Mephibosheth made his first appearance in chapter 4 where we learned he was crippled in a tragic accident after the death of his father Jonathan. In the ancient world, when the kingship passed from one family to another (Saul to David in this case), it was customary to kill all the family of the previous king so that there would be no competition for the throne. Mephibosheth’s nurse, hearing of Jonathan’s death, feared the worst and attempted to rescue the child.
Here you see David’s magnanimity. What he wants to do is show kindness to the house of Saul. The word for “kindness” is the Hebrew term “hesed,” often translated as “grace.
Time has gone by. Mephibosheth has grown up and likely lives in fear every day that he will be discovered. The boy lives with Makir, perhaps a brother to Bathsheba (compare 1 Chronicles 3:5 and 2 Samuel 9:5). The appearance of David’s troops asking for him could mean nothing good for Mephibosheth. And yet, David elevates him to the position of family.
I love this story. It, to me, is a symbol of God’s own grace. Here I am, broken and condemned, living in the fear of God who has no reason to help me or love me. But surprisingly, He does both through His own son and makes me a part of His family, calling me to eat at His table.
How marvelous is grace!