2 Samuel 9:7
And David said unto him, Fear not: for I will surely shew thee kindness for Jonathan thy father's sake, and will restore thee all the land of Saul thy father; and thou shalt eat bread at my table continually.
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9:1-8 Amidst numerous affairs we are apt to forget the gratitude we owe, and the engagements we are under, not only to our friends, but to God himself. Yet persons of real godliness will have no rest till they have discharged them. And the most proper objects of kindness and charity, frequently will not be found without inquiry. Jonathan was David's sworn friend, therefore he shows kindness to his son Mephibosheth. God is faithful to us; let us not be unfaithful to one another. If Providence has raised us, and our friends and their families are brought low, we must look upon that as giving us the fairer opportunity of being kind to them.Mephibosheth - Also called Merib-baal (and Meri-baal, probably by a clerical error, 1 Chronicles 9:40). The two names seem to have the same meaning: Bosheth, shame, being the equivalent for Baal, and Mephi (scattering or destroying, being equivalent to Merib (contending with). Compare Ish-bosheth and Esh-baal, Jerub-baal and Jerub-besheth.

He fell on his face - In fear. Such generosity to a fallen rival as David showed in restoring him his paternal property seemed to him scarcely credible.


2Sa 9:1-12. David Sends for Mephibosheth.

1-7. David said, Is there yet any that is left of the house of Saul—On inquiry, Saul's land steward was found, who gave information that there still survived Mephibosheth, a son of Jonathan who was five years old at his father's death, and whom David, then wandering in exile, had never seen. His lameness (2Sa 4:4) had prevented him from taking any part in the public contests of the time. Besides, according to Oriental notions, the younger son of a crowned monarch has a preferable claim to the succession over the son of a mere heir-apparent; and hence his name was never heard of as the rival of his uncle Ish-bosheth. His insignificance had led to his being lost sight of, and it was only through Ziba that David learned of his existence, and the retired life he passed with one of the great families in trans-jordanic Canaan who remained attached to the fallen dynasty. Mephibosheth was invited to court, and a place at the royal table on public days was assigned him, as is still the custom with Eastern monarchs. Saul's family estate, which had fallen to David in right of his wife (Nu 27:8), or been forfeited to the crown by Ish-bosheth's rebellion (2Sa 12:8), was provided (2Sa 9:11; also 2Sa 19:28), for enabling Mephibosheth to maintain an establishment suitable to his rank, and Ziba appointed steward to manage it, on the condition of receiving one-half of the produce in remuneration for his labor and expense, while the other moiety was to be paid as rent to the owner of the land (2Sa 19:29).

All the land of Saul is now seized and possessed by David, as due to him, either in right of his wife, to whom the inheritance was devolved, Saul’s sons by his wives being all dead; see Numbers 27:8; or by Divine donation, as belonging to the crown which God had now given him; or by forfeiture, because of Ish-bosheth’s rebellion against his lord and king.

And David said unto him, fear not,.... He might observe a dejection in his countenance, a trembling in his limbs, and might discover signs of fear lest David should cut him off, because he was of the seed royal:

for I will surely show thee kindness for Jonathan thy father's sake; whom he loved as his own soul, and to whom he had sworn that he would not cut off his kindness from his house for ever, and now remembering his oath was determined to observe it:

and will restore thee all the land of Saul thy father; his grandfather, such sometimes being called fathers; which David had taken to him, as crown lands, or in the right of his wife; or as being confiscated by Ishbosheth's rebellion:

and thou shall eat bread at my table continually; he gave him an apartment in the court, a place at his table, admitted him to be a guest with him as long as he should live; which was a very great favour and high honour, and showed what an unshaken friendship he had for his father, and would maintain with him. This was the kindness of God he meant to show to him.

And David said unto him, Fear not: for I will surely show thee kindness for Jonathan thy father's sake, and will restore thee all the land of Saul thy father; and thou shalt eat bread at my table continually.
7. Fear not] Mephibosheth might be afraid that David had only hunted him out to treat him after the common fashion of Oriental usurpers, who often put all their predecessor’s kindred to death. He seems to have lived in concealment at Lo-debar.

the land of Saul thy father] Saul’s private estate at Gibeah, which passed into David’s possession when he came to the throne (ch. 2 Samuel 12:8). Father = grandfather, as frequently: so in 2 Samuel 9:9 son = grandson.

thou shalt eat bread at my table] A common mark of honour in Oriental countries. See 1 Kings 2:7; 2 Kings 25:29. The physician Democedes, who cured Darius, was made “a member of the king’s table” (ὁμοτράπεζος βασιλέϊ, Herod. III. 132): and Histiaeus of Miletus was invited to come up to Susa, and be Darius’ “mess-companion” (σύσσιτος, Herod, v. 24).

Verse 7. - All the land of Saul thy father. David probably restored to Mephibosheth not only the lands at Gibeah, which Ziba had managed to hold, but Saul's estates generally. There seems, nevertheless, to have been on Ziba's part a grudge against Mephibosheth for thus getting back from the king what he had hoped to keep as his own. The privilege of being the king's friend, and eating at his table, was an honour that would be more highly prized than even the possession of the estates. 2 Samuel 9:7David sent for this son of Jonathan (Mephibosheth: cf. 2 Samuel 4:4), and not only restored his father's possessions in land, but took him to his own royal table for the rest of his life. "Fear not," said David to Mephibosheth, when he came before him with the deepest obeisance, to take away any anxiety lest the king should intend to slay the descendants of the fallen king, according to the custom of eastern usurpers. It is evident from the words, "I will restore thee all the land of Saul thy father," that the landed property belonging to Saul had either fallen to David as crown lands, or had been taken possession of by distant relations after the death of Saul. "Thou shalt eat bread at my table continually," i.e., eat at my table all thy life long, or receive thy food from my table.
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