A Study of 2nd Samuel 9:1-7
“And David said, Is there yet any that us left of the house of Saul, that I may show him kindness for Jonathan’s sake?
And there was of the house of Saul a servant who’s name was Ziba. And when they had called him unto David, the king said unto him, Art thou Ziba? And he said, Thy servant is he.
And the king said, Is there not yet any of the house of Saul, that I may show the kindness of God unto him? And Ziba said unto the king, Jonathan hath yet a son, which is lame on his feet.
And the king said unto him, Where is he? And Ziba said unto the king, Behold, he is in the house of Machir, the son of Ammiel, in Lodebar.
Then king David sent, and fetched him out of the house of Machir, the son of Ammiel, from Lodebar.
Now when Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, was come unto David, he fell on his face, and did reverence. And David said, Mephibosheth. And he answered, Behold thy servant.
And David said unto him, Fear not: for I will surely show thee kindness for Jonathan they father’s sake, and will restore thee all the land of Saul thy father; and thou shalt eat bread at my table continually.” (2nd Samuel 9:1-7)
In 2nd Samuel we find one of the most interesting stories to be found anywhere in God’s Word. It’s a beautiful picture of God’s grace towards sinners.
“Then king David sent and fetched
him out of the house of Machir, out of the land of Lodebar.” David sent and fetched him. Saul had been rejected by God because of disobedience, and Saul was now dead. David was king over all Israel. David sat upon the throne in complete authority. And one of the first things that king David did after he became king over all of Israel was gather all of his leaders together, servants, captains, generals and he spoke to them one day and this is what he said; “Is there not any of the house of Saul, that I may shew the kindness of God unto him?” (2nd Samuel 9:3)
And Ziba, one of the servants there, reported that Saul had a grandson, Johnathan’s son. His name was Mephibosheth and he lived down in the house of Machir in Lodebar. “And Ziba said unto the king, Jonathan hath yet a son, which is lame on his feet” (2nd Samuel 9:3).
Mephibosheth was Saul’s grandson, Johnathan’s son and he was now living in the place called Lodebar, the place of no pasture and the house of no bread. He was a helpless cripple, lame on both of his feet. “Then King David sent, and fetched him.” And the crippled Mephibosheth was brought to the capitol and appeared in the presence of King David, fell on his face and did reverence to the King.
“And David said unto him, Fear not: for I surely shew thee kindness for Johnathan they father’s sake, and restore thee all the land of Saul thy father; and thou shalt eat bread at my table continually.” (2nd Samuel 9:7)
David was telling Mephibosheth, “You’re going to inherit all that you lost. You’re going to inherit Saul’s entire land, 15 farmers, 20 servants, and all the land and you’re going to sit at my table continually and be one of my sons.”
And Mephibosheth looked at the king and this is what he said; “What is thy servant, that thou shouldest look upon such a dead dog as I am?” (2nd Samuel 9:8) And David said, “For Jonathan’s sake I show you the kindness and mercy of God.”
This is a beautiful story about the gospel – how God deals with sinners. It’s a beautiful picture and can be told in seven or eight words. Let’s take them one at a time:
“And the king said”
In verse 3 the word to consider is “king”.
“And the king said, Is there not yet any of the house of Saul that I might show the kindness of God unto him?”
The king said and the king speaks, this mercy, this kindness all begins with the king, with king David. And the Bible says; “Where the word of a king is, there is power.” (Ecclesiastes 8:4)
David was now ruler, sovereign, king over all of Israel. These people were sitting there listening to what he had to say. They were awaiting his commandments. They were awaiting his words. There’s no counsel here, there’s no bargaining here, and there is no cooperation here; it is total authority, it is total power, and it is total sovereignty, “the king said.”
And king David speaking here with this authority, with this power, and with this sovereignty, is a picture of our sovereign God as He speaks in authority. In Isaiah 45:6-7 God says; “I am the LORD; and there is none else: I form the light, and create darkness. I make peace, and I create evil: I the LORD do all these things.”
And then in Isaiah 46:9-10 He says this; “I am God, and there is none like me. Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure.”
And the king said, “Is there any of the house of Saul that I might show him the kindness of God? I will do my pleasure. I will carry out my purpose. I will accomplish my will.”
And that’s what God is saying here. And in 1st Samuel 2:6; “The LORD killeth, and maketh alive: he bringeth down to the grave, and bring the up. The LORD maketh poor, and maketh rich: he bringeth low, and lifteth up.”
Our God is a sovereign God. He’s an almighty God. An almighty God is absolutely sovereign in all of creation. The Scripture says; “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). Almighty God created all things by the word of His power according to His own purpose, according to His own wisdom and according to His own will. God is sovereign in creation.
And our God is absolutely sovereign in providence. The Scripture tells us; “He worketh all things after the council of His own will.” (Ephesians 1:11)
Paul said in Romans 8:28, “All things work together for good to them who love God, who are the called according to His purpose,” because God almighty controls all things. All providence is in the hands of the LORD. God is absolutely sovereign, not only in creation, and not only in providence, but He’s sovereign in salvation; “Salvation is of the LORD.” (Jonah 2:9)
In the book of Psalms, the Psalmist says; “The salvation of the righteous is of the LORD” (Psalm 37:30). He planned it, and He purposed it. Just as David sitting on this sovereign throne with all things under his control and his power; he spoke to these people and he said; “Is there any left of the house of Saul that I might show him mercy? I decree to do it and I purpose to do it. I plan to do it.”
“It is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.” (Roman’s 9:16)
This story begins with a king. Our story begins with a King. Mercy begins with a King. The mercy we receive begins with a King. The salvation of Mephibosheth begins with the king, the king purposed it, the king decreed it, and the king planned it.
The Scripture says in snd Samuel 9:3 “And the king said.” And I can almost hear God Himself speaking in glory, in His own decree and purpose, saying “I will be merciful.”
The second word we want to consider is “kindness.”
And the king said; “I will show kindness. Is there any left of the house of Saul, my enemy, the one who tried to kill me, the one who tried to prevent me from coming where I am, the one who tried to keep me from the throne, Saul, my enemy; is there any left of his house that I might show the kindness of God to him?”
The word “kindness” here is mercy or pity. Saul’s house was David’s enemy, all of his house. But king David says; “I’m going to be merciful to my enemies.” And the Scripture says this of us; “God commended His love toward us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)
God says; “I will be merciful, I will be gracious.” Psalm 130:7 says; “Let Israel hope in the LORD: for with the LORD there is mercy.” He delights to show mercy. “Is there any left of the house of Saul that I might show mercy?”
In our day especially and in previous times too, people engage in a lot of talk about working in the kingdom of the LORD and working for the LORD and serving the LORD, and that is good if one has the right motives, but they talk about earning rewards and having stars in their crowns. You hear talk like this all the time; “We’re going to appear before the judgment seat of Christ and some of us are going to get a lot of rewards and some not very many rewards and some no rewards.” They are very deceived.
The language of real salvation is mercy. David said; “Is there any of the house of Saul that I might show him mercy?” He doesn’t deserve anything. He doesn’t have anything coming. Actually, he deserves to die because he’s the son of my enemy. If I leave him alone he may try to take my throne. He may raise up a coup against me. He may raise up a group of people to attack my throne. But I’m going to show mercy to him.
And when God almighty looks down at Adam’s sin-cursed race He doesn’t owe us anything. God never has and does not now and never will be indebted to you or to me. If God gives us what we deserve we’ll get eternal condemnation.
It’s not justice we want, its mercy. And mercy is the language of grace. Mercy is the language of Biblical salvation; Paul said, “I obtained mercy, mercy” (1st Timothy 1:13). And when he was praying for the house of Onesiphorus, he said “The Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus” (2nd Timothy 1:16)
Here was a faithful friend of Paul, a faithful disciple, a faithful preacher. And all Paul could wish for him was that he might find mercy.
The Publican in the temple; what did he ask God for? “Mercy”! The woman who came, the Canaanite woman, and asked Christ to heal her daughter; what did she pray for? “Mercy”! It’s all the way through the Scripture, “God be merciful.” (Psalm 67:1; Luke 18:13)
And in Hebrews 4:16 the Scripture says; “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we might obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need”
“Let us”, you and me, sinners saved by God’s grace “come boldly unto the throne of grace”, into the holiest, into the presence of God, “that we might obtain”, what? rewards for our work? a congratulation for our endeavours? that we may obtain what? “mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
Here’s the story; the King said, “I will be merciful to the undeserved.” Somebody said; “Grace is God almighty giving us what we don’t deserve and mercy is God not giving us what we do deserve.”
And that’s the language of grace, its mercy. It’s not reward, it’s not service; it’s mercy. And that’s what we want now and that’s what we want tomorrow and that’s what we want next year; we want mercy.
“And the king said, is there not yet any of the house of Saul, that I may show the kindness of God unto him” And Ziba one of his servants said, “Jonathan hath yet a son, which is lame on his feet.” (2nd Samuel 9:3)
There’s the word “lame”. He’s a helpless cripple! Mephibosheth is a picture of you and me. Mephibosheth is a helpless cripple and you and I spiritually are helpless cripples, not only, are we without use of our legs but every other faculty of our being has been tainted and stained and slain by sin.
We’re not only without hope; we’re without God and without Christ and without help. Do you know how Mephibosheth got crippled? We can find what happened to him in 2nd Samuel 4:4.
When he was just a young boy the news came of Saul and the battle going against him and the enemy was prevailing and this little boy’s nurse picked him up, Mephibosheth, and was going to run with him. When she did, she dropped him and he crushed both of his legs. And from that moment on he was a helpless cripple. He was crippled in the fall. And do you know what happened to us? We were crippled in the fall. Go back yonder to the Garden of Eden when God put Adam and Eve in a perfect garden. “Lo, this only have I found, that God hath made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions.” (Ecclesiastes 7:29) and rebelled against the true and living God.
And as a result of that fall the Scripture says; “By one man sin entered the world, and death by sin; and so death, passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” (Romans 5:12); and “by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners.” (Romans 5:19)
And not just our spiritual legs are lame but listen to the Scripture; “Every imagination of the thoughts of his (man’s) heart was only evil continually.” (Genesis 6:5); “The poison of snakes is under his lips.” (Romans 3:13); “Having eyes full of adultery; and that cannot cease from sin.” (2nd Peter 2:14); “The tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity…and is set on fire of hell.” (James 3:6); Man has “feet that be swift in running to mischief.” (Proverbs 6:18); “Men love darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For ever kne that doeth evil hath the light, neither cometh to the light lest his deeds should be reproved.” (John 3:19); “Ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.” (John 5:40)
Isaiah said, “From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it.” (Isaiah 1:6)
We were ruined in the fall, we were slayed in the fall, we were destroyed in the fall, and we’re hopeless, helpless, cripples, who are living like Mephibosheth in the dunghill, in the pigpen. We’re living in the house of no bread and no pasture, the place of evil, lame on both of our feet. We cannot run to God and we wouldn’t if we could.
The king “sent, and fetched him”
“Then king David sent, and fetched him.” (2nd Samuel 9:5)
David proposed to show mercy. David purposed and planned to show mercy. It was in his heart. Nobody told him to show mercy, it was in his own heart, it was in his own mind and it was according to his own purpose; “I’m going to show mercy to one of Saul’s sons,” if there’s any left.
David set his heart on this cripple. Somebody told him there was a crippled son down there in Lodebar. David set his heart on him. And David having purposed to show mercy to Mephibosheth and setting his affections on him he sent and fetched him; he sent after him. He said, “You go and bring him up here.”
The LORD of glory has determined to show mercy. He purposed in His own heart to show mercy to Adam’s race. God is love and God is mercy. He set His affections on us; He said; “I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have drawn thee.” (Jeremiah 31:3)
We were enemies, enemies of God in our minds and in our hearts (Colossians 1:21). And yet, “God commended His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). God set His affections on us. God set His love upon us. God purposed to save a people.
And then, He sent His Son into this world to be our Saviour. Christ came into this world and took our flesh and bones, flesh and blood. He became a man. He obeyed the law of God perfectly.
He went to the cross and died for our sin. He took all of our guilt and our shame and our sin in His body on the tree and paid for it. And God sent His Holy Spirit to awaken us, to quicken us, to call us. He came where we were and called us unto Himself.
And that’s what David did. He told one of his servants to go down in the land of no pasture, Lodebar, and to get Mephibosheth and bring him to him.
And that’s what almighty God did for us; He sent His Son to give to us a perfect righteousness. He sent His Son to give to us a perfect, holy, standing. And then He sent His Holy Spirit to awaken us, quicken us, call us, rule us, and bring us to Himself.
So, they brought Mephibosheth up to the palace. Just imagine the scene. Here this boy, crippled, probably ragged, probably had nothing of his own, living off the welfare of others. He was brought up to this beautiful, beautiful, palace where David lived. Here was David sitting there on the throne and on each side of him a minister of the state. And surrounding him were generals, body guards, captains, lieutenants, princes and all manner of royalty. And down there on the floor on his broken, crippled, helpless, legs, sat Mephibosheth, the son of David’s enemy Saul; here he was in the camp of David’s friend. He was the only descendent of Saul. He was the only one left.
They were all looking at him and he was afraid, he was afraid. The Scripture says, “He fell on his face, and did reverence” (2nd Samuel 9:6). And David looked down at him and said, “Fear not: for I will surely shew thee kindness for Jonathan thy father’s sake.” (2nd Samuel 9:7)
“For Jonathan’s sake” (2nd Samuel 9:1). Not because of you Mephibosheth, not because of who you are, not because of what you’ve done, and not because of anything you can add to me.
What could that helpless cripple add to powerful David? What could that helpless cripple add to this court of handsome, strong, beautiful, people? What could that helpless cripple add to the glory of a man who already had all authority, all sovereignty, and all power over this whole mighty kingdom? Not a thing! He couldn’t add a thing to David but David could add a whole lot to him.
And I’m saying what can you add to God almighty’s kingdom? What could I add, a helpless, hopeless, cripple, a sinner, wicked, sinful, evil; what could I add to the kingdom of God or to the assembly of His angels and cherubim’s and seraphim’s and His heavenly glory? Not a thing! But God can add a whole lot to me.
And David said; “Mephibosheth; I’m going to show you kindness for Jonathan’s sake.” This whole story had its beginning a long time before Mephibosheth was ever born.
Who is David talking about? Jonathan? “I’m going to show you, (you helpless cripple, you broken, hopeless, cripple) I’m going to show you kindness for Jonathan’s sake.” Who was Jonathan?
Well, back before Mephibosheth was ever born, back before Jonathan was ever married, Jonathan, the son of Saul, became a friend to David. David had just killed Goliath. He was just a stripling of a lad himself. And he came before king Saul holding that head of Goliath in his hand by the hair. And Saul sitting on the throne; this was when Saul was king and David was just a young boy. “And Saul said to him, Whose son art thou? And David answered, I am the son of thy servant Jesse the Bethlehemite.” (1st Samuel 17:58) Then we read in the following verse of scripture: “And it came to pass, when he had made an end of speaking unto Saul that the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David and Jonathan loved him as his own soul.” (2nd Samuel 18:1) And when Jonathan saw him; the Scripture says he “loved him.”
Johnathan was Saul’s son and he loved that boy. They were about the same age. And they quickly became friends. They became the best of friends. The Bible says Jonathan’s love towards David was “wonderful, passing the love of women.” (2nd Samuel 1:26). They were so close; they were such friends.
And one day Jonathan and David were out in a field. Saul was trying to kill David, trying to run him out of the kingdom. He knew David was more popular than he was and more powerful than he was so he was trying to get rid of him.
Jonathan said to David, that someday he was going to be the king (1st Samuel 23:17). His father was disobedient to God and someday God would remove him from the throne and David was going to be the king.
In 1st Samuel 20 we read that Jonathan and David made a covenant. Jonathan said if anything happens to his father and to him and David becomes king, that he would show kindness to his family, he would remember his family, whoever was left.
“And thou shalt not only while yet I live shew me the kindness of the LORD, that I die not: but also thou shalt not cut off thy kindness from my house for ever: no, not when the LORD hath 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 even require it at the hand of David’s enemies.” (1st Samuel 20:14-16)
Well, the years went by and Saul was killed and Jonathan was killed. David was sitting on the throne now; it was years later. And that’s when he said: “Is there not yet any of the house of Saul, that I may shew the kindness of God unto him?” (2and Samuel 9:23)
And they brought that cripple up there, Mephibosheth, the only one left. And David said “I’m going to show you kindness for Johnathan’s sake; I loved him and I’m going to be kind to you for his sake.”
That’s what God did for you and me. Before we were ever born He loved us in Christ. He chose us in Christ. He set His affections on us in Christ. He made a covenant with His Son. Christ is the Surety of an everlasting covenant.
His blood is the blood of an everlasting covenant. He was a “lamb slain before the foundation of the world.” (Revelation 13:8)
Paul said, “it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by His grace, to reveal His Son to me.” (Galatians 1:15-16)
God said to Jeremiah; “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou came at forth out of the womb I sanctified thee.” (Jeremiah 1:5)
The Lord Jesus said, “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” (John 6:37)
Yes, God is kind to us and gracious to us but not because of anything He sees in us, not because we’re better than anybody else, not because we deserve His kindness; we’re enemies (Romans 5:10; Colossians 1:2).
It’s not that we deserve His grace; He’s doing it for Christ’s sake.
“Be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” (Ephesians 4:32)
That’s the basis of God’s mercy. God shows mercy to the undeserving, to the ill-deserving, to the hell-deserving, to the sons of His enemies. He does it for Jesus’ sake because of what Christ did for us and because of Christ’s love for us.
“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.” (2nd Samuel 9:9)
The King restored to Mephibosheth all that he lost in Saul. (I’m going to give him those 15 farmers and 20 servants and all that land). Everything that pertaineth to Saul now belongs to Mephibosheth “I will surely show thee kindness for Jonathan’s sake, and will restore thee all the land of Saul thy father; and thou shalt eat bread at my table continually.” (2nd Samuel 9:7)
And God almighty in Christ restores to us everything we lost in the fall, son-ship, heir-ship, the inheritance, everything. “I have given it to you for Christ’s sake!”