The scriptures tell us of two persons by the name Mephibosheth:
The Son of King Saul
The first person was the Son of King Saul who was given to the Gibeonites to die because of king Saul’s failure to keep Joshua’s promise to them. And as a result of this failure, Israel was condemned by God with a three year drought. But when David asked the Lord about the reason of the drought. God revealed to him that he had to give justice to the house of Saul for breaking the promise (2 Samuel 21:1-9).
The son of Jonathan
The second person by the name Mephibosheth was the son of Jonathan the son of King Saul. After the philistines slayed king Saul and his son Jonathan at the battle of Mt. Gilboa (2 Samuel 1:4, 17), the nurse of Jonathan’s son, Mephibosheth, took him and ran away with him but accidentally dropped him and both of his feet were injured and he was crippled (2 Samuel 4:4). And the young boy was hid in the house of Machir, son of Ammiel, at Lo-debar in the land of Gilead.
Years later, David recalled his covenant with Jonathan (1 Samuel 18:3), and wished to show kindness to anyone that might have survived from the house of Saul (2 Samuel 9:1). David knew that as long as any of the children of Saul continued to live, his own throne might be at risk. But his generous spirit, together with his promise to Jonathan, moved him to show mercy.
David shows mercy to Jonathan’s son
After inquiry, king David found that Jonathan’s son Mephibosheth was living at the house of Machir son of Ammiel. Machir was a rich influential man who was secretly loyal to the house of Saul, giving refuge to the crippled son of Jonathan and his family. Mephibosheth knew that his life was at the mercy of the king. If David desired, he could order his death in order that the seed of Saul might be completely destroyed, and there would be no rival to the throne.
But he was amazed greatly when “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” (2 Samuel 8:7). This land legally now belonged to king David. But now he would make a personal sacrifice in order that Mephibosheth might have all that had once belonged to Saul. It was a great gift that was given by a spirit of generosity.
David later on, reaped the fruit of his mercy to the house of Saul, for, when he fled from Absalom, Machir the son of Ammiel who protected Mephibosheth earlier, helped him by providing generously for all his needs (2 Samuel 17:27–29).
In His service,