2 Samuel 9

An Open Table for Mephibosheth

One day David asked, “Is there anyone left of Saul’s family? If so, I’d like to show him some kindness in honor of Jonathan.”

It happened that a servant from Saul’s household named Ziba was there. They called him into David’s presence. The king asked him, “Are you Ziba?”

“Yes sir,” he replied.

The king asked, “Is there anyone left from the family of Saul to whom I can show some godly kindness?”

Ziba told the king, “Yes, there is Jonathan’s son, lame in both feet.”

“Where is he?”

“He’s living at the home of Makir son of Ammiel in Lo Debar.”

King David didn’t lose a minute. He sent and got him from the home of Makir son of Ammiel in Lo Debar.

When Mephibosheth son of Jonathan (who was the son of Saul), came before David, he bowed deeply, abasing himself, honoring David.

David spoke his name: “Mephibosheth.”

“Yes sir?”

“Don’t be frightened,” said David. “I’d like to do something special for you in memory of your father Jonathan. To begin with, I’m returning to you all the properties of your grandfather Saul. Furthermore, from now on you’ll take all your meals at my table.”

Shuffling and stammering, not looking him in the eye, Mephibosheth said, “Who am I that you pay attention to a stray dog like me?”

David then called in Ziba, Saul’s right-hand man, and told him, “Everything that belonged to Saul and his family, I’ve handed over to your master’s grandson. You and your sons and your servants will work his land and bring in the produce, provisions for your master’s grandson. Mephibosheth himself, your master’s grandson, from now on will take all his meals at my table.” Ziba had fifteen sons and twenty servants.

“All that my master the king has ordered his servant,” answered Ziba, “your servant will surely do.”

And Mephibosheth ate at David’s table, just like one of the royal family. Mephibosheth also had a small son named Mica. All who were part of Ziba’s household were now the servants of Mephibosheth.

Mephibosheth lived in Jerusalem, taking all his meals at the king’s table. He was lame in both feet.

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2 Samuel 10

Sometime after this, the king of the Ammonites died and Hanun, his son, succeeded him as king. David said, “I’d like to show some kindness to Hanun, the son of Nahash—treat him as well and as kindly as his father treated me.” So David sent Hanun condolences regarding his father.

But when David’s servants got to the land of the Ammonites, the Ammonite leaders warned Hanun, their head delegate, “Do you for a minute suppose that David is honoring your father by sending you comforters? Don’t you think it’s because he wants to snoop around the city and size it up that David has sent his emissaries to you?”

So Hanun seized David’s men, shaved off half their beards, cut off their robes halfway up their buttocks, and sent them packing.

When all this was reported to David, he sent someone to meet them, for they were seriously humiliated. The king told them, “Stay in Jericho until your beards grow out. Only then come back.”

When it dawned on the Ammonites that as far as David was concerned they stunk to high heaven, they hired Aramean soldiers from Beth-Rehob and Zobah—twenty thousand infantry—and a thousand men from the king of Maacah, and twelve thousand men from Tob.

When David heard of this, he dispatched Joab with his strongest fighters in full force.

The Ammonites marched out and arranged themselves in battle formation at the city gate. The Arameans of Zobah and Rehob and the men of Tob and Maacah took up a position out in the open fields. When Joab saw that he had two fronts to fight, before and behind, he took his pick of the best of Israel and deployed them to confront the Arameans. The rest of the army he put under the command of Abishai, his brother, and deployed them to confront the Ammonites. Then he said, “If the Arameans are too much for me, you help me. And if the Ammonites prove too much for you, I’ll come and help you. Courage! We’ll fight with might and main for our people and for the cities of our God. And God will do whatever he sees needs doing!”

But when Joab and his soldiers moved in to fight the Arameans, they ran off in full retreat. Then the Ammonites, seeing the Arameans run for dear life, took to their heels from Abishai and went into the city.

So Joab left off fighting the Ammonites and returned to Jerusalem.

When the Arameans saw how badly they’d been beaten by Israel, they picked up the pieces and regrouped. Hadadezer sent for the Arameans who were across the River. They came to Helam. Shobach, commander of Hadadezer’s army, led them. All this was reported to David.

So David mustered Israel, crossed the Jordan, and came to Helam. The Arameans went into battle formation, ready for David, and the fight was on. But the Arameans again scattered before Israel. David killed seven hundred chariot drivers and forty thousand cavalry. And he mortally wounded Shobach, the army commander, who died on the battlefield. When all the kings who were vassals of Hadadezer saw that they had been routed by Israel, they made peace and became Israel’s vassals. The Arameans were afraid to help the Ammonites ever again.

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