Biblical Character Series: Mephibosheth – David’s Covenant of Kindness

Mephibosheth is a lesser-known but intriguing character in the Bible, found in the Old Testament. He was the son of Jonathan, grandson of King Saul, and had a close relationship with King David due to a covenant between David and Jonathan (1 Samuel 20:16).

As a child, Mephibosheth became lame in both feet due to a fall while fleeing from the Philistines (2 Samuel 4:4). Despite his disability and the common practice of new kings eliminating potential rivals from the previous royal family, David showed him uncommon kindness. Upon becoming king, David sought to honor his covenant with Jonathan and asked if there was anyone left of the house of Saul to whom he could show kindness (2 Samuel 9:1).

On learning about Mephibosheth, David restored all of Saul's lands to him, symbolizing the restoration of his dignity and position (2 Samuel 9:7). Moreover, he allowed Mephibosheth to eat at his table, much like one of the king's sons, signifying acceptance and favor (2 Samuel 9:11).

However, during Absalom's rebellion, Mephibosheth's servant, Ziba, lied to David about his master (2 Samuel 16:1-4), causing a misunderstanding. When David returned to Jerusalem, Mephibosheth explained the situation and reaffirmed his loyalty (2 Samuel 19:24-30).

Even during the revenge of the Gibeonites, when the descendants of Saul were to be handed over to the Gibeonites, David spared Mephibosheth (2 Samuel 21:7), thus fulfilling his promise to Jonathan. The story of Mephibosheth is a powerful testament to the enduring power of friendship and covenant loyalty.

Bible References of Mephibosheth

  1. Introduction and the accident that caused his disability:
    • 2 Samuel 4:4
  2. David's kindness to Mephibosheth - returning Saul's lands to him and allowing him to eat at David's table:
    • 2 Samuel 9:3-13
  3. During Absalom's rebellion, Ziba, Mephibosheth's servant, lies to David about Mephibosheth:
    • 2 Samuel 16:1-4
  4. After Absalom's death, he explains to David the misunderstanding caused by Ziba:
    • 2 Samuel 19:24-30
  5. David protects him during the Gibeonites' revenge:
    • 2 Samuel 21:7
  6. His lineage as a member of the Tribe of Benjamin:
    • 1 Chronicles 8:34
    • 1 Chronicles 9:40


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