In truth, David did not reject Mephibosheth, but was very gracious to him. Let’s look a little at the history of these two men. 1 Samuel 31:1-6 gives us the account of the suicide of King Saul and the death of his three sons: Jonathan, Abinadab, and Malchishua, who were killed by the Philistines. 2 Samuel 4:4 gives us the first mention of Mephibosheth. That says, “And Jonathan, Saul’s son, had a son that was lame of his feet. He was five years old when the tidings came of Saul and Jonathan out of Jezreel, and his nurse took him up, and fled: and it came to pass, as she made haste to flee, that he fell, and became lame. And his name was Mephibosheth.”

After the government of David had been fully established, we read in 2 Samuel 9:1-3, “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? 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.” Even though Saul and David were eventual enemies, David and Jonathan were very close. 1 Samuel 18:1 tells us, “…the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul.” Now let’s read 2 Samuel 9:6-8, “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. And he bowed himself, and said, What is thy servant, that thou shouldest look upon such a dead dog as I am?” Because of his love for Jonathan, David wanted to show the ‘kindness of God’ to someone in the lineage of Saul. Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan was brought to David and received the honor of always sitting at the king’s table. Mephibosheth considered himself unworthy of such treatment, calling himself a ‘dead dog’. We read in 2 Samuel 9:13, “So Mephibosheth dwelt in Jerusalem: for he did eat continually at the king’s table; and was lame on both his feet.”

1 Corinthians 10:11 says, “Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition…” What lesson is there for us in this story? In Mephibosheth, whose name means ‘breathing shame’ was a man who was unworthy of blessings of the king. His grandfather had tried many times to kill David. He was a crippled man, and therefore helpless to better himself. He could not even come to David. We see in 2 Samuel 9:5, “Then king David sent, and fetched him…” This indicates that Mephibosheth needed to be taken to David, he would not travel because of his infirmity.

In this story, we see a powerful king who desired to show grace to an underserving and helpless man. This is plainly a picture of how the Lord Jesus Christ reached out to us as undeserving and helpless sinners and offered His grace to all that were drawn to Him. In David and Mephibosheth we see a type of the wonderful grace of the Lord Jesus being offered to all men, for we are all undeserving and hopeless. We must however, react in humility to be able to accept this free gift of grace, even as Mephibosheth called himself a ‘dead dog’ in the presence of David. Have you realized and acknowledged your own unworthiness before God? Have you answered His gentle and loving call to come to Him? Have you received His blessing of eternal life by trusting Him as your Lord and savior? Consider the words of the Lord Jesus in Matthew 11:28, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (170.6)