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 Samuel 9:1
Many years ago, my grandparents moved their family of eight children to Portland, Oregon, so they could worship with the people of the Apostolic Faith Church. Not long after they arrived, one of their sons contracted diphtheria and passed away. During his illness, the entire family was quarantined, so my grandfather could not work. Even though my grandparents were new to the congregation, at various times people from the church brought groceries and supplies and left them on the porch. My grandparents felt loved and cared for! They had moved because of the teachings of the church and the Spirit in the services, but the kindness of the people wrapped a bond around their hearts. A family was grounded in the Gospel, and in the years since then, many family members from five generations have chosen to serve God.
As we follow the story of Mephibosheth, we see how one generation benefited from the love and friendship of a former generation. In 1 Samuel, we read of the bond between King Saul’s son Jonathan and David. Now that David had been crowned king over the entire nation of Israel, had captured the city of Jerusalem, and had subdued the enemies that surrounded them, he began to make good on his personal promise to Jonathan that his family would not be harmed. He sought out Jonathan’s son Mephibosheth and cared for him with kindness, “for Jonathan thy father’s sake” (2 Samuel 9:7).
God makes it possible for each of us to come to Him with humility, and for Jesus’ sake, be made His children. Like Mephibosheth, we might feel unworthy, but what blessings are in store for us when we realize that they are for us, and accept them! As Christians, we also see an important example in David’s actions. He demonstrated his love for Jonathan by seeking out and “adopting” his son. God has done the same thing for us through the shed Blood of His Son, Jesus. We should desire to share that love with others by seeking to show kindness whenever possible. Who knows how far-reaching the blessings might be!
Chapter 8 shows how David and his armies systematically conquered one enemy after another, until all of the surrounding nations had been subdued. The Philistines were to Israel’s west, the Moabites were to their east, the Syrians were to their north, and the Edomites were to their south. The covenant with Abraham had promised Israel the land from the River of Egypt to the Euphrates River, and the Lord helped David to expand the boundaries of the nation to the largest they had ever been. It is certain that these outlying provinces provided income and materials that would be needed in the future for the building project that David had desired. The “gifts” mentioned in verse 6 were a type of taxes. Besides helping support the government of Israel, these taxes indicated that Israel was in control of the subjected nations. David ruled with justice; he was fair. As a result, the people of Israel were pleased with him and so was God.
It was a common practice in those days for the king of a new dynasty to completely eradicate the members of the former ruler’s family. That must have been a dominant thought in Mephibosheth’s mind as he traveled from Lodebar, east of the Jordan River, to Jerusalem to appear before David. As soon as he entered the presence of the king, Mephibosheth prostrated himself and declared his unworthiness. What immense surprise and relief he must have felt when David told him that because of Jonathan and the love they had held for each other, Mephibosheth and his son were to become members of David’s own family, live in his house, and eat at his table!
Mephibosheth was probably about twenty-one years old at this time. Along with treating him as a son, David gave Mephibosheth the land that would have been Jonathan’s inheritance.
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
I. The success of King David
B. His reign over all Israel
5. The extension of David’s kingdom (8:1-18)
a. The conquest of the Philistines (8:1)
b. The conquest of the Moabites (8:2)
c. The conquest of the Zobahs (8:3-4)
d. The conquest of the Syrians (8:5-8)
e. The diplomatic victory over Hamath (8:9-12)
f. The conquest of Edom (8:13-14)
g. The description of David’s reign (8:15-18)
6. The care of David for Mephibosheth (9:1-13)
a. Mephibosheth brought to David (9:1-6)
b. David’s kindness extended to Mephibosheth (9:7-13)
Just as David showed kindness to Mephibosheth and his family for Jonathan’s sake, we should show kindness to others — even those that we might perceive to be our enemies — for Jesus’ sake.