Reading through the Bible together
There are two reports from the records kept in the palace of David and Solomon, which the scribe writing on the life of David, put together in one chapter. We know this by certain repetitions of phrases and by the mention of the name Mephiboseth who was lame on two feet and ate at the table of King David (vv. 1-8 is one report and vv. 9-13 is the second report). Two scribes wrote down the events independently in careful detail and these records were stored in the palace. Then the historiographer took these two reports and brought them together in one chapter.
The background of this chapter takes us back to when Saul and Jonathan died in the battle of Gilboa. When the news of their death reached the home of Jonathan, the nurse caring for his young son, decided to flee to save the boy’s life. She grabbed the five year old Mephiboseth and as they fled he tripped and fell and became lame in both legs (see 2 Sam. 4:4). Years later, the scribe writing this chapter tells us about the good deeds of David to the now older Mephiboseth.
Throughout the chapter we learn of a king that wants to be kind to his past enemy, the previous king which was Saul, by being kind to his descendents. He asked for any living relative of Saul to come to him and it happened to be the son of Jonathan, Mephiboseth, who was brought to him. David treated him very kindly and restored the lost property of Saul to him and also gave Mephiboseth the personal servant of Saul, including the servant’s 15 sons and 20 servants, to work the lands for the lame young man. So Mephiboseth moved from the town of Lo-debar to Jerusalem to eat regularly at David’s table. Why did David do this? 2 Samuel 9:7 says it was for the sake of his friend Jonathan, the father of Mephiboseth.
Anyone who has made enemies in the past will know that at a certain point, one wants to bridge the gap that exists. David is doing it here and the Holy Spirit inspired the writer to select this good event in David’s life as an example of doing what is right. He feels he has to make restoration as soon as possible. It took David some years to do this, but the Holy Spirit wants us to do the same and also be peacemakers.
Help us to devote our time and energy to build bridges where previous ones were burned, partly or wholly due to our own actions or involvement. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.
Koot van Wyk
Kyungpook National University
Sangju, South Korea