David keeps his Promises - 2 Samuel 9
Prayer: God we thank you once again for your scriptures & for the opportunity to come together and learn from them. Helps us once again to learn from David's example. Amen!
Quickly Form Groups:
1. Briefly have each person share a promise they've made that is tough to keep, pray for each.
David is firmly in place as King, at this time nobody is threatening his appointment, in fact most seem happy to have him; however, we're reading the narrative from the perspective of the winning side. We know from our previous studies that Saul's army seemed pretty happy to be joining David's forces - though I'm sure there were some reservations. So who's left that might not be happy with David being King?
Unlike other kings David didn't annihilate his predecessor's family. Why didn't David annihilate them? What happened to them? In today's scriptures we're going to find out.
First, some background passages: 1 Samuel 20:12-17 & 1 Samuel 24:16-22
David had made two different oaths, what were the differences?
What were the similarities?
In David's oath to Saul he promised not to annihilate Saul's family, but in his oath to Jonathan he promised even more. To Jonathan he promised not to annihilate the family (still Saul's family) but also not to cut off kindness to the family. It is this promise to Jonathan that would have been on David's heart and mind that spurred him to action.
2 Samuel 9:1-3 - David is remembering his promise to Jonathan, and he is looking for a way to keep that promise. So David's men found one of Saul's old servants and calls him in, Ziba was not just a servant but the chief steward of Saul's estate - he'd have been responsible for keeping the estate and knowing to whom it belonged. Ziba informs David that one of Jonathan's sons still lives, and he's a cripple. Saul likely had other descendants that still lived, but it is the descendants of Jonathan that interest David - remember it was Jonathan & not Saul who David promised to show kindness to his family.
Let's look back a few chapters & find out about Jonathan's son (2 Samuel 4:4). He was 5 years old when he & his nurse fled because men who that thought they were supporting David (though acting against David's ways) were killing Saul's family. Apparently while fleeing some sort of accident happened & Mephibosheth wound up crippled.
2 Samuel 9:4-5 - David finds out where Mephibosheth has been & sends for him. The man that Mephibosheth is staying with is Makir, he is believed to be a wealthy benefactor of Mephibosheth - perhaps because of some kindness shown to his family by Jonathan or perhaps he is some sort of relation, we don't really know. What we do know about Makir is that he later comes to the aid of David during a crisis (2 Samuel 17:27-29). We also know that the place where Makir lives (Lo Debar) is far from Jerusalem , and far from Saul's family estate; in fact it is in the region of Gilead East of the Jordan River. It is about 80 miles away from Jerusalem as the crow flies, but any direct path there would be through mountains & ravines & would involve crossing the Jordan.
2 Samuel 9:6-7 - Mephibosheth honors David & calls himself David's servant, clearly indicating that he is no threat to David - you can imagine he may have had some misgivings about being brought before the king. David appears excited to see him, the son of his best friend, and he may never have met Mephibosheth as a boy (due to Saul's pursuit) but is genuinely happy to meet Jonathan's son. Mephibosheth is no longer a boy, he is a man with a son of his own (we'll see this later in the chapter). David reassures him that he has nothing to fear, that kindness is being shown to him for Jonathan's sake, and that he's going to not only get back all of Saul's estate but he's also going to be a permanent guest at David's table. Hospitality is a big deal in Middle Eastern cultures, so this is a major statement by David that Mephibosheth is always welcome at David's table.
2 Samuel 9:8 - Mephibosheth calls himself a dead dog, and wonders aloud why David would bother to even notice him. Let's take a look at his situation, he's a man who is unable to work because he's crippled - others have had to support him. Not only that, he's the grandson of an evil king that tried to assassinate David several times, and family of ousted kings were usually just killed off. The term "dead dog" would have deep significant meaning to a Jew of his time.
|Copied from a Chronological Study Bible, Thomas Nelson publisher|
2 Samuel 9:9-10 - David commands Ziba to not only hand over all of Saul's estate to Mephibosheth, but also to have his sons (15) & servants (20) farm the land in order to provide for Mephibosheth & his family. Mephibosheth is suddenly raised from having to depend on charity to being a wealthy man. Mephibosheth (and presumably his family) were to eat at the king's table as well.
2 Samuel 9:11-13 - Saul's lands would not have been far from Jerusalem because he was from the tribe of Benjamin & his capital city of Gibeah was within a couple miles of Jerusalem. So Mephibosheth stayed in Jerusalem with his family & had Ziba's household caring for him - presumably the women would care for the needs in the home & the men would have been working the land. If Gibeah hadn't been so close this would have been a difficulty for Ziba's family, but apparently it worked out well, and I'm guessing that David's generosity toward Mephibosheth also extended to Ziba's family.
This passage is where we learn Mephibosheth has a young son named Mica. Mica's descendants are listed in 1 Chronicles 8:35-39 - so the family of Johnathan continued on & thrived.
Mephibosheth had gone from the King's household, to a fallen state, and then restored to the King's household - David's actions in this passage are a beautiful example of Grace. Mephibosheth wasn't worthy, wealthy, or beautiful - but he was treated with kindness & love.
Closing Prayer: God help us to see others around us through your eyes, and help us to extend grace to all - even those (and perhaps especially those) we don't think deserve it. Amen!
Quickly Form Groups Again:
2. Share about a time when someone surprised you with a kind or loving act. How did that impact you?
3. Think of someone you know that needs to be shown kindness & love. What will you do, by the power of Jesus working in you, to demonstrate kindness & love to that person?