And Jonathan, Saul's son, had a son that was lame of his feet. He was five years old when the tidings came of Saul and Jonathan out of Jezreel, and his nurse took him up, and fled: and it came to pass, as she made haste to flee, that he fell, and became lame. And his name was Mephibosheth.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)A son that was lame.—The reason for the introduction here of this account of Mephibosheth, Jonathan’s son, is to show that, he being physically in capacitated for the throne, the house of Saul became practically extinct with the death of Ish-bosheth. There were other descendants, but either illegitimate or of the female line (2Samuel 21:8-9), and hence there was none other of his house to claim the throne.2 Samuel 4:4. Jonathan had a son — This history is inserted as that which encouraged these men to this wicked murder, because Saul’s family was now reduced to a low ebb; and if Ish-bosheth were despatched, there would be none left but a lame child, who was altogether unfit to manage the kingdom, and therefore the crown must necessarily come to David by their act and deed; for which they promised themselves no small recompense. When the tidings came of Saul and Jonathan — That is, the tidings of their death, mentioned 1 Samuel 31.; out of Jezreel — The place of that last and fatal fight.2 Samuel 9:1-13; 2 Samuel 16:1-4; 2 Samuel 19:25.
Jezreel; the place of that last and fatal fight, 1 Samuel 29:1.
Mephibosheth; called also Merib-baal, 1 Chronicles 8:34. See Poole "2 Samuel 2:8".
had a son that was lame of his feet; of both feet, which were broken or bruised by a fall, as later related: and
he was five years old when the tidings came of Saul and Jonathan out of Jezreel: that is, when the tidings of their death came from Jezreel, the place where the battle was fought in which they died, to Gibeah, and the royal palace there; so that he was now twelve years of age:
and his nurse took him up and fled; fearing the Philistines would come thither and destroy the family of Saul; and this child being the son of Jonathan, the eldest son of Saul, was by birth heir to the crown, his father and grandfather being both dead, and which might make the nurse the more solicitous to save his life by flight:
and it came to pass, as she made haste to flee, that he fell, and became lame; in her hurry and fright he dropped out of her arms, and had some bone broken or dislocated, which was never rightly replaced, or had some contusion, of which he was never cured:
and his name was Mephibosheth, called Meribbaal, 1 Chronicles 8:34; of the change of such names See Gill on 2 Samuel 2:8. This story of Mephibosheth, and of his nurse's flight with him, and what happened upon it, is here inserted on occasion of the flight of the Beerothites, 2 Samuel 4:3; but chiefly to observe in what condition Saul's family now was, and what encouraged the murderers of Ishbosheth to be guilty of the crime they were, since when he was taken off, there was none but this lame child of that family; and as the removal of Ishbosheth would be of so much service to David, they doubted not but it would be very acceptable to him, and they should be greatly rewarded and honoured; and which they might do with the greatest safety, since the nearest kinsman and avenger of blood was so young, and lame of both his feet: or rather this is mentioned to show that Ishbosheth had no right to the throne, his eldest brother's son being living; so that those murderers might think they did the right thing, to take away the life of an usurper.And Jonathan, Saul's son, had a son that was lame of his feet. He was five years old when the tidings came of Saul and Jonathan out of Jezreel, and his nurse took him up, and fled: and it came to pass, as she made haste to flee, that he fell, and became lame. And his name was Mephibosheth.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)4. And Jonathan, &c.] Before proceeding to narrate the murder of Ish-bosheth, the historian inserts a remark which implies that with his death the cause of Saul’s house would necessarily become hopeless, as its only other legitimate representative was a lame child of twelve years old.
out of Jezreel] Where the Israelite camp was pitched before the fatal battle of Gilboa. See note on 1 Samuel 29:1.
Mephibosheth] Called in 1 Chronicles 8:34; 1 Chronicles 9:40, Merib-baal. Bosheth (=“shame”) has been substituted for the detested name of Baal, as in the name Ish-bosheth for Esh-baal. See note on ch. 2 Samuel 2:8. Merib-baal means “one who contends with Baal:” Mephibosheth, “exterminator of shame.” For his subsequent history see chaps. 9, 16, 2 Samuel 19:24 ff.Verse 4. - Jonathan, Saul's son, had a son. This is mentioned to show that Saul's lineage virtually became extinct on Ishbosheth's death. Mephibosheth, the heir, was a cripple, and physically incapable of reigning. Saul had, indeed, sons by a concubine, and grandchildren by his daughter Merab (2 Samuel 21:8). But throughout the history there is no hint that any of these were regarded as the representatives of Saul's house. (For the name Mephibosheth, see note on 2 Samuel 2:8.)
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