2 Samuel 9:8
And he bowed himself, and said, What is thy servant, that thou shouldest look upon such a dead dog as I am?
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9:1-8 Amidst numerous affairs we are apt to forget the gratitude we owe, and the engagements we are under, not only to our friends, but to God himself. Yet persons of real godliness will have no rest till they have discharged them. And the most proper objects of kindness and charity, frequently will not be found without inquiry. Jonathan was David's sworn friend, therefore he shows kindness to his son Mephibosheth. God is faithful to us; let us not be unfaithful to one another. If Providence has raised us, and our friends and their families are brought low, we must look upon that as giving us the fairer opportunity of being kind to them.Mephibosheth's humility of expression, even in the mouth of an Oriental, is painful. It was perhaps in part the result of his helpless lameness, and of the other misfortunes of his life.

A dead dog - The wild dogs of the East, which still abound in every town, are the natural objects of contempt and dislike.


2Sa 9:1-12. David Sends for Mephibosheth.

1-7. David said, Is there yet any that is left of the house of Saul—On inquiry, Saul's land steward was found, who gave information that there still survived Mephibosheth, a son of Jonathan who was five years old at his father's death, and whom David, then wandering in exile, had never seen. His lameness (2Sa 4:4) had prevented him from taking any part in the public contests of the time. Besides, according to Oriental notions, the younger son of a crowned monarch has a preferable claim to the succession over the son of a mere heir-apparent; and hence his name was never heard of as the rival of his uncle Ish-bosheth. His insignificance had led to his being lost sight of, and it was only through Ziba that David learned of his existence, and the retired life he passed with one of the great families in trans-jordanic Canaan who remained attached to the fallen dynasty. Mephibosheth was invited to court, and a place at the royal table on public days was assigned him, as is still the custom with Eastern monarchs. Saul's family estate, which had fallen to David in right of his wife (Nu 27:8), or been forfeited to the crown by Ish-bosheth's rebellion (2Sa 12:8), was provided (2Sa 9:11; also 2Sa 19:28), for enabling Mephibosheth to maintain an establishment suitable to his rank, and Ziba appointed steward to manage it, on the condition of receiving one-half of the produce in remuneration for his labor and expense, while the other moiety was to be paid as rent to the owner of the land (2Sa 19:29).

So contemptible in my person and condition.

And he bowed himself,.... In token of gratitude, and as a sign of humility, and of the sense he had of his unworthiness to enjoy such a favour:

and said, what is thy servant, that thou shouldest look on such a dead dog as I am? one so mean, and base, and worthless; which he might say with respect to the infirmities of his body, the rejection of his family by the Lord, their attainder of high treason for rebellion against David, and the low circumstances he was brought into and now under; though one of the royal family, the son of a prince, and grandson of a king; such was his humility, and the sense he had of his being undeserving of any favour from the king, and says this with admiration and astonishment.

And he bowed himself, and said, What is thy servant, that thou shouldest look upon such {d} a dead dog as I am?

(d) Meaning, a despised person.

8. he bowed himself] The same Heb. word as “did reverence” in 2 Samuel 9:6.

a dead dog] The vilest and most contemptible object possible. See note on ch. 2 Samuel 3:8; and cp. ch. 2 Samuel 16:9; 1 Samuel 24:14.

Verse 8. - A dead dog. At first sight this extreme self-humiliation makes us look on Mephibosheth as a poor creature, whom early misfortune and personal deformity had combined to depress But really this is to impose on an Oriental hyperbole a Western exactness of meaning. When in the East your entertainer assures you that everything he has to his last dirhem is yours, he nevertheless expects you to pay twice the value foreverything you consume; but he makes his exaction pleasant by his extreme courtliness. So Ephron offered his cave at Machpelah to Abraham as a free gift, but he took care to obtain for it an exorbitant price (Genesis 23:11, 15). Mephibosheth described himself in terms similar to those used by David of himself to Saul (1 Samuel 24:14); but he meant no more than to express great gratitude, and also to acknowledge the disparity of rank between him and the king. 2 Samuel 9:8Mephibosheth expressed his thanks for this manifestation of favour with the deepest obeisance, and a confession of his unworthiness of any such favour. On his comparison of himself to a "dead dog," see at 1 Samuel 24:15.
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