Many know the main stories of David in the Bible, like when he defeats Goliath, and also that wild story of David dancing undignified before the Ark.
Many also know about the stories of David and Saul and the intense persecution that David went through after being anointed to be king.
Many know about David and Jonathan, and what true covenant friendship looks like.
What surprises me though is the lack of people who know about David and Jonathan’s son, Mephibosheth.
THis story holds the power to break shame off of your life and restore to you honor and royalty.
When you begin to study Mephibosheth’s story, however, you find that it begins in great tragedy.
When Mephibosheth was 5 years old his Dad, Jonathan, and Grandad, Saul, died in a war. This meant that David was now on his way to the throne. His time of anointing was turning into a time of appointing.
It’s important to understand that in ancient cultures it was normal for the new king to kill all those in the previous king’s lineage to ensure that no one could take his place. Knowing this, Mephibosheth’s nurse took him and fled for their lives, but something tragic happened along the way.
2 Samuel 4:4 reads, “Jonathan son of Saul had a son who was lame in both feet. He was five years old when the news about Saul and Jonathan came from Jezreel. His nurse picked him up and fled, but as she hurried to leave, he fell and became disabled. His name was Mephibosheth.”
The exact details are not given, but it is likely that his legs were broken and never healed correctly. This is what caused him to be disabled and lame in his legs for the rest of his life.
Mephibosheth’s story does take a slight turn for the better though. As he grew older he married and had a child. But again something potentially tragic begins to take place in his life. David had sent out a search party for any of Jonathan’s family that was still alive. I’m sure that when word of this got to Mephibosheth he began to fear even more intensely for his life.
However, unbeknownst to Mephibosheth, David wanted to honor the relationship and covenant he had with Jonathan. In this covenant, Jonathan had made David promise to him that he would “...never cut off your kindness from my family…”
David wanted to show love and kindness to Jonathan’s family due to that covenant.
During this time of searching one of Saul’s servants was questioned and revealed Mephibosheth's location. Having been stripped of all of his honor, Mephibosheth was living in Lo Debar - which can literally be translated to the “Land of Nothing.”
Mephibosheth was found and brought before David, and upon arrival, he bows down out of fear to show him honor.
David’s response to Mephibosheth is incredibly moving.
2 Samuel 9:7 reads, “Don’t be afraid, for I will surely show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan. I will restore to you all the land that belonged to your grandfather Saul, and you will always eat at my table.”
Instead of celebrating, Mephibosheth actually felt like he didn’t deserve this. He even called himself a dead dog in an attempt to dissuade David from his decision.
This is a perfect picture of how shame can control our lives and influence our speech and actions.
Brene Brown in her book, The Gifts of Imperfection, writes that “shame is the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging.”
This is exactly what Mephibosheth was feeling. He was afraid and disconnected from his royal lineage, and unable to receive the love, honor, and blessing being extended to him.
David, however, ignored the lies and shame that Mephibosheth was believing and speaking, and placed him in a place of honor and royalty.
In one moment Mephibosheth received:
- All the land and property that belonged to Saul, the former king.
- All the crops that belonged to Saul.
- All the animals and livestock that belonged to Saul.
- Servants to go and work the land for him and bring him food.
- 35 people ready to take care of him at any time and do whatever he says.
- BUT Most Importantly: He always ate at the King’s Table.
Even though Mephibosheth would have had his own table and place to eat, David wanted a close personal relationship with him. David wanted Mephibosheth to always remember his royalty.
My favorite verse in the story of Mephibosheth is found in 2 Samuel 9:11 which reads, “So Mephibosheth ate at David’s table like one of the king’s sons.”
When He sat at the place of honor next to David, he was restored to his royal inheritance. He ate not as a charity case, but as a son. David was showing the heart of the Father to the fatherless.
A beautiful revelation of eating at the king’s table is that the drapings of the king’s table would have covered his legs, therefore covering his lameness, brokenness, and shame.
Mephibosheth’s name can actually be translated as “No more shame.”
Isn't Mephibosheth's story a beautiful picture of how Jesus treats us?
God has sent out a search party for you.
He sees your brokenness and is calling you to sit at His table as a son, or a daughter.
He is covering your shame and adorning you with royalty.
He is giving all the treasures of His Kingdom to you.
He is giving you a new life.
If you only take one thing away from this article, know this: He has prepared you a table and invites you to sit in His presence, and feast on His goodness and drink deep His pleasures as sons and daughters of the Most High King.