The only thing recorded in this chapter is the kindness David showed to
Jonathan's seed for his sake.
I. The kind enquiry he made after the remains of the house of Saul, and
his discovery of Mephibosheth,
2 Samuel 9:1-4.
II. The kind reception he gave to Mephibosheth, when he was brought to
2 Samuel 9:5-8.
III. The kind provision he made for him and his,
2 Samuel 9:9-13.
David's Kindness to Jonathan's Son.
B. C. 1039.
1 And David said, Is there yet any that is left of the house of
Saul, that I may shew him kindness for Jonathan's sake?
2 And there was of the house of Saul a servant whose 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.
3 And the king said, Is there not yet any of the house of
Saul, that I may shew the kindness of God unto him? And Ziba said
unto the king, Jonathan hath yet a son, which is lame on his
4 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.
5 Then king David sent, and fetched him out of the house of
Machir, the son of Ammiel, from Lodebar.
6 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!
7 And David said unto him, Fear not: for I will surely shew
thee kindness for Jonathan thy father's sake, and will restore
thee all the land of Saul thy father; and thou shalt eat bread at
my table continually.
8 And he bowed himself, and said, What is thy servant, that
thou shouldest look upon such a dead dog as I am?
I. David's enquiry after the remains of the ruined house of Saul,
2 Samuel 9:1.
This was a great while after his accession to the throne, for it should
seem that Mephibosheth, who was but five years old when Saul died, had
now a son born,
2 Samuel 9:12.
David had too long forgotten his obligations to Jonathan, but now, at
length, they are brought to his mind. It is good sometimes to bethink
ourselves whether there be any promises or engagements that we have
neglected to make good; better do it late than never. The compendium
which Paul gives us of the life of David is this
that he served his generation according to the will of God, that
is, he was a man that made it his business to do good; witness this
instance, where we may observe,
1. That he sought an opportunity to do good. He might perhaps have
satisfied his conscience with the performance of his promise to
Jonathan if he had been only ready, upon request or application made to
him by any of his seed, to help and succour them. But he does more, he
enquires of those about him first
(2 Samuel 9:1),
and, when he met with a person that was likely to inform him, asked him
particularly, Is there any yet left of the house of Saul, that I may
show him kindness?
2 Samuel 9:3.
"Is there any, not only to whom I may do justice
but to whom I may show kindness?" Note, Good men should seek
opportunities of doing good. The liberal deviseth liberal
For, the most proper objects of our kindness and charity are such as
will not be frequently met with without enquiry. The most necessitous
are the least clamorous.
2. Those he enquired after were the remains of the house of Saul, to
whom he would show kindness for Jonathan's sake: Is there any left
of the house of Saul? Saul had a very numerous family
(1 Chronicles 8:33),
enough to replenish a country, and was yet so emptied that none of it
appeared; but it was a matter of enquiry, Is there any left? See
how the providence of God can empty full families; see how the sin of
man will do it. Saul's was a bloody house, no marvel it was thus
2 Samuel 21:1.
But, though God visited the iniquity of the father upon the children,
David would not. "Is there any left that I can show kindness to, not
for Saul's own sake, but for Jonathan's?"
(1.) Saul was David's sworn enemy, and yet he would show kindness to
his house with all his heart and was forward to do it. He does not say,
"Is there any left of the house of Saul, that I may find some way to
take them off, and prevent their giving disturbance to me or my
successor?" It was against Abimelech's mind that any one was left of
the house of Gideon
and against Athaliah's mind that any one was left of the seed
2 Chronicles 22:10,11.
Those were usurped governments. David's needed no such vile supports.
He was desirous to show kindness to the house of Saul, not only because
he trusted in God and feared not what they could do unto him, but
because he was of a charitable disposition and forgave what they had
done to him. Note, We must evince the sincerity of our forgiving those
that have been any way unjust or injurious to us by being ready, as we
have opportunity, to show kindness both to them and theirs. We must not
only not avenge ourselves upon them, but we must love them, and do
and not be backward to do any office of love and good-will to those
that have done us many an injury.
1 Peter 3:9--
but, contrari-wise, blessing. This is the way to overcome evil, and
to find mercy for ourselves and ours, when we or they need it.
(2.) Jonathan was David's sworn friend, and therefore he would show
kindness to his house. This teaches us,
[1.] To be mindful of our covenant. The kindness we have promised we
must conscientiously perform, though it should not be claimed. God is
faithful to us; let us not be unfaithful to one another.
[2.] To be mindful of our friendships, our old friendships. Note,
Kindness to our friends, even to them and theirs, is one of the laws of
our holy religion. He that has friends must show himself
If Providence has raised us, and our friends and their families are
brought low, yet we must not forget former acquaintance, but rather
look upon that as giving us so much the fairer opportunity of being
kind to them: then our friends have most need of us and we are in the
best capacity to help them. Though there be not a solemn league of
friendship tying us to this constancy of love, yet there is a sacred
law of friendship no less obliging, that to him that is in misery pity
should be shown by his friend,
A brother is born for adversity. Friendship obliges us to take
cognizance of the families and surviving relations of those we have
loved, who, when they left us, left behind them their bodies, their
names, and their posterity, to be kind to.
3. The kindness he promised to show them he calls the kindness of
God; not only great kindness, but,
(1.) Kindness in pursuance of the covenant that was between him and
Jonathan, to which God was a witness. See
1 Samuel 20:42.
(2.) Kindness after God's example; for we must be merciful as he is. He
spares those whom he has advantage against, and so must we. Jonathan's
request to David was
(1 Samuel 20:14,15),
"Show me the kindness of the Lord, that I die not, and the same
to my seed." The kindness of God is some greater instance of kindness
than one can ordinarily expect from men.
(3.) It is kindness done after a godly sort, and with an eye to God,
and his honour and favour.
II. Information given him concerning Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan.
Ziba was an old retainer to Saul's family, and knew the state of it. He
was sent for and examined, and informed the king that Jonathan's son
was living, but lame (how he came to be so we read before,
2 Samuel 4:4),
and that he lived in obscurity, probably among his mother's relations
in Lo-debar in Gilead, on the other side Jordan, where he was
forgotten, as a dead man out of mind, but bore this obscurity
the more easily because he could remember little of the honour he fell
III. The bringing of him to court. The king sent (Ziba, it is likely)
to bring him up to Jerusalem with all convenient speed,
2 Samuel 9:5.
Thus he eased Machir of his trouble, and perhaps recompensed him for
what he had laid out on Mephibosheth's account. This Machir appears to
have been a very generous free-hearted man, and to have entertained
Mephibosheth, not out of any disaffection to David or his government,
but in compassion to the reduced son of a prince, for afterwards we
find him kind to David himself when he fled from Absalom. He is named
(2 Samuel 17:27)
among those that furnished the king with what he wanted at Mahanaim,
though David, when he sent for Mephibosheth from him, little thought
that the time would come when he himself would gladly be beholden to
him: and perhaps Machir was then the more ready to help David in
recompence for his kindness to Mephibosheth. Therefore we should be
forward to give, because we know not but we ourselves may some time be
And he that watereth shall be watered also himself,
1. Mephibosheth presented himself to David with all the respect that
was due to his character. Lame as he was, he fell on his face, and
2 Samuel 9:6.
David had thus made his honours to Mephibosheth's father, Jonathan,
when he was next to the throne
(1 Samuel 20:41,
he bowed himself to him three times), and now Mephibosheth, in
like manner, addresses him, when affairs are so completely reversed.
Those who, when they are in inferior relations, show respect, shall,
when they come to be advanced, have respect shown to them.
2. David received him with all the kindness that could be.
(1.) He spoke to him as one surprised, but pleased to see him.
"Mephibosheth! Why, is there such a man living?" He remembered his
name, for it is probable that he was born about the time of the
intimacy between him and Jonathan.
(2.) He bade him not be afraid: Fear not,
2 Samuel 9:7.
It is probable that the sight of David put him into some confusion, to
free him from which he assures him that he sent for him, not out of any
jealousy he had of him, nor with any bad design upon him, but to show
him kindness. Great men should not take a pleasure in the timorous
approaches of their inferiors (for the great God does not), but should
(3.) He gives him, by grant from the crown, all the land of Saul his
father, that is, his paternal estate, which was forfeited by
Ishbosheth's rebellion and added to his own revenue. This was a real
favour, and more than giving him a kind word. True friendship will be
(4.) Though he had thus given him a good estate, sufficient to maintain
him, yet for Jonathan's sake (whom perhaps he saw some resemblance of
in Mephibosheth's face), he will take him to be a constant guest at his
own table, where he will not only be comfortably fed, but have company
and attendance suitable to his birth and quality. Though Mephibosheth
was lame and unsightly, and does not appear to have had any great
fitness for business, yet, for his good father's sake, David took him
to be one of his family.
3. Mephibosheth accepts this kindness with great humility and
self-abasement. He was not one of those that take every favour as a
debt, and think every thing too little that their friends do for them;
but, on the contrary, speaks as one amazed at the grants David made him
(2 Samuel 9:8):
What is thy servant, that thou shouldst look upon such a dead dog as
I am? How does he vilify himself! Though the son of a prince, and
the grandson of a king, yet his family being under guilt and wrath, and
himself poor and lame, he calls himself a dead dog before David.
Note, It is good to have the heart humble under humbling providences.
If, when divine Providence brings our condition down, divine grace
brings our spirits down with it, we shall be easy. And those who thus
humble themselves shall be exalted. How does he magnify David's
kindness! It would have been easy to lessen it if he had been so
disposed. Had David restored him his father's estate? It was but giving
him his own. Did he take him to his table? This was policy, that he
might have an eye upon him. But Mephibosheth considered all that David
said and did as very kind, and himself as less than the least of all
his favours. See
1 Samuel 18:18.
9 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.
10 Thou therefore, and thy sons, and thy servants, shall till
the land for him, and thou shalt bring in the fruits, that thy
master's son may have food to eat: but Mephibosheth thy master's
son shall eat bread alway at my table. Now Ziba had fifteen sons
and twenty servants.
11 Then said Ziba unto the king, According to all that my lord
the king hath commanded his servant, so shall thy servant do. As
for Mephibosheth, said the king, he shall eat at my table, as
one of the king's sons.
12 And Mephibosheth had a young son, whose name was Micha.
And all that dwelt in the house of Ziba were servants unto
13 So Mephibosheth dwelt in Jerusalem: for he did eat
continually at the king's table; and was lame on both his feet.
The matter is here settled concerning Mephibosheth.
1. This grant of his father's estate is confirmed to him, and Ziba
called to be a witness to it
(2 Samuel 9:9);
and, it should seem, Saul had a very good estate, for his father was a
mighty man of substance
(1 Samuel 9:1),
and he had fields and vineyards to bestow,
1 Samuel 22:7.
Be it ever so much, Mephibosheth is now master of it all.
2. The management of the estate is committed to Ziba, who knew what it
was and how to make the most of it, in whom, having been his father's
servant, he might confide, and who, having a numerous family of sons
and servants, had hands sufficient to be employed about it,
2 Samuel 9:10.
Thus Mephibosheth is made very easy, having a good estate without care,
and is in a fair way of being very rich, having much coming in and
little occasion to spend, himself being kept at David's table. Yet he
must have food to eat besides his own bread, provisions for his son and
servants; and Ziba's sons and servants would come in for their share of
his revenue, for which reason perhaps their number is here mentioned,
fifteen sons and twenty servants, who would require nearly all
there was; for as goods are increased those are increased that eat
them, and what good has the owner thereof save the beholding of them
with his eyes?
All that dwelt in the house of Ziba were servants to
(2 Samuel 9:12),
that is, they all lived upon him, and made a prey of his estate, under
pretence of waiting on him and doing him service. The Jews have a
saying, "He that multiplies servants multiplies thieves." Ziba is now
pleased, for he loves wealth, and will have abundance. "As the king
has commanded, so will thy servant do,
2 Samuel 9:11.
Let me alone with the estate: and as for Mephibosheth" (they
seem to be Ziba's words), "if the king please, he need not trouble the
court, he shall eat at my table, and be as well treated as
one of the king's sons." But David will have him at his own table,
and Mephibosheth is as well pleased with his post as Ziba with his. How
unfaithful Ziba was to him we shall find afterwards,
2 Samuel 16:3.
Now because David was a type of Christ, his Lord and son, his root and
offspring, let his kindness to Mephibosheth serve to illustrate the
kindness and love of God our Saviour towards fallen man, which yet he
was under no obligation to, as David was to Jonathan. Man was
convicted of rebellion against God, and, like Saul's house, under a
sentence of rejection from him, was not only brought low and
impoverished, but lame and impotent, made so by the fall. The Son of
God enquires after this degenerate race, that enquired not after him,
comes to seek and save them. To those of them that humble themselves
before him, and commit themselves to him, he restores the forfeited
inheritance, he entitles them to a better paradise than that which Adam
lost, and takes them into communion with himself, sets them with his
children at his table, and feasts them with the dainties of heaven.
Lord, what is man, that thou shouldst thus magnify him!
Matthew Henry "Verse by Verse Commentary for '2 Samuel' Matthew Henry Bible Commentary".