2 Samuel 19:26
And he answered, My lord, O king, my servant deceived me: for your servant said, I will saddle me an ass, that I may ride thereon, and go to the king; because your servant is lame.
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(26) My servant deceived me.—It now appears that the two asses laden with provisions which Ziba had brought to David in his flight (2Samuel 16:1-2) were those which he had been ordered to prepare for his master. When Ziba had stolen away with these, Mephibosheth was left helpless in his lameness. Most of the ancient versions read “said to him, Saddle,” &c., but the sense is plain enough as the text stands.

19:24-30 David recalls the forfeiture of Mephibosheth's estate; and he expressed joy for the king's return. A good man contentedly bears his own losses, while he sees Israel in peace, and the Son of David exalted.What appears to have happened is, that when Mephibosheth ordered Ziba to saddle the donkeys and ride with him to join David, Ziba left him under pretence of obeying, but instead laded the donkeys with provisions, and went off alone with them, thus making it impossible for Mephibosheth to follow. 24-30. Mephibosheth … came down to meet the king—The reception given to Mephibosheth was less creditable to David. The sincerity of that prince's grief for the misfortunes of the king cannot be doubted.

He had neither dressed his feet—not taken the bath,

nor trimmed his beard—The Hebrews cut off the hair on the upper lip (see on [277]Le 13:45), and cheeks, but carefully cherished it on the chin from ear to ear. Besides dyeing it black or red colors, which, however, is the exception, and not the rule in the East, there are various modes of trimming it: they train it into a massy, bushy form, swelling and round; or they terminate it like a pyramid, in a sharp point. Whatever the mode, it is always trimmed with the greatest care; and they usually carry a small comb for the purpose. The neglect of this attention to his beard was an undoubted proof of the depth of Mephibosheth's grief. The king seems to have received him upbraidingly, and not to have been altogether sure either of his guilt or innocence. It is impossible to commend the cavalier treatment, any more than to approve the partial award, of David in this case. If he were too hurried and distracted by the pressure of circumstances to inquire fully into the matter, he should have postponed his decision; for if by "dividing the land" (2Sa 19:29) he meant that the former arrangement should be continued by which Mephibosheth was acknowledged the proprietor, and Ziba the farmer, it was a hardship inflicted on the owner to fix him with a tenant who had so grossly slandered him. But if by "dividing the land," they were now to share alike, the injustice of the decision was greatly increased. In any view, the generous, disinterested spirit displayed by Mephibosheth was worthy a son of the noble-hearted Jonathan.

My servant deceived me, by carrying away the ass which I bid him saddle for me. And he answered, my lord, O king, my servant deceived me,.... His servant Ziba, who, instead of saddling an ass for him by his order, went off with that and another himself, 2 Samuel 16:1; for thy servant

said, I will saddle me an ass; he not only determined this in his own mind, but gave orders to his servant to saddle one for him:

that I may ride thereon, and go to the king, because thy servant is lame; and could not walk afoot, being lame of both his feet, 2 Samuel 4:4.

And he answered, My lord, O king, my servant deceived me: for thy servant said, I will saddle me an ass, that I may ride thereon, and go to the king; because thy servant is lame.
26. said, I will saddle me an ass] Meaning of course, I will have my ass saddled. The Sept. however reads, said unto him, Saddle me the ass, which certainly suits the context better. Apparently Ziba, after receiving the order, saddled the asses, loaded them with provisions, and went to meet David with his fictitious story (ch. 2 Samuel 16:1), leaving Mephibosheth in the lurch.Verse 26. - Thy servant said, I will saddle me an ass. This would mean, "Thy servant purposed, said within himself, that he would saddle an ass, not by his own hands, but by those of his servants." All the versions, however, except the Chaldee, read, "Thy servant said to him, Saddle me an ass." With this agrees the narrative in 2 Samuel 16:1. Mephibosheth ordered Ziba to saddle for him an ass, and one for an attendant, and to put hastily together a supply of food for the journey. And Ziba does so; but when everything is ready, he leaves his master in the lurch, and carries all away to David, to whom he falsely represents Mephibosheth as a traitor. In the words that follow, he unreservedly submits himself to David, on the ground that, though innocent in this affair, yet that, as a member of a dethroned dynasty, his life was forfeit (comp. 2 Samuel 21:7), and that, in permitting him to live, and placing him among his friends, the king had done him an act of grace. "For thy servant knoweth (i.e., I know) that I have sinned, and behold I have come to-day the first of the whole house of Joseph, to go to meet my lord the king." By "the whole house of Joseph" we are to understand the rest of the tribes with the exception of Judah, who are called "all Israel" in 2 Samuel 19:12. There is no reason for the objection taken by Thenius and Bttcher to the expression בּית־יוסף. This rendering of the lxx (παντὸς Ἰσραὴλ καὶ οἴκου Ἰωσήφ) does not prove that כּלישׂראל was the original reading, but only that the translator thought it necessary to explain οἴκου Ἰωσήφ by adding the gloss παντὸς Ἰσραὴλ; and the assertion that it was only in the oratorical style of a later period, when the kingdom had been divided, that Joseph became the party name of all that were not included in Judah, is overthrown by 1 Kings 11:28. The designation of the tribes that opposed Judah by the name of the leading tribe (Joseph: Joshua 16:1) was as old as the jealousy between these tribes and Judah, which did not commence with the division of the kingdom, but was simply confirmed thereby into a permanent distinction. Shimei's prayer for the forgiveness of his sin was no more a proof of sincere repentance than the reason which he adduced in support of his petition, namely that he was the first of all the house of Joseph to come and meet David. Shimei's only desire was to secure impunity for himself. Abishai therefore replied (2 Samuel 19:21), "Shall not Shimei be put to death for this (זאת תּחת, for this, which he has just said and done), because he hath cursed the anointed of Jehovah?" (vid., 2 Samuel 16:5.). But David answered (2 Samuel 19:22), "What have I to do with you, ye sons of Zeruiah (cf. 2 Samuel 16:10), for ye become opponents to me to-day?" שׂטן, an opponent, who places obstacles in the way (Numbers 22:22); here it signifies one who would draw away to evil. "Should any one be put to death in Israel to-day? for do I not know that I am this day king over Israel?" The reason assigned by David here for not punishing the blasphemer as he had deserved, by taking away his life, would have been a very laudable one if the king had really forgiven him. But as David when upon his deathbed charged his successor to punish Shimei for this cursing (1 Kings 2:8-9), the favour shown him here was only a sign of David's weakness, which was not worthy of imitation, the more especially as the king swore unto him (2 Samuel 19:24) that he should not die.
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