2 Samuel 9:1-13 – “Love in spite of ……”

“Love in spite of ……”


2 Samuel 9:1-13.




David is a very successful military leader – he is a battle-hardened soldier. He has now become king over all Israel. He is not only a good military leader but he is politically astute and has united the nation of Israel around him. He is powerful and famous but he is also fair and just.


2 Samuel 8:13-15       13 And David became famous …………….

14 ……………. The LORD gave David victory wherever he went.      15 David reigned over all Israel, doing what was just and right for all his people.


At this point in his life David is in a position that would be the envy of any political leader. He is powerful militarily, politically, economically and he has the support and favour of the nation. Probably as powerful as any human leader could ever hope to be – as close to absolute power as is humanly possible.

BUT we know that power can corrupt and as the adage goes “Absolute power corrupts absolutely!” – was this to be true of David.

Chapter 8 gives us a summary of some of David’s military campaigns – decisive victories!

Chapter 9 gives us a picture of another side of David – his compassion and kindness. This is not the first time we have seen David act graciously and generously – it won’t be the last time either.


David is a man of amazing generosity. In all the struggle he had learned to forgive people and he had learned to show kindness and compassion, even to his enemies. This is one of the reasons why David is called “a man after God’s own heart” – he is acting in a God-like manner. This is what godliness is – it is being like God in kindness, in love toward enemies, in generosity without gullibility or weakness.


This story of how David acts towards Mephibosheth is a wonderful illustrative picture of how God acts towards the human race.


Before we make comparisons with God and Humanity let’s look at this story first.




Who is this Mephibosheth?


1.1. Descendant of Saul.

2 Samuel 9:6   6 … Mephibosheth son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, …..


Saul was David’s predecessor as King of Israel and Jonathan was Saul’s son. Saul was not a good king and God determined that none of  Saul’s descendants would be king after him. Jonathan, Saul’s son knew and accepted that David, and not he, would be king after Saul. David and Jonathan became best friends. Neither allowed Saul’s jealousy and hatred of David to destroy their friendship. When Saul was killed in battle with the Philistines Jonathan fell with him. BUT Jonathan left a son named Mephibosheth.


1.2. Disabled in both feet.


Mephibosheth was disabled. How did this come about?

It was common practice in those days that when a king was defeated and a new king took his place that the new king would kill all members of the defeated kings family. Knowing this, when news of Saul’s and Jonathan’s death broke, the nurse looking after Jonathan’s son fled.

2 Samuel 4:4   4 (Jonathan son of Saul had a son who was lame in both feet. He was five years old when the news about Saul and Jonathan came from Jezreel. His nurse picked him up and fled, but as she hurried to leave, he fell and became crippled. His name was Mephibosheth.)


At least fifteen years or more must have past since this incident as we know from v12 that Mephibosheth now has a son of his own. All this time he has been keeping a low profile for fear of his life.

In order to keep out of the way he has been living in and out-of-the-way place.


1.3. Destitute and hiding in a desolate place.


v4-5 tell us that Mephibosheth is living in a place called Lo Debar [lit. ‘no pasture’]. Since it was customary to kill anyone from the previous dynasty, individuals like Mephibosheth were either exterminated or hid for the rest of their lives. He had hidden himself away on the east side of the Jordan River and the only one who knew his whereabouts was Ziba, an old servant of King Saul.




2 Samuel 9:1   1 David asked, “Is there anyone still left of the house of Saul to whom I can show kindness for Jonathan’s sake?” (NIV)


Why was David concerned about showing kindness to a descendant of his arch-enemy? Because David had made a promise! Infact he had made two promises.


2.1. Fulfilling a Promise.


in 1 Samuel 20 when Dvaid was on the run for his life – fleeing from the murderous King Saul, says  Jonathan…….. 1 Samuel 20:13-14 13 But if my father is inclined to harm you, may the LORD deal with me, be it ever so severely, if I do not let you know and send you away safely. May the LORD be with you as he has been with my father. 14 But show me unfailing [loving]kindness [grace] like that of the LORD as long as I live, so that I may not be killed, (NIV)

Jonathan knew that David would be king and was asking David to be gracious to him and his family. Without hestitation, David agrees …. 1 Samuel 20:17

17 … David reaffirm his oath out of love for him [Jonathan], because he loved him as he loved his own life. (NIV)



… we can understand David making such a promise to Jonathan, his best friend, but he makes the same promise to Saul, his worst enemy, also!

Recall how after David had spared Saul’s life in the cave, Saul said to David …

1 Samuel 24:20-22 20 I know that you will surely be king and that the kingdom of Israel will be established in your hands. 21 Now swear to me by the LORD that you will not cut off my descendants or wipe out my name from my father’s family.” … 22 So David gave his oath to Saul. ……


David made this covenant promise to both Saul and Jonathan.


2.2. Finding a Person.


The word ‘kindness’ in v1 could equally be translated ‘grace’.

NB David says, “Is there anyone?”

He doesn’t ask “It the anyone qualified?” or “Is there anyone worthy?” BUT “Is there anyone?”

“Regardless of who they are, is there anyone still living who may be the recipient of my grace?”


Through Saul’s ex-servant Ziba it is discovered that a son of Jonathan is still alive – BUT he is disabled. It could be that Ziba is trying to warn David – “He is crippled in both feet – are you sure you want such a one around your palace – would it be good for the king’s image?”

David doesn’t hestitate “Where is he? Go and get him!”

We think in our modern society we are so magnanimous in our care of the disabled – David is way ahead of us!!




So Mephibosheth is fetched and brought to David’s court – Can you imagine how fearful he must have been?


3.1. Assurance.


2 Samuel 9:6-7           6 When Mephibosheth son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, came to David, he bowed down to pay him honour.         David said, “Mephibosheth!”

“Your servant,” he replied.

7 “Don’t be afraid,” David said to him, “for I will surely show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan. …………..


Mephibosheth’s heart must have stopped when a royal messenger arrived with the message – King David wants to see you in Jerusalem!

He must have thought that this was the end of his life!

In fact it was, in many ways the beginning – he was going to live and have a plave of honour at a level he had never known before “Don’t be afraid”, says David, “because I loved your father so much I want to extend that kindness to you his son”.


3.2. Restoration.


Not just words! David returns to him all the lands that belonged to his Grandfather, Saul, and commands the servants to farm the land as Mephibosheth is unable to do so.


3.3. Adoption.


2 Samuel 9:7 & 13     7 ….. David said to him, “…….. . you will always eat at my table.”

…….. 13 And Mephibosheth lived in Jerusalem, because he always ate at the king’s table, and he was crippled in both feet. (NIV)


David’s kindness is not remote – it is intensely personal – he does not simply give some material things in a detached way RATHER he adopts Mephibosheth into his family. “You will be like one of my own sons and will eat at my table!” It does not simply mean a free meal but a way of saying “You will be a member of the family with all the privileges that that entails

This was to be a permanent arrangement – Sonship in the Royal Family and Secure for the Future!




The way David acts towards Mephibosheth is the way God acts towards you and me.

If David is like God in wanting to show kindness to Mephibosheth then Mephibosheth is like the human race.

What are the comparisons?


4.1. A Favourable Past Position.


M’sheth had enjoyed a place in the royal palace when his grandfather was king – uninterrupted fellowship with the king. So with Adam and Eve who walked with God in the garden of Eden – their fellowship with their Creator-God was uninterrupted.



4.2. A Fall brought Disability.


Disaster came when the nurse fled in fear and M’sheth suffered a fall – he was crippled for the rest of his days and went into hiding. Likewise, when sin came, Adam and Eve hid from God in fear. As a result of the fall, not physical but spiritual – a fall from grace – humankind became a spiritual invalid and will remain so forever on earth!


4.3. Lovingkindness for Anyone.


David wanted to show kindness to anyone from the house of Saul. And when he hears that there is someone and that someone is crippled it does not deter him in from what he has set his heart to do.

That’s the way grace is. Grace doesn’t pick and choose. Grace doesn’t love for things that have been done that deserve love. Grace works apart from the response or the ability of the individual. Grace is one-sided. It is God giving himself to someone who doesn’t deserve it, can’t earn it and has no way of repaying him.

This is what makes the story of David and M’sheth so memorable – The strong, famous and powerful king reaching out in love to a person who is everthing that he is not!

God’s offer of love and grace is to everyone and anyone. [Jn.3:16 – whoever – anyone]


4.4. Showing love for the sake of another.


David acted this way towards M’sheth because of his promise to and love for Jonanthan. So God, out of his love for his son Jesus Christ, shows his grace to us. And through Christ God is still seeking people who are spiritually disabled / dead.

David’s kind feeling towards M’sheth might easily had faded away – M’sheth had nothing to attract David. BUT since it was ‘for the sake of Jonathan’ it was more likely to be permanent.  David’s love for Jonathan was not going to change – David had sworn an oath. SO God’s love for us is not going to change…..

Romans 8:32 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all — how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? (NIV)





4.5. Assurance in the Face of Fear.


M’sheth was undoubyedly fearful when he came before David – probably thought he was to be killed. Most people react to God like that – we are afraid when he draws near. We have not lived as we ought – maybe God is against us. We have to learn to live on the grace of God. He is kind and gracious – we are not saved by giving him something – we are saved by receiving something.

Ephesians 2:8 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — (NIV)

God doesn’t want us to feel afraid of Him but rather safe and secure in hid presence!


4.6. Restitution of all things lost.


David restored M’sheth from a place of barrenness to a place of honour. He took this broken, disabled person froma hiding place where there was no pastureland and brought him to a place of plenty, right into the courtroom of the king.

What we as humans lost when Adam sinned in restored in greater measure in Christ…

Romans 5:19-21 19 For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.

20 The law was added so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, 21 so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (NIV)


4.7. Adopted into the Royal Family.


M’sheth ate at the king’s table – treated like a son! He remained in Jerusalem under David’s protection.

Application is clear – This is what God does for every believing sinner – adopts us into the family of the heavenly king. He has chosen us and brought us into his family and says, “You sit at my table, enjoy my food, I give you my life!”




ILLUS.: two brothers arrived at school on the first day – register was taken.

Robert and James – both 6 years old – Birthdays 14 March and 17 May.

“Not twins” said the teacher “One of you must have made a mistake!” a note to parents.

Next Day a reply from the Father to say that the information the boys had given was correct.

“How is that possible?” asked the teacher.

“One of us is adopted”, came the reply.

“Which one?”

“Dad says that he can’t remember!”


God has adopted us as his children and he treats us like his own Son. Ephesians 1:5 5 he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will — (NIV)

John 1:12 12 Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God — (NIV)

Romans 8:17 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs — heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, ………. (NIV)


Does it not astound you that God should treat us this way!

With the love of God in his heart David went to a lot of trouble to meet the needs of M’sheth. He found out where he was and took the trouble to send someone to find him and brought him into the palace as a son!


God went to extraordinary lengths to send someone to find us and to bring us into his kingdom and sons and daughters.

If you are a Christians that is the privelege you enjoy.

If you are not a believer then let me assure you that God loves you this way and longs for you to accept his offer of love and forgiveness – and to adopt you into his family.

We are loved by the Fathers’ love for his Son. We are forgiven and received in Christ …. we are called to enjoy of relationship with God and reflect to to others.

Ephesians 4:32 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. (NIV)



“Love in spite of ……”


2 Samuel 9:1-13.




– Descendant of Saul.


– Disabled in both feet.


– Destitute and hiding in a desolate place.




– Fulfilling a Promise.

… for the sake of Jonathan.

… for the sake of Saul.


Finding a Person.




– Assurance.


– Restoration.


– Adoption.




– A Favourable Past Position.


– A Fall brought Disability.


– Lovingkindness for Anyone.


– Showing love for the sake of another.


– Assurance in the Face of Fear.


– Restitution of all things lost.


– Adopted into the Royal Family.


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