20:15, 16,17] to control and direct his behavior! And it was not
"legalism" which constrained him but love, covenant love "for Jonathan's
sake" cp 1Sa 20:17)
2Sa 9:1 Then David said, "Is
there yet anyone left of the house of Saul, that I may show him
(see word study on hesed) (NJB
= "faithful love") for
Jonathan's sake? (it
is interesting that numerous commentaries question David's motives for his
actions in this chapter - saying he wants to "keep an eye" on
Mephibosheth, etc. It seems they are almost oblivious to the obvious
repetition of the word kindness which is clearly David's motivation
as a response to his commitment to covenant and his loyalty to his beloved
Jonathan). Ralph Davis comments
So clearly in context
derives from their covenant
relationship. Note that David's solemn oath (1Sa 20:15, 16, 17, 42 - note
I do not agree with ESV translation of 1Sa 20:16ESV as it does not fit the
context and gives an entirely different meaning to the passage), given to Jonathan in a solemn
covenant ceremony, under a solemn curse, constrained him to act with
devoted love years later and David says nothing about this covenant being
cut many years earlier. He says nothing about the socio-political
conditions being different now that he is King. And he says nothing about
the covenant being only a formality. In fact, he demonstrates the power
which a solemn covenant exercises -his promise made in the past directs
his fidelity in the present. Does David's commitment to fulfill his
promises not press upon all of us the urgency of keeping the new covenant
with our Lord God?...What the world does not see is that love that truly
loves is willing to bind itself, is willing to promise, willingly and
gladly obligates itself so that the other may stand securely in that love.
(Ralph Davis, D. Focus on the Bible: 2 Samuel)
Ralph Davis gives the following
illustration of the power of covenant...
The works of B. B. Warfield, the
esteemed biblical theologian of old Princeton Seminary, are still known
and read in the evangelical church today. What is not so well–known is the
tale of his marriage. Warfield was pursuing studies in Leipzig, Germany,
in 1876–77. This time also doubled as honeymoon with his wife Annie. They
were on a walking tour in the Harz Mountains when they were caught in a
terrific thunderstorm. The experience was such a shock to Annie that she
never fully recovered, becoming more or less an invalid for life. Warfield
only left her for his seminary duties, but never for more than two hours
at a time. His world was almost entirely limited to Princeton and to the
care of his wife. For thirty–nine years. One of his students noted that
when he saw the Warfields out walking together ‘the gentleness of his
manner was striking proof of the loving care with which he surrounded
her.’ For thirty–nine years. That is the power covenant exercises.
2 Now there was a servant of the house of Saul whose name was Ziba, and
they called him to David; and the king said to him, "Are you Ziba?" And he
said, "I am your servant."
3 And the king said, "Is there not yet anyone
of the house of Saul
I may show the
of God?" And Ziba said to the
king, "There is still a son of Jonathan who is crippled in both feet."
4 So (Note that there is no
hesitation in David's response and he did not say "Is there anyone else?
We can't have a crippled man in the royal court!") the king said to him, "Where is he?" And Ziba said to the king,
"Behold, he is in the house of Machir the son of Ammiel in
(Literally "No Pasture"
"the barren land” or "no word" - nothing)."
5 Then King David sent and brought him from the house of Machir the son of
6 And Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan the son of Saul (fourth
time Saul is mentioned),
came to David and fell on his face and
(bowing down throwing kisses toward the
one in authority) himself.
And David said, "Mephibosheth." (Notice
the King calls him by his personal name, not son of Jonathan, not my
And he said, "Here is your servant
(note that Mephibosheth calls
himself "servant" no less than
7 And David said to him, "Do not fear, (Protection Promised - When
a king came to power in the Near East, the first thing he would do is
exterminate all opposition and all of the previous regime. It is worth
noting the parallel with another King named Jesus Whose most frequent
command in the gospels was "Fear not"!
Mt 10:26, 28,31, 14:27, 17:7, 28:10 Mk 5:36, 6:50, Lk 5:10, 8:50, 12:4, 7,
32, Jn 6:20) for I will surely
(Don't miss this
strategically placed Hebrew adverb "kiy" which means = indeed, truly
= a marker of
emphasis and strengthening a statement!) show
you for the sake of your father Jonathan (David's
commitment to covenant - 1Sa
20:15, 16,17), and
will restore to you all the land of your grandfather Saul; and
shall eat at my table regularly."
8 Again he prostrated (bowing
down throwing kisses toward the one in authority. Compare David's action before Saul after the "cave encounter"
1Sa 24:8) himself and said, "What is your servant, that you
should regard a dead dog (Hebraism
for garbage, term of contempt) like me?" (What picture of humility
wrought by grace and bringing even more grace, Jas 4:6).
9 Then the king called Saul's servant Ziba, and said to him, "All that
belonged to Saul and to all his house I have given to your master's
10 And 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
my table regularly." Now Ziba had fifteen sons and twenty servants.
11 Then Ziba said to the king, "According to all that my lord the king
commands his servant so your servant will do." So Mephibosheth
David's table as one of the king's sons.
(Don't miss this - David
honors a member of the enemy regime as one of his own sons! Is this not
undeserved mercy and amazing grace! The NT parallel is believers are now
"all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus"
Gal 3:26 and as such are "fellow heirs with Christ"
12 And Mephibosheth had a young son whose name was Mica. And all who lived
in the house of Ziba were servants to Mephibosheth.
13 So Mephibosheth lived in Jerusalem (from
Lo-Debar, "no pasture" to the King's city, "city of peace" all on the
basis of the "kindness
of God" that flowed through a
man after God's own heart!),
ate at the king's table regularly
and Dine - a permanent place at the
king’s table) Now he was
lame in both feet (God does
not want us to forget the point of His lovingkindnesses
abundantly bestowed in spite of our lameness) (Compare the place of
the lame in the messianic kingdom [Isa 35:5, 6; Jer 31:7, 8, 9; Mic
4:6, 7]. Notice what Jesus already does for them when he inaugurates that
era [Mt 11:2, 3, 4, 5, 6]).
David is surely a beautiful picture of
the Greater David, the Lord Jesus Christ who beckons all those crippled by
the fall [which is all of us - Ro 5:12-note]
Come just as you are - play this beautiful song)
Slandered by Ziba
2Samuel 16:1 (Context:
David has fled Jerusalem as Absalom had come to usurp the monarchy)
Now when David had passed a little beyond the summit, behold, Ziba
the servant of Mephibosheth met him with a couple of saddled
donkeys, and on them were two hundred loaves of bread, a hundred
clusters of raisins, a hundred summer fruits, and a jug of wine.
2 And the king said to Ziba, "Why do you have these?" And Ziba said,
"The donkeys are for the king's household to ride, and the bread and
summer fruit for the young men to eat, and the wine, for whoever is
faint in the wilderness to drink."
3 Then the king said, "And where is your master's son
(i.e., Mephibosheth)?" And Ziba said to the king, "Behold, he is
staying in Jerusalem, for he said, 'Today the house of Israel will
restore the kingdom of my father (Saul) to me.'"
4 So the king said to Ziba, "Behold, all that belongs to
Mephibosheth is yours." And Ziba said, "I prostrate myself; let
me find favor in your sight, O my lord, the king!" (David's decision
seems to be from anger not wisdom for we later find out that Ziba
was lying and that Mephibosheth remained loyal to David).
A W Pink comments that
this sequel is: both pathetic and blessed...for it provides a
lovely completeness to all which has been before us. First, in 2Sa
16:1–4 we learn that when David fled from Absalom, Ziba, the servant
of Mephibosheth, met the king with a liberal provision of food for
his men. When David inquired where Mephibosheth was, Ziba answered
him, “Behold, he abideth at Jerusalem: for he said, Today shall the
house of Israel restore me the kingdom of my father.” This is one of
many warnings given to the saints in Scripture that they must be
prepared for calumny (a misrepresentation intended to blacken
another’s reputation) and unkind treatment: often—as was the case
here—by those from whom it should be the least expected.
2Samuel 19:24 (Context:
Absalom's rebellion is over and David returns to Jerusalem) Then
Mephibosheth the son of Saul came down to meet the king; and he
had neither cared for his feet, nor trimmed his mustache, nor washed
his clothes, from the day the king departed until the day he came
home in peace.
25 And it was when he came from Jerusalem to meet the king, that the
king said to him, "Why did you not go with me, Mephibosheth?"
26 So he answered, "O my lord, the king, my servant (Ziba) deceived me; for
your servant said, 'I will saddle a donkey for myself that I may
ride on it and go with the king,' because your servant is lame.
27 "Moreover, he has slandered your servant to my lord the king; but
my lord the king is like the angel of God, therefore do what is good
in your sight.
28 "For all my father's household was nothing but dead men before my
lord the king; yet you set your servant among those who ate at your
own table. What right do I have yet that I should complain anymore
to the king?"
29 So the king said to him, "Why do you still speak of your affairs?
I have decided, 'You and Ziba shall divide the land.'"
30 And Mephibosheth said to the king, "Let him even take it
all, since my lord the king has come safely to his own house."
A W Pink comments on
this segment in Mephibosheth's life: Second, after Absalom’s
death, there went forth a company to do honor to the returned king.
Among them was Mephibosheth, of whom it is said, that he “had
neither dressed his feet, nor trimmed his beard, nor washed his
clothes, from the day the king departed until the day he came again
in peace” (2Sa 19:24). What a lovely picture does that present to us
of a loyal soul, whose heart had remained true to the (temporarily)
rejected king! How clearly Mephibosheth’s condition evidenced where
his affections had been during David’s absence! David now repeated
the tale which Ziba had told him, and is informed it was utterly
false. Mephibosheth then cast himself on the spiritual discernment
and sovereign pleasure of his royal master (2Sa 19:27, 28). The king
then put his heart to the test, suggesting that the land be divided
between Mephibosheth and his servant—the same in principle as
Solomon’s proposal that the living child be divided between the two
women who claimed it as hers. Had Mephibosheth been the
false-hearted wretch which Ziba has painted him, he had acquiesced
promptly to David’s suggestion, glad to escape so easily: “a wise
settlement” he would have exclaimed. Instead, he nobly replied,
“Yea, let him take all, forasmuch as my lord the king is come again
in peace unto his own house” (2Sa 19:30). How that gave the lie to
Ziba’s accusation: how it demonstrated he was clear of any carnal
covetousness. It was not land which he wanted: now that his beloved
master had returned, he was quite satisfied. O how this should speak
to and search us: are our affections set upon the Person of the
absent King? Is it His presence that we long for above everything
Spared by David
2Samuel 21:1 (Context:
see discussion below regarding these events) Now there was a famine
in the days of David for three years, year after year; and David
sought the presence of the LORD. And the LORD said, "It is for Saul
and his bloody house, because he put the Gibeonites to death."
2 So the king called the Gibeonites and spoke to them (now the
Gibeonites were not of the sons of Israel but of the remnant of the
Amorites, and the sons of Israel made a covenant with them, but Saul
had sought to kill them in his zeal for the sons of Israel and
3 Thus David said to the Gibeonites, "What should I do for you? And
how can I make atonement that you may bless the inheritance of the
4 Then the Gibeonites said to him, "We have no concern of silver or
gold with Saul or his house, nor is it for us to put any man to
death in Israel." And he said, "I will do for you whatever you say."
5 So they said to the king, "The man who consumed us, and who
planned to exterminate us from remaining within any border of
6 let seven men from his sons be given to us, and we will hang them
before the LORD in Gibeah of Saul, the chosen of the LORD." And the
king said, "I will give them."
7 But the king spared Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan the son of
Saul, because of the oath of the LORD which was between them,
between David and Saul's son Jonathan.
8 So the king took the two sons of Rizpah the daughter of Aiah,
Armoni and Mephibosheth (a different person) whom she had born to Saul, and the five sons
of Merab the daughter of Saul, whom she had born to Adriel the son
of Barzillai the Meholathite.
9 Then he gave them into the hands of the Gibeonites, and they
hanged them in the mountain before the LORD, so that the seven of
them fell together; and they were put to death in the first days of
harvest at the beginning of barley harvest.
10 And Rizpah the daughter of Aiah took sackcloth and spread it for
herself on the rock, from the beginning of harvest until it rained
on them from the sky; and she allowed neither the birds of the sky
to rest on them by day nor the beasts of the field by night.
11 When it was told David what Rizpah the daughter of Aiah, the
concubine of Saul, had done,
12 then David went and took the bones of Saul and the bones of
Jonathan his son from the men of Jabesh-gilead, who had stolen them
from the open square of Bethshan, where the Philistines had hanged
them on the day the Philistines struck down Saul in Gilboa.
13 And he brought up the bones of Saul and the bones of Jonathan his
son from there, and they gathered the bones of those who had been
14 And they buried the bones of Saul and Jonathan his son in the
country of Benjamin in Zela, in the grave of Kish his father; thus
they did all that the king commanded, and after that God was moved
by entreaty for the land.
J Vernon McGee draws some
excellent spiritual applications from 2 Samuel 9 writing...
What David did for Mephibosheth was
wonderful, but there are some other impressive lessons with great
spiritual truths which I don’t want you to miss.
1. A child of God recognizes that he is also a cripple in God’s sight.
We are told in Ro 3:15, 16: “Their feet are swift to shed blood:
Destruction and misery are in their ways.” That is the report from God’s
clinic on the human race. Our feet lead us astray. “All we like sheep have
gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath
laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isa 53:6). Then the writer of the
Book of Proverbs says, “There is a way that seems right unto a man, but
its end is the way of death” (Pr 16:25). Our feet get us into
trouble. The way that the soul and the feet are so closely connected in
Scripture is quite interesting. I do not mean to make a bad pun; I am not
talking about the sole of the foot.
Remembering that David for the rest of
his life had a crippled boy who ate at his table, listen to the words of
Psalm 56:13, “For thou hast delivered my soul from death: wilt not thou
deliver my feet from failing, that I may walk before God in the light of
the living?” Psalm 73:2 says, “But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my
steps had well nigh slipped” David knew what it was to have lame feet! In
Psalm 116:8 he says, “For thou hast delivered my soul from death, mine
eyes from tears, and my feet from falling.” My friend, all of us are
actually cripples before God.
Modern philosophy and humanism present
another picture of man. I once heard a liberal say that Christ came to
reveal the splendors of the human soul! God says, “The heart is deceitful
above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jer 17:9).
Out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, and it is a mess of bad things.
You cannot expect any good from human nature. Paul could say, “For I know
that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is
present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not” (Ro.
7:18). Paul had no confidence in the flesh. The Law is condemnation. John
14:6 says, “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life:
no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” When we come that way, He will
2. David extended kindness to Mephibosheth for the sake of Jonathan.
This is another facet of this amazing incident. You see, David did not
know the boy. He did what he did for the sake of Jonathan whom he loved.
When David looked upon this boy, he did not see a cripple; he saw
Jonathan. He had made a covenant with Jonathan. The kindness, mercy, and
grace extended to a helpless person were for the sake of another.
We have seen how much Jonathan meant to David. When the news of his death
reached him, he said: “How are the mighty fallen in the midst of the
battle! O Jonathan, thou wast slain in thine high places. I am distressed
for thee, my brother Jonathan: very pleasant hast thou been unto me: thy
love to me was wonderful, passing the love of women” (2Sa 1:25,26). Now
God has saved you and me because of Another—the Lord Jesus Christ. When we
accept Jesus Christ as Savior, Ephesians 1:6 tells us that we are
“accepted in the beloved.” When God sees you and me in Christ, He accepts
us and saves us.
3. David said nothing about the lame feet of Mephibosheth.
no record that David ever mentioned it or made an allusion to it. He never
said to him, “It is too bad that you are crippled.” He treated him like a
prince. He sat at the king’s table, and his feet were covered with a linen
cloth. My friend, God forgets our sin because it is blotted out by the
blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. That is the only way God can forgive our
sins. The writer of Hebrews put it this way: “And their sins and
iniquities will I remember no more” (Heb 10:17).
4. Mephibosheth said nothing about his lame feet.
What do you think
David and Mephibosheth talked about when they sat at the table? They
talked about another person. Do you know who it was? It was Jonathan.
David loved Jonathan. Mephibosheth loved Jonathan—he was his father.
Jonathan was the subject of conversation.
What should you and I talk about? Some Christians take a keen delight in
talking about the old days when they lived in sin. It is too bad that when
we get together we don’t talk about Another. The Lord Jesus Christ should
be the main subject of our conversation.
5. Others said nothing about Mephibosheth’s lame feet.
There was a
large company that ate at the king’s table. One day they saw David
bringing this crippled boy to the table. The gossips did not say, “Did you
hear how it happened?” Instead they listened to the king. They heard David
praise Mephibosheth, They had no time to indulge in cheap talk. Their
hearts went out in love to this boy. You see, love “beareth all things,
believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.” Love “never
fails” (1Cor 13:7,8).
As far as I can tell, David was never able to make this boy walk. If you
see that you cannot walk well-pleasing to God, turn to the Lord Jesus
Christ. Christ said to the man with palsy, whose friends had let him down
through the roof, “… Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee….
Arise, and walk” (Mt 9:2, 3, 4, 5). The apostle Paul urges: “I therefore, the
prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation
wherewith ye are called, With all lowliness and meekness, with
longsuffering, forbearing one another in love” (Eph. 4:1, 2). If you are
failing in your walk, turn to Christ for help.
Christ is sending out an invitation today into the highways and byways and
out into the streets of your town. He is saying, “Come to my table of
salvation just as you are, crippled, and I will feed you.” He says, “Come
unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest”
(Mt. 11:28). He also says, “… If any man thirst, let him come unto me,
and drink” (Jn 7:37). What a wonderful picture of God’s love is
presented in this chapter! (McGee, J. V. Thru the Bible commentary.
Based on the Thru the Bible radio program. Vol. 2, Page 208. Nashville:
G Campbell Morgan commenting on
2 Samuel 9:1 writes that...
There is an exquisite tenderness about
the story of this chapter. David's love for Jonathan was still fresh. One
can easily imagine how, in the days of his growing prosperity, the king
would often think of the old strenuous times, and of his friend's loyalty
to him under circumstances so full of stress and peril. For David, the
house of Saul, which had caused him so much suffering, was redeemed by his
love for Jonathan; and therefore he instituted inquiry as to whether there
were any left of that house, to whom he might show kindness for the sake
of his friend. This inquiry resulted in the finding of Mephibosheth, whose
lameness was tragic and pathetic, in that it had been caused by a fall on
the awful day of Jezreel, when his father and grandfather had fallen
together (2Sa 4:4). To him the king restored the lands of Saul, and he set him as an
honored guest at his own table. David's own account of this was that he
desired to "show the kindness of God unto him." This declaration recalls
the words of the covenant made between him and Jonathan long before, in
which his friend had charged him to show him "the loving kindness of
Jehovah," and also that he should show this same kindness to his
house forever. In this action David is seen as the man after
God's own heart (Acts 13:22), keeping covenant and heaping benefits upon those who
might be accounted enemies. The common attitude of human nature would not
prompt such action. It was indeed the
kindness or hesed
of God. (Morgan, G. C. Life
Applications from Every Chapter of the Bible). (Bolding added)
Spurgeon has a devotional from
Morning and Evening on Mephibosheth...
“So Mephibosheth dwelt in Jerusalem:
for he did eat continually at the king’s table; and was lame on both his
feet.” — 2 Samuel 9:13
Mephibosheth was no great ornament to a royal table, yet he had a
continual place at David’s board, because the king could see in his face
the features of the beloved Jonathan. Like Mephibosheth, we may cry unto
the King of Glory,
“What is thy servant, that thou
look upon such a dead dog as I am?”
but still the Lord indulges us with most familiar
intercourse with Himself, because He sees in our countenances the
remembrance of His dearly-beloved Jesus.
The Lord’s people are dear for
another’s sake. Such is the love which the Father bears to His only
begotten, that for His sake He raises His lowly brethren from poverty and
banishment, to courtly companionship, noble rank, and royal provision.
Their deformity shall not rob them of their privileges. Lameness is no bar
to sonship; the cripple is as much the heir as if he could run like Asahel.
right does not limp,
king’s table is a noble hiding-place for lame legs, and at the gospel
feast we learn to glory in infirmities, because the power of Christ
rests upon us. Yet grievous disability may mar the persons of the
best-loved saints. Here is one feasted by David, and yet so lame in both
his feet that he could not go up with the king when he fled from the city,
and was therefore maligned and injured by his servant Ziba (compare the
falsehood of Ziba in 2Sa 16:1, 2, 3, 4
with the truth of Mephibosheth in 2Sa 19:24, 25, 26, 27, 28).
Saints whose faith is weak, and whose knowledge is slender, are great
losers; they are exposed to many enemies, and cannot follow the king
whithersoever he goes. This disease frequently arises from falls. Bad
nursing in their spiritual infancy often causes converts to fall into a
despondency from which they never recover, and sin in other cases brings
Lord, help the lame to leap like
and satisfy all thy people with the bread of thy table!
In another devotional Spurgeon
“What is thy servant, that thou
should look upon such a dead dog as I am?” — 2Sa 9:8
If Mephibosheth was thus humbled by David’s kindness, what shall we
be in the presence of our gracious Lord?
The more grace we have, the less we
shall think of ourselves,
for grace, like light, reveals our impurity.
Eminent saints have scarcely known to what to compare themselves, their
sense of unworthiness has been so clear and keen.
“I am,” says holy
Rutherford, “a dry and withered branch, a piece of dead carcass, dry
bones, and not able to step over a straw.”
In another place he writes,
“Except as to open outbreakings, I want
nothing of what Judas and Cain had.”
The meanest objects in nature appear to the humbled mind to have a
preference above itself, because they have never contracted sin: a dog may
be greedy, fierce, or filthy, but it has no conscience to violate, no Holy
Spirit to resist. A dog may be a worthless animal, and yet by a little
kindness it is soon won to love its master, and is faithful unto death;
but we forget the goodness of the Lord, and follow not at his call. The
term “dead dog” is the most expressive of all terms of contempt, but it is
none too strong to express the self- abhorrence of instructed believers.
They do not affect mock modesty, they mean what they say, they have
weighed themselves in the balances of the sanctuary, and found out the
vanity of their nature.
At best, we are but clay, animated dust, mere
walking hillocks; but viewed as sinners, we are monsters indeed. Let it be
published in heaven as a wonder, that the Lord Jesus should set His
heart’s love upon such as we are. Dust and ashes though we be, we must and
will “magnify the exceeding greatness of his grace.” Could not his heart
find rest in heaven? Must he needs come to these tents of Kedar for a
spouse, and choose a bride upon whom the sun had looked? O heavens and
earth, break forth into a song, and give all glory to our sweet Lord
Jesus. (Morning and evening: Daily readings May 27 PM)
Chuck Swindoll has the following
illustration of God's grace taken from the life of Mephibosheth
the bible is a photo album filled with
pictures of God’s grace. One striking image is found in the pages
of 2 Samuel. The setting is the palace of King David. Gold and bronze
fixtures gleam from the walls. Lofty, wooden ceilings crown each spacious
room. In the banquet room, David and his children gather for an evening
meal. Absalom, tanned and handsome, is there, as is David’s beautiful
daughter Tamar. The call to dinner is given, and the king scans the room
to see if all are present. One figure, though, is absent.
Clump, scraaape, clump,
The sound coming down the hall echoes
into the chamber.
Clump, scraaape, clump,
Finally, the person appears at the door
and slowly shuffles to his seat. It is the lame Mephibosheth seated in
grace at David’s table. And the tablecloth covers his feet. Now the feast
can begin. (Swindoll, C. R.: The Tale of the Tardy Oxcart and 1501 Other Stories. Nashville:
In a devotional from Our Daily Bread
entitled "Handicap" we read the following story...
A British factory worker and his wife were excited when, after many years
of marriage, they discovered they were going to have their first child.
According to author Jill Briscoe, who told this true story, the man
eagerly relayed the good news to his fellow workers. He told them God had
answered his prayers. But they made fun of him for asking God for a child.
When the baby was born, he was diagnosed as having Downs Syndrome. As the
father made his way to work for the first time after the birth, he
wondered how to face his co-workers. “God, please give me wisdom,” he
prayed. Just as he feared, some said mockingly, “So, God gave you this
child!” The new father stood for a long time, silently asking God for
help. At last he said, “I’m glad the Lord gave this child to me and not
to you.”As this man accepted his disabled son as God’s gift to him, so
David was pleased to show kindness to Saul’s son who was “lame in his
feet” (2 Sa 9:3). Some may have rejected Mephibosheth
because he was lame, but David’s action showed that he valued him greatly
Grace in a "Barren Place"
I was that Mephibosheth
Crippled by my twisted pride and
hiding from you in a barren place
where You could not find me
where You would not give me what I deserved.
But somehow You found me and
I don’t understand why but You
give me what I do not deserve.
You not only spared my desolate life but
You made it bountiful
And here at Your table
I will thank You, my King.
F B Meyer in "Our Daily
Homily" comments on "Thou shalt eat bread at my table continually" (2
Four times in this chapter we are told of the lame man eating bread
at the royal table. But what are these facts recorded and repeated for,
save to accentuate the infinite blessings which come to us through the
Divine love? Mephibosheth had done nothing to merit the royal favor
Not a word is said of his being well-favored and attractive. So far from
that, he was lame on both his feet, and probably a sickly invalid. In his
own judgment he was worthless as a dead dog. His state was
impoverished; no deed of prowess could win David’s notice; he was almost
entirely at the mercy of his servant, Ziba.
In these respects there are many
analogies to our own condition in the sight of God. We are lame
indeed; and, so far as we are concerned, it is quite impossible that we
should ever win the Divine regard, or sit at His table among His sons. But
between David and Jonathan a covenant had been struck, which had provided
for the children of the ill-fated Jonathan (1Sa 20:14, 15, 16). It was
because of this sacred obligation that Mephibosheth fared as he did.
Look away, child of God, to the
covenant struck between God and thy representative, the Son of His love.
It is idle of thee to seek to propitiate the Divine favor, or earn a seat
at His table; but if thou art willing to identify thyself with thy Lord,
and to shelter thyself in Him by the living union of faith (2Co 5:7); if
thou canst base thy plea on the Blood of the everlasting covenant (He
13:20)— then the provisions of that covenant between Father and Son shall
be extended to thee: and because of God’s love to Jesus thou shalt sit at
the Divine table, and be regarded as one of the heirs of the great King.
Kay Arthur writes that
Mephibosheth prostrates himself
"What is your servant, that you should regard a dead dog like me?" (2 Samuel
A "dead dog" was a Hebrew expression for an embarrassing piece of garbage.
That's how Mephibosheth saw himself.
Compassion and lovingkindness were flowing from the throne, but
Mephibosheth couldn't take it in. Why? Because, beloved, like so many of
us, he did not have the facts straight. Mephibosheth knew only what he had
been told by people who perpetuated Saul's point of view. Mephibosheth
had lived in utter ignorance of the covenant his father, Jonathan, had cut
for him - a covenant made for just such an occasion as this.
And what about you, precious one?
Are you crippled because you've been living in fear of God, ignorant
of the covenant cut for you? Have you been dwelling in the barrenness and
the poverty of
Lo-Debar rather than in the riches of the inheritance that
belongs to those of covenant?
Have you feared that, if you ever came and bowed before God and gave Him
your life, He would do something terrible to you, He would exact some
horrible price-giving you cancer, or killing your loved ones, leaving you
single, and alone, or sending you off to some hostile foreign land?
Have you believed you can only be safe by fighting for the throne, shaping
your own destiny, taking care of yourself rather than trusting the God you
have heard about?
May I ask you this: How well do you know the One who sits upon the throne?
Are you fully aware that He administers justice for all His people? Or are
you the hopeless victim of rumors about God? Do you feel that God would
never find you acceptable and fit to enter His city because you are lame?
Do you sometimes feel that He (and everyone else) must view you as
Quit trembling, beloved. You have heard lies. Such reasoning knows
nothing of the covenant cut for you from eternity. There is hope for
you. There is a future because of covenant.
And yet here was Mephibosheth his own
choosing an enemy of David's, a man lame in both feet, crippled because of
fleeing from David, worthless and embarrassing in his own eyes yet bidden
by the king to come and dine! Why? It wasn't because of Mephibosheth. It
was because of Jonathan...
"Do not fear, for I will surely show
kindness (hesed a covenant word) to you for the sake of your father
Jonathan (for the sake of covenant)." (2Sa 9:7)
You can feast at Jesus' table anytime.
He who fed the multitudes, turned the water into wine, to the hungry
calls even now, "Come and dine!" Oh, beloved, are you taking hold of all that
is yours in your covenant with Him? (Our
Covenant God by Kay Arthur)
How secure was Mephibosheth? How
secure is your salvation?
The serious and secure nature of
covenant is highlighted by the saga of the Gibeonites, so first we
will look at that background. (See study on
Covenant: Solemn and Binding) Joshua had entered Canaan which by virtue of God's promise in the
Abrahamic Covenant that this was to be Israel's permanent possession. Joshua strategizes
to defeat the enemies occupying the land with a three‑pronged attack. The
people in Canaan were trembling because they had heard about the defeat of
Jericho by Joshua's army (really by Joshua's God). The iniquity of the
Amorites is full and the children of Israel are going in to take the land.
It is right that they do so because God is judging the land of Canaan for
their sins (cf Ge 15:16). After the Israelites go into the land, one
group of people, the Gibeonites, become very afraid.
Gibeonites knew remnants of covenant but they did not know the
Covenant Keeping God. Even though they were pagans, they knew that
covenant was a solemn, binding agreement. They knew that if they
duped the leaders of Israel into
that Israel would be bound
to protect them as their covenant partner and would would not be able to
destroy them as God had decreed, and this is exactly what transpired in (Josh
Joshua fulfilled his promise to be the
covenant defender of Gibeon when the Gibeonites were attacked by
Adoni-zedek the Amorite king of Jerusalem and the men of Gibeon appealed
to the solemn covenant with Israel. Joshua 10
records that Joshua remained
true to his covenant vow, defended the Gibeonites and experienced a
supernatural victory (brought about by Jehovah, Israel's Covenant
Defender!), relieving the besieged city, pursuing the attackers down the
ascent of Beth-horon and winning decisively.
Now we move to an
event that occurred some
400-500 years after Joshua had cut covenant with the Gibeonites. In
God used a famine in Israel to bring Saul's disobedience (putting
Gibeonites to death thus breaking the covenant that Joshua had cut with
them) to the attention of David.
Saul's sin was "personal" but it was not
"private" in the sense that the consequences had broad ranging effects.
This principle applies to our personal sins.
Saul must have known that
Joshua had promised the Gibeonites immunity from the extermination decreed
for the other inhabitants of Canaan but in his unbiblical "zeal" he broke
the covenant and killed Gibeonites. David asked the Gibeonites what they
would accept as settlement for Saul's breaking of the covenant peace
agreement. He was hoping to pay them off in money. But the Gibeonites
replied "We have no concern of silver or gold with Saul or his house, nor
is it for us to put any man to death in Israel." And he said,
"I will do for you whatever you say." So they said to the king, "The man
who consumed us, and who planned to exterminate us from remaining within
any border of Israel, let seven men from his sons be given to us, and we
will hang them before the LORD in Gibeah of Saul, the chosen of the LORD."
And the king said, "I will give them."
In summary, when David tried to make
matters right with them, they stood on their covenant rights,
claiming life for life, which is in keeping with the solemn nature of
covenant when it is broken by one of the parties. The Gibeonites would
accept no "blood money" but instead demanded blood from the family of the
slayer of their people. And so seven men of Saul’s descendants were given
over to the Gibeonites, who hung them “before Jehovah”—as a kind of
sacrifice—in Gibeah, Saul’s own town! God is serious about keeping
covenant! Observe the following account which
reveals the awesome security of covenant as well as its binding
5 So (the
Gibeonites) said to the king, "The man who consumed us, and who planned to
exterminate us from remaining within any border of Israel, 6 let seven men
from his sons be given to us, and we will hang them before the LORD in
Gibeah of Saul, the chosen of the LORD." And the king said, "I will give
them." 7 But the king spared Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan the son
of Saul, because of the oath of the LORD which was between them, between
David and Saul's son Jonathan. 8 So the king took the two sons of
Rizpah the daughter of Aiah, Armoni and Mephibosheth (another
"Mephibosheth" not protected by covenant!) whom she had born to Saul, and
the five sons of Merab the daughter of Saul, whom she had born to Adriel
the son of Barzillai the Meholathite. 9 Then he gave them into the hands
of the Gibeonites, and they hanged them in the mountain before the LORD,
so that the seven of them fell together; and they were put to death in the
first days of harvest at the beginning of barley harvest....14b after that
God was moved by entreaty for the land (God answered prayer in behalf of
the land and apparently ended the famine in Israel) (2
Samuel 21:5-9, 14)
King David spared
Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, because of the oath of
the LORD which was between David and Saul's son Jonathan.
And once the seven men were put to death, the Covenant Keeping God withdrew the famine!
Through all of this, Mephibosheth was kept secure because a covenant
had been cut on his behalf. An oath had been sworn.
Dear fearful one,
unsure of your eternal security, afraid you can lose your salvation, do you
not see the parallel between this covenant
between Jonathan and David and that which was cut on Calvary, between
Jesus and those who place their faith in Him? And even as other "Mephibosheths"
not covered by the blood of the covenant, will be condemned to an eternal
death and separation from God, you, dear one, because of "blood of the
eternal covenant" will never be condemned (Romans 8:1. 38, 39). Your name
is inscribed on the palm of His hands and cannot be removed. Forever! Dear
"Mephibosheth", rest in your covenant security!
In 2 Samuel 9, four
separate times the idea of Mephibosheth eating at the King's table
is presented. This is surely a picture of fellowship or communion David
desired to demonstrate. Believers who have been saved by grace likewise
have been saved for a life of fellowship with the Father by the same
grace. Note also in 2 Samuel 9:3 David desires to show "the kindness
(hesed) of God". By using this phrase David acknowledges that
his acts of kindness are rooted in God's own covenant lovingkindness
(hesed) for God Alone is the source of all goodness and kindness. As God's
grace flows through the yielded saint, that saint is motivated and
empowered to be gracious to others. This divine source however does not
minimize our human responsibility for acts of lovingkindness.
John MacArthur commenting on
Mephibosheth writes that...
Perhaps the most touching adoption mentioned in the Old Testament was that
of Mephibosheth, the crippled son of Jonathan and the sole remaining
descendent of Saul. When King David learned about Mephibosheth, he gave
him all the land that had belonged to his grandfather Saul and honored
this son of his dearest friend, Jonathan, by having him dine regularly at
the king’s table in the palace at Jerusalem (see 2 Sa 9:1, 2, 3,
4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13).
Pharaoh’s daughter adopted Moses out of pity and sympathy. And although
Mordecai dearly loved Esther, his adoption of her was also prompted by
family duty. But David’s adoption of Mephibosheth was motivated purely by
gracious love. In many ways, David’s adoption of Mephibosheth pictures
God’s adoption of believers. David took the initiative in seeking out
Mephibosheth and bringing him to the palace. And although Mephibosheth was
the son of David’s closest friend, he was also the grandson and sole heir
of Saul, who had sought repeatedly to kill David. Being crippled in both
feet, Mephibosheth was helpless to render David any significant service;
he could only accept his sovereign’s bounty. The very name Mephibosheth
means “a shameful thing,” and he had lived for a number of years in
Lo-Debar, which means “the barren land” (lit., “no pasture”). David
brought this outcast to dine at his table as his own son and graciously
granted him a magnificent inheritance to which he was no longer legally
That is a beautiful picture of the spiritual adoption whereby God
graciously and lovingly seeks out unworthy men and women on His own
initiative and makes them His children, solely on the basis of their trust
in His true Son, Jesus Christ. Because of their adoption, believers will
share the full inheritance of the Son. To all Christians God declares, “
‘I will welcome you, and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons
and daughters to Me,’ says the Lord Almighty” (2 Cor. 6:17,18). Paul
gives us the unspeakably marvelous assurance that God has “predestined us
to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind
intention of His will” (Eph 1:5).(MacArthur, J.
Romans. Chicago: Moody Press) (Bolding added)
William MacDonald adds that...
The parallels to salvation are obvious. Like Mephibosheth, we were
helpless (unable to come to God); our condition was hopeless (being part
of a fallen race). But by grace we became objects of divine favor. We have
been elevated to a place in the family of God and made joint-heirs with
Christ. (MacDonald, W., & Farstad, A. Believer's Bible Commentary:
Old and New Testaments. Nashville: Thomas Nelson)
Summary of Covenant:
Withholding Nothing From God
• Obeyed immediately when God spoke
• In Genesis 12:1 he obeyed when God told
him to leave his home country
• Performed circumcision immediately
• Offered the promised son Isaac without grumbling, arguing or hesitating
• Trusted God to raise Isaac from dead if necessary.
• God is faithful to His covenant
promises - He supplied the sacrificial ram
• Held relationship with David above
that with his father
• He valued the covenant above all else
• Covenant was superior to his own personal ambition
• He protected David at the risk of his own personal desires
• Honored the covenant that God had
made with Saul
• Said he would not harm Saul because he was God’s anointed
• Kills the Amalekite because he said he killed Saul
• Killed those who killed Ishbosheth=promise not to cut off Saul’s
• Honors covenant with Jonathan by befriending Mephibosheth
GOD’S FAITHFULNESS TO COVENANT
• Provided a ram for Abraham
• Protected David
• Fulfilled His covenant promise to David
• Faithful in removing Saul for breaking covenant
From the lives of Abraham, Moses,
Jonathan, David and Saul we can see that covenant is withholding nothing
from God and that God Himself is faithful in keeping covenant.
Am I giving myself totally to my
Am I obeying God immediately with a
Am I withholding something from God?
Have I sold out all for the pearl of great price?
Is my attitude "Whatever God wants
of me He can have?"
Do I take God at His word? Do I
commit my all w/o reservation?
Or do I hesitate, negotiate, argue or deal with God in order to avoid
Does my life show God that I fear
Him like Abraham?
Do I try to protect or defend myself or do I trust God?
Do I accept His timing, His purposes, His ways?
Am I jealous or tormented? If so Why? 1Sa 16:14
Do I offer God obedience or a bribe? Saul
Do I confess my sin wholeheartedly or do I make excuses? Saul
What is in your hand?
What is the dearest thing in life to you?
How are you going to hold it?
Are you going to say, "God I really do love you, but don't ask me for
God says, "Do you love Me more than ___________?"
How will you answer God?
God is a God of love, a Covenant keeping God. He loves you with an
everlasting love. He knows the plans that he has for you, plans for
your welfare and not for your calamity, plans that promise you a future and a hope. But,
loves us so much that He will not let us hold on to anything that is not
held in an open hand.
In covenant your relationship with your Covenant Partner the Lord Jesus
Christ must supersede
every other relationship on the face of this earth - every other
possession. No exceptions!
Sometimes in our life God sends a test
and says, "Take the thing you
love and unclench your fingers and trust Me."
Abraham trusted God and God let him have Isaac back. However, God doesn't always let you
keep what you want. If He does, it is because He knows it is best for you. If He
doesn't it is because He knows that is better for you and for Him and for His
So beloved, ask yourself...
What am I holding tightly in my hand,
unwilling to unclench my grip upon it?
you to be faithful to covenant. He is faithful. He demonstrated His
Will you be faithful to covenant no matter the cost? Beloved, you don't have to be afraid of
God for He desires your highest good.
When Isaac was taken off the alter, God provided a ram for the sacrifice.
This is a picture of God taking His Son and sacrificing Him in your place
so that He can cut a covenant with you.
Let me ask one more time...
Who or what is your Isaac?
Will you put it (or him or her) on the alter?
Will you give it (or him or her) to God wholeheartedly without any
Beloved, you will never regret a
decision to obey the clear call and command of the Almighty.