(Jonathan son of Saul had a son who was lame in both feet. He was five years old when the news about Saul and Jonathon came from Jezreel. His nurse picked him up and fled, but as she hurried to leave, he fell and became crippled. His name was Mephibosheth.) II Samuel 4:4 NIV
But show me unfailing kindness like that of the Lord as long as I live, so that I may not be killed, and do not ever cut off your kindness from my family – not even when the Lord has cut of every one of David’s enemies from the face of the earth. I Samuel 20:14-15 NIV
Mephibosheth was Jonathan’s son, the firstborn son of King Saul. David and Jonathan became friends when David was living in Saul’s household. II Samuel 18:1 tells us, “Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself.” At this time, David had already been anointed privately by Samuel, to become the next king of Israel. Jonathan, Saul, and the whole nation would have expected Jonathan to become king after Saul, but God had other plans. Not long after, Saul became jealous and fearful of David. II Samuel 18:12 says, “Saul was afraid of David because the Lord was with David but had left Saul.” Even though Saul was determined to kill David, his attitude didn’t affect David and Jonathan’s care for each other. Soon, David fled for his life but, “Jonathan said to David, ‘Go in peace, for we have sworn friendship with each other in the name of the Lord, saying, ‘The Lord is witness between you and me, and between your descendants and my descendants forever.’ Then David left, and Jonathan went back to the town,” II Samuel 20:42.
Later Saul and Jonathan were killed and David became king over all of Israel. Several years later, David asked, “Is there anyone still left of the house of Saul to whom I can show kindness for Jonathan’s sake?” In II Samuel 9:1. Ziba, a servant of Saul, told David of Mephibosheth – Jonathan’s son, who was living in Lo Debar (which means nothing, or no pasture) in Makir’s household. Mephibosheth was 5 years old when his father was killed, his nurse dropped him while trying to escape, and he became crippled in both feet. He had been living far from his family home, because he feared for his life. David remembers God’s desire for his leaders to “defend the cause of the weak and fatherless; maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed. Rescue the weak and needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked,” Psalm 82:3-4. David honored his covenant with Jonathan – he brought Mephibosheth to his court, seated him at his table, restored his property and treated him as his own son. David treats Mephibosheth as God treats us, he extends undeserved grace, unfailing love, and great compassion. Do you have a friend like Jonathan? Reach out, send a card, email or text and thank them for their love for you.
By Grace Hunter