David inquires after the family of Jonathan, and is informed of Mephibosheth his son, 2 Samuel 9:1-4. He sends for him and gives him all the land of Saul, 2 Samuel 9:5-8; and appoints Ziba the servant of Saul, and his family, to till the ground for Mephibosheth, 2 Samuel 9:9-13.
And David said, Is there yet any that is left of the house of Saul, that I may shew him kindness for Jonathan's sake?Is there yet any that is left - David recollecting the covenant made with his friend Jonathan, now inquires after his family. It is supposed that political considerations prevented him from doing this sooner. Reasons of state often destroy all the charities of life.
And there was of the house of Saul a servant whose name was Ziba. And when they had called him unto David, the king said unto him, Art thou Ziba? And he said, Thy servant is he.
And the king said, Is there not yet any of the house of Saul, that I may shew the kindness of God unto him? And Ziba said unto the king, Jonathan hath yet a son, which is lame on his feet.That I may show the kindness of God unto him? - That is, the utmost, the highest degrees of kindness; as the hail of God, is very great hail, the mountains of God, exceeding high mountains: besides, this kindness was according to the covenant of God made between him and the family of Jonathan.
And the king said unto him, Where is he? And Ziba said unto the king, Behold, he is in the house of Machir, the son of Ammiel, in Lodebar.Lo-debar - Supposed to have been situated beyond Jordan; but there is nothing certain known concerning it.
Then king David sent, and fetched him out of the house of Machir, the son of Ammiel, from Lodebar.
Now when Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, was come unto David, he fell on his face, and did reverence. And David said, Mephibosheth. And he answered, Behold thy servant!
And David said unto him, Fear not: for I will surely shew thee kindness for Jonathan thy father's sake, and will restore thee all the land of Saul thy father; and thou shalt eat bread at my table continually.Will restore thee all the land - I believe this means the mere family estate of the house of Kish, which David as king might have retained, but which most certainly belonged, according to the Israelitish law, to the descendants of the family.
And thou shalt eat bread at my table - This was kindness, (the giving up the land was justice), and it was the highest honor that any subject could enjoy, as we may see from the reference made to it by our Lord, Luke 22:30 (note): That ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom. For such a person David could do no more. His lameness rendered him unfit for any public employment.
And he bowed himself, and said, What is thy servant, that thou shouldest look upon such a dead dog as I am?
Then the king called to Ziba, Saul's servant, and said unto him, I have given unto thy master's son all that pertained to Saul and to all his house.I have given unto thy master's son - Unless Ziba had been servant of Jonathan, this seems to refer to Micha, son of Mephibosheth, and so some understand it; but it is more likely that Mephibosheth is meant, who is called son of Saul instead of grandson. Yet it is evident enough that the produce of the land went to the support of Micha, (see 2 Samuel 9:10), for the father was provided for at the table of David; but all the patrimony belonged to Mephibosheth.
Thou therefore, and thy sons, and thy servants, shall till the land for him, and thou shalt bring in the fruits, that thy master's son may have food to eat: but Mephibosheth thy master's son shall eat bread alway at my table. Now Ziba had fifteen sons and twenty servants.Thou therefore, and thy sons - shall till the land - It seems that Ziba and his family had the care of the whole estate, and cultivated it at their own expense, yielding the half of the produce to the family of Mephibosheth. Ziba was properly the hind, whose duty and interest it was to take proper care of the ground, for the better it was cultivated the more it produced; and his half would consequently be the greater.
Then said Ziba unto the king, According to all that my lord the king hath commanded his servant, so shall thy servant do. As for Mephibosheth, said the king, he shall eat at my table, as one of the king's sons.So shall thy servant do - The promises of Ziba were fair and specious, but he was a traitor in his heart, as we shall see in the rebellion of Absalom, and David's indulgence to this man is a blot in his character; at this time however he suspected no evil; circumstances alone can develope the human character. The internal villain can be known only when circumstances occur which can call his propensities into action; till then he may be reputed an honest man.
And Mephibosheth had a young son, whose name was Micha. And all that dwelt in the house of Ziba were servants unto Mephibosheth.
So Mephibosheth dwelt in Jerusalem: for he did eat continually at the king's table; and was lame on both his feet.Did eat continually at the king's table - He was fit for no public office, but was treated by the king with the utmost respect and affection.