2 Samuel 19:28
For all of my father's house were but dead men before my lord the king: yet didst thou set thy servant among them that did eat at thine own table. What right therefore have I yet to cry any more unto the king?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
2 Samuel 19:28. All my father’s house were but dead men before my lord — Before thy tribunal: we were all at thy mercy; not my estate only, but my life also was in thy power, if thou hadst dealt with rigour, and as earthly kings use to do with their predecessors’ and enemies’ children. What right have I yet to cry? — For the vindication of my honour, and the restitution of my estate.

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.

Before my lord the king, i.e. before thy tribunal: we were all at thy mercy; not my estate only, (which thou hast now granted to Ziba,) but my life also was in thy power, if thou hadst dealt with rigour, and as earthly kings use to do with their predecessors’ and enemies’ children. For otherwise by the law of God Saul himself had not deserved to die by David’s hands, as David himself confessed; much less his children, who were not to die for their father’s sins, Deu 24:16. But Mephibosheth speaks like a courtier, and like an orator, aggravating matters against himself, that he might seem to justify the king’s sentence, and to submit to it; and so insinuate himself unto the king’s favour.

To cry any more unto the king, to wit, for the vindication of mine honour, and the restitution of my estate.

For all of my, father's house were but dead men before my lord the king,.... Or "men of death" (m); worthy of death, not on account of Saul's persecution, for which his family did not deserve to suffer; rather for the attempt of Ishbosheth to get the kingdom from him, which might be deemed treason, and so the family was tainted for it; though the sense may be only this, that their lives lay at his mercy, and that if he had dealt with rigour and severity towards them, as was usual for princes to do towards the family of their predecessors, who had any claim to the kingdom, put them to death, this would have been their case:

yet didst thou set thy servant among them that eat at thine own table; which was showing him great kindness, and doing him great honour:

what right therefore have I yet to cry any more unto the king? to ask any favour of him, or make any complaint to him.

(m) "viris mortis", Montanus.

For all of my father's house were {n} but dead men before my lord the king: yet didst thou set thy servant among them that did eat at thine own table. What right therefore have I yet to cry any more unto the king?

(n) Worthy to die for Saul's cruelty to you.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
28. were but dead men] For David might have put them all to death. Possibly there is an allusion to the surrender of Saul’s sons to the Gibeonites (ch. 2 Samuel 21:6-9).

what right, &c.] Since all David’s favours to him were undeserved, he had no ground for making a complaint, and demanding the restoration of his property as a right.

2 Samuel 19:28"And he (Ziba) slandered thy servant to my lord the king." Mephibosheth had not merely inferred this from David's words, and the tone in which they were spoken, but had certainly found it out long ago, since Ziba would not delay very long to put David's assurance, that all the possessions of Mephibosheth should belong to him, in force against his master, so that Mephibosheth would discover from that how Ziba had slandered him. "And my lord the king is as the angel of God," i.e., he sees all just as it really is (see at 2 Samuel 14:17); "and do what is good in thy sight: for all my father's house (the whole of my family) were but men of death against my lord the king (i.e., thou mightest have had us all put to death), and thou didst set thy servant among thy companions at table (see 2 Samuel 9:7, 2 Samuel 9:11); and what right or (what) more have I still to cry (for help) to the king?" The meaning is, "I cannot assert any claims, but will yield to anything you decide concerning me." It must have been very evident to David from these words of Mephibosheth, that he had been deceived by Ziba, and that he had formed an unfounded prejudice against Mephibosheth, and committed an act of injustice in handing over his property to Ziba. He therefore replied, in evident displeasure (2 Samuel 19:29), "Why talkest thou still of thine affairs? I have said, thou and Ziba shall divide the field?" to which Mephibosheth answered (2 Samuel 19:30), "He may take the whole, since my lord the king has returned in peace to his own house." This reply shows very clearly that an injustice had been done to Mephibosheth, even if it is not regarded as an expression of wounded feeling on the part of Mephibosheth because of David's words, but, according to the view taken by Seb. Schmidt and others, as a vindication of himself, as said not to blame the king for the opinion he had formed, but simply to defend himself. But this completely overthrows the opinion held by Thenius and O. v. Gerlach, that David's words in 2 Samuel 19:30 contain nothing more than a revocation of his hasty declaration in 2 Samuel 16:4, and a confirmation of his first decision in 2 Samuel 9:7-10, and are to be understood as signifying, "Let everything be as I settled it at first; hold the property jointly," inasmuch as Ziba and his sons had of course obtained their living from the produce of the land. Moreover, the words "thou and Ziba divide the land" are directly at variance with the promise in 2 Samuel 9:7, "I will restore thee all the land of Saul thy father," and the statement in 2 Samuel 9:9, "I have given unto thy master's son all that pertained to Saul, and to all his house." By the words, "I have said, thou and Ziba divide the land," David retracted the hasty decree in 2 Samuel 16:4, so as to modify to some extent the wrong that he had done to Mephibosheth, but he had not courage enough to retract it altogether. He did not venture to dispute the fact that Mephibosheth had really been calumniated by Ziba, which was placed beyond all doubt by his mourning during the whole period of David's flight, as described in 2 Samuel 19:24. There is no ground for Winer's statement, therefore, that "it is impossible now to determine whether Mephibosheth was really innocent or not."
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