2 Samuel 9:1-13
9 David asked, “Is anyone left from the royal house of Saul? If there is, I want to be kind to him because of Jonathan.” 2 Ziba was a servant in Saul’s family. David sent for him to come and see him. The king said to him, “Are you Ziba?” “I’m ready to serve you,” he replied. 3 The king asked, “Isn’t there anyone still alive from the royal house of Saul? God has been very kind to me. I would like to be kind to that person in the same way.” Ziba answered the king, “A son of Jonathan is still living. Both of his feet were hurt so that he can’t walk.” 4 “Where is he?” the king asked. Ziba answered, “He’s in the town of Lo Debar. He’s staying at the house of Makir, the son of Ammiel.” 5 So King David had Mephibosheth brought from Makir’s house in Lo Debar. 6 Mephibosheth came to David. He was the son of Jonathan, the son of Saul. Mephibosheth bowed down to David to show him respect. David said, “Mephibosheth!” “I’m ready to serve you,” he replied. 7 “Don’t be afraid,” David told him. “You can be sure that I will be kind to you because of your father Jonathan. I’ll give back to you all the land that belonged to your grandfather Saul. And I’ll always provide what you need.” 8 Mephibosheth bowed down to David. He said, “Who am I? Why should you pay attention to me? I’m nothing but a dead dog.” 9 Then the king sent for Saul’s servant Ziba. He said to him, “I’m giving your master’s grandson everything that belonged to Saul and his family. 10 You and your sons and your servants must farm the land for him. You must bring in the crops. Then he’ll be taken care of. I’ll always provide what he needs.” Ziba had 15 sons and 20 servants. 11 Then Ziba said to the king, “I’ll do anything you command me to do. You are my king and master.” So David provided what Mephibosheth needed. He treated him like one of the king’s sons. 12 Mephibosheth had a young son named Mika. All the members of Ziba’s family became servants of Mephibosheth. 13 Mephibosheth lived in Jerusalem. The king always provided what he needed. Both of his feet were hurt so that he could not walk.
After all of the evil that happened to David at the hand of King Saul, it would seem that David would have had no obligation to look after Saul’s descendants now that David is king and Saul is dead. But looking back a few chapters to 1 Samuel 24, we see a promise that David made to King Saul.
At that time, David had the opportunity to kill King Saul, but spared his life, preferring to wait for God’s timing rather than take matters into his own hands. Saul was amazed at this gesture and said ” May the Lord reward you well for the way you treated me today. I know that you will surely be king and that the kingdom of Israel will be established in your hands. Now swear to me by the Lord that you will not kill off my descendants or wipe out my name from my father’s family. So David gave his oath to Saul.” (1 Sam. 24:19-22).
And now that he has become the new king, we see David going actively looking for an opportunity to fulfil this promise.
What integrity and graciousness this shows us in David’s character – integrity because no one would have known if he didn’t fulfil this promise to Saul, since the oath was made in a dark cave in secret and Saul is now dead. But David goes out of his way to keep his promise not only for the sake of King Saul but also for the sake of Saul’s son Jonathon, David’s fallen companion whom he loved deeply.
And graciousness because King Saul had treated him badly and David could have quite justifiably felt that he didn’t own Saul anything.
I find this very inspiring. May I be a person of integrity who keeps my word even when no one (but God) would know if I do or not. And may I have a gracious heart – looking for ways to show kindness even when it seems that the person does not ‘deserve’ it.
Written by Shelley Witt