David and Mephibosheth
2 Samuel 9:1-13
And David said, Is there yet any that is left of the house of Saul, that I may show him kindness for Jonathan's sake?…

It is a proof that the bloody wars in which David had been engaged had not destroyed the tenderness of his heart, that the very chapter which follows the account of his battles opens with a yearning of affection — a longing for an outlet to feelings of kindness. This proceeding of David's in making inquiry for a fit object of beneficence may afford us a lesson as to the true course of enlightened kindness. Doubtless David had numberless persons applying for a share of his bounty; yet he makes inquiry for a new channel in which it may flow. The most clamorous persons are seldom the most deserving. Enlightened benevolence aims at something higher than the mere relief of passing distress. There are other debts besides money debts it becomes you to look after. In youth, perhaps, you received much kindness from friends and relatives which at the time you could not repay; but now the tables are turned; you are prosperous, they or their families are needy. And these cases are apt to slip out of your mind. It is not always hard-heartedness that makes the prosperous forget the less fortunate; it is often utter thoughtlessness. Thoughtlessness regarding his neighbours is not a poor man's vice. The empty house is remembered, even though it costs a sacrifice to send it a little of his own scanty supplies. Few men are so hardened as not to feel the obligation to show kindness when that obligation is brought before them.

3. Accustomed to think that his wisest course was to conceal from David his very existence, and looking on him with the dread with which the family of former kings regarded the reigning monarch, he must have come into his presence with a strange mixture of feeling. He had a profound sense of the greatness which David had achieved and the honour implied in his countenance and fellowship. But there was no need for his humbling himself so low. There was no need for him calling himself a dog, a dead dog — the most humiliating image it was possible to find. We should have thought him more worthy of his father if, recognising the high position which David had attained by the grace of God, he had gracefully thanked him for the regard shown to his father's memory, and shown more of the self-respect which was due to Jonathan's son. In his subsequent conduct, in the days of David's calamity, Mephibosheth gave evidence of the same disinterested spirit which had shone so beautifully in Jonathan, but his noble qualities were like a light twinkling among ruins or a jewel glistening in a wreck. Every arrangement was thus made that could conduce to his comfort. His being a cripple did not deprive him of the honour of a place at the royal table, little though he could contribute to the lustre of the palace. The lameness and consequent awkwardness, that would have made many a king ashamed of such an inmate of his palace, only recommended him the more to David. Regard for outward appearances was swallowed up by a higher regard — regard for what was right and true. There is yet another application to be made of this passage in David's history. We have seen how it exemplifies the duty incumbent on us all to consider whether kindness is not due from us to the friends or the relatives of those who have been helpful to ourselves. This remark is not applicable merely to temporal obligations, but also, and indeed emphatically, to spiritual. We should consider ourselves in debt to those who have conferred spiritual benefits upon us. Should a descendant of Luther or Calvin, of Latimer or Cranmer or Knox, appear among us in need of kindness, what true Protestant would not feel that for what he owed to the fathers it was his duty to show kindness to the children?

(W. G. Blaikie, D. D.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: 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?

WEB: David said, "Is there yet any who is left of the house of Saul, that I may show him kindness for Jonathan's sake?"

David and Jonathan's Son
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