II Samuel 9
1-8 | David looks for relatives of Saul, finds Mephibosheth, Jonathan’s son
9-13 | David gives instructions about Mephibosheth’s inheritance and provisions
How well a person treats others is a reflection of what is in their heart. In this chapter in II Samuel, David displays unusual kindness toward one of Saul’s grandsons. It would have been customary for a new king to have all of the people in the previous king’s family executed so that no one could challenge his kingship. But David, as always, chose a different path.
Think of the previous times that David could have killed Saul and immediately taken the kingdom but he refused to take the life of the Lord’s anointed. David had already been anointed by Samuel and told that he was to be the next king, yet he refused to assume leadership by killing Saul because Saul was appointed king by God first.
David was rare in deed. Consider the number of times that Saul sought to kill David either directly by throwing a spear at him or in battle while chasing after him in the deserts in southern Judah. David displayed an inordinate amount of self-control.
Now, after his kingdom had been firmly established in all the land of the Israelites, David sought out any who were left of Saul’s household, of which only Mephibosheth, Jonathan’s son, remained. David determined that by inquiring of Ziba, a servant of Saul.
Now this man Ziba was no ordinary servant. It is said that he had 15 sons and 20 servants. He was probably a steward or manager placed in charge of Saul’s property while he reigned.
David had Mephibosheth brought to him and Mephibosheth prostrated himself before David, probably expecting to be executed or, at minimum, thrown in to a prison. However, David restored all of Saul’s land to Mephibosheth and made provision for Mephibosheth from his own household. Additionally, David appointed Ziba and his sons as managers of the lands, to tend the fields and harvest the crops for Mephibosheth, to which Ziba agreed. But then who would say no to the king in this matter.
Thus David again showed that he was a man after God’s own heart, displaying kindness to he who would be considered his enemy for all intents and purposes. We would do well to follow his example.
Lord God, You are gracious and compassionate, granting mercy and grace to those who don’t deserve it. Help us to offer the same to others and live to honor You in all that we do. May Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven, in Jesus’ name. Amen.