How did David show kindness to Mephibosheth?


By BibleAsk Team

King David’s demonstration of kindness to Mephibosheth is a tale in biblical narrative, showcasing themes of grace, loyalty, and compassion. To understand the depth of this narrative, let us delve into the historical and cultural context surrounding King David and Mephibosheth, and explore the intricate layers of kindness that the king extended to him, as recounted in the Bible.

Mephibosheth – Jonathan’s Son

This stoy unfolds primarily in the books of Samuel, offering a glimpse into the political and social dynamics of ancient Israel. To fully appreciate the significance of David’s kindness, it’s crucial to understand the circumstances leading up to their encounter.

David, a shepherd boy anointed by the prophet Samuel to be the future king of Israel, experienced a tumultuous journey to the throne. Despite enduring numerous trials and tribulations, including evading the jealousy-fueled wrath of King Saul, David emerged victorious and ascended to the throne, establishing a dynasty that would shape the course of Israel’s history.

Mephibosheth enters the narrative as the son of Jonathan, the beloved friend of David and the son of King Saul. Tragically, both Jonathan and Saul perished in battle, leaving Mephibosheth orphaned and vulnerable. In a society where succession was often accompanied by violence and bloodshed, Mephibosheth found himself in a precarious position due to his royal lineage.

After Jonathan’s death, the nurse of Mephibosheth, feared for his life and ran away with him. And while she ran with haste, she accidentally dropped him on the ground causing his both feet to be crippled (2 Samuel 4:4). The infant was taken into hiding to the house of Machir, son of Ammiel, at Lo-debar in the land of Gilead. Machir was a wealthy man and a prominent figure in his country. And He was still secretly loyal to the house of Saul.

The Kindness of King David

The story takes a pivotal turn when David seeks to honor his covenant with Jonathan (1 Samuel 20:17), demonstrating unwavering loyalty and a commitment to kindness. In 2 Samuel 9:1, we read of David’s inquiry:

“Now David said, ‘Is there still anyone who is left of the house of Saul, that I may show him kindness for Jonathan’s sake?'”

David’s desire to extend kindness is not merely an act of benevolence but a deliberate gesture rooted in his deep-seated friendship with Jonathan. Despite the enmity that existed between David and Saul, David remains steadfast in his determination to honor his promise to Jonathan, exemplifying the principle of grace transcending past grievances.

The unfolding narrative reveals David’s magnanimous spirit as he learns of Mephibosheth’s existence and plight. Jonathan’s son, crippled in both feet, symbolizes vulnerability and marginalization within society. In a culture where physical prowess often determined one’s worth, his disability rendered him an outcast, relegated to the fringes of society.

David’s response to Mephibosheth’s vulnerability epitomizes the essence of kindness and compassion. In 2 Samuel 9:7, we witness David’s decree:

“So David said to him, ‘Do not fear, for I will surely show you kindness for Jonathan your father’s sake, and will restore to you all the land of Saul your grandfather; and you shall eat bread at my table continually.'”

David’s proclamation is nothing short of transformative, offering Mephibosheth a place of honor and security within the king’s household. By restoring to Mephibosheth the land that rightfully belonged to him, David not only acknowledges his royal heritage but also affirms his dignity and worth as a descendant of Saul.

Furthermore, David’s invitation for Mephibosheth to dine at his table symbolizes inclusion and acceptance, transcending societal norms and prejudices. In a culture where status and lineage dictated one’s proximity to power, David’s gesture defies convention, extending hospitality to one who would typically be overlooked and marginalized.

The narrative culminates in a profound display of enduring kindness as David welcomes Jonathan’s son into his household, fostering a bond that transcends familial lineage. Throughout the remainder of Mephibosheth’s life, David ensures his well-being and security, embodying the principles of loyalty and compassion that characterize his reign as king.

Reaping the Reward for Kindness

David later reaped the fruits of his kindness to the descendants of Saul, for, when he fled from Absalom, Machir the son of Ammiel who protected Mephibosheth earlier, also acted with generosity in supplying King David and his army with the necessities of life (2 Samuel 17:27–29).


In reflecting on the story of David and Mephibosheth, we are reminded of the transformative power of kindness to transcend barriers and restore dignity to the marginalized. David’s unwavering commitment to honor his covenant with Jonathan serves as a timeless example of grace in action, inspiring us to extend kindness to those in need and to uphold the dignity of all humanity.

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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