Who Was Mephibosheth?

“And You (David) shall not only while I (Jonathan) live show me the kindness of the Lord, that I die not: But also you shall not cut off your kindness from my house forever: no, not when the Lord has cut off the enemies of David every one from the face of the Earth. So Jonathan made a covenant with the house of David, saying, let the Lord even require it at the hand of David’s enemies. And Jonathan caused David to swear again, because he loved him as he loved his own soul” 1 Samuel 20: 14-16).

Jonathan was the son of Saul, the first king of Israel. Over a long period of time, King Saul made every effort to kill David, while his son Jonathan loved David and sought to protect him. The two made a covenant between them as recorded above. Jonathan knew that David would be king one day (verse 15) and through the covenant they made, asked David to show mercy to his family despite what his father was attempting to do to David. The two had a strong brotherly love. Jonathan, being Saul’s son, would have been in line to become king, but he knew the Lord had anointed David as the next king of Israel. He was a man of faith and loved the Lord, and loved David. However, Jonathan would not live to see David made king, but was killed in a battle along with his father.

“And Jonathan, Saul’s son, had a son that was lame in his feet. He was five years old when the tidings came of Saul and Jonathan ( their death in battle) out of Jezreel, and his nurse took him up, and fled: it came to pass, as she made haste to flee, that he fell, and became lame. And his name was Mephibosheth” (2 Samuel 4:4).

Once David became king, he remembered his covenant with Jonathan and sought out any in the house of Saul that he might show them kindness. Jonathan had a son who was “lame in his feet.” and the king sent for him. When Mephiboseth came to David he fell on his face before him fearing what David might do to him as a member of the house of Saul. He had good reason to fear because in those days any possible heir to the throne was killed immediately to prevent any challenge to the throne. To Mephibosheth’s great astonishment and relief, David told him that he had nothing to fear. David said that he would show him kindness for His father Jonathan’s sake, that Mephibosheth would eat at his table from that time forward, and that he would restore all the family land. Mephibosheth was amazed and heartened that the king would receive him in this manner. This was David honoring the covenant he had made years earlier with his father Jonathan.

This account is a wonderful example of God’s love for us in the grace he provided that we might be free. David, here, is a type of the Heavenly Father, with Jonathan representing the Lord Jesus Christ. Mephibosheth is a type of us as sinners lost, unable to save ourselves. The name Mephibosheth means “the shameful thing” which describes all of us prior to coming to the Lord in repentance and faith. Once he humbled himself before David, great kindness was shown to him by David and he was brought into the king’s presence to remain there and eat at his table. All family land was restored to him.

We, are crippled in our lives due to sin and are shown great kindness by he Lord. Once we humble ourselves and come to the Lord in repentance and faith, we are forgiven by the Heavenly Father because of His Son, the Lord Jesus. This is what the New Covenant is all about. We then walk in His presence and will be with him forever in eternity. Mephibosheth had all the family land restored, and we will rule and reign with the Lord over His Kingdom as “priests and kings. How blessed was Mephibosheth in the kindness David showed him, and how blessed are we that the Lord of Glory would come and die on a cruel cross that we might be forgiven of the Father and called “children of God.”

1 John 3:1 says: “See what kind of love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are…….”

P.S. It is unclear in scripture whether Mephibosheth, at a later date, betrayed David when David’s son, Absalom, rebelled against him. Many believe that Mephibosheth’s servant, Ziba, betrayed him to gain favor with David. It seems unlikely to me that Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan, would betray David. It seems more likely that Ziba, seeing all the land that David had restored to Mephibosheth, would lie to David to gain it for himself. Mephibosheth was crippled and would have been unable to follow David physically when David had to flee Jerusalem due to Absalom’s rebellion. See 2 Samuel 16:1-4 (Ziba’s accusation) and 2 Samuel 19:24-30 (Mephibosheth’s declaration of loyalty to David).

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Tom Quinn Ministries – tqministries.com 2021

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