David asked, “Is there anyone still left of the house of Saul to whom I can show kindness for Jonathan’s sake?” Now there was a servant of Saul’s household named Ziba. They summoned him to appear before David, and the king said to him, “Are you Ziba?” At your service,” he replied. The king asked, “Is there no one still alive from the house of Saul to whom I can show God’s kindness?” Ziba answered the king, “There is still a son of Jonathan; he is lame in both feet.”“Where is he?” the king asked. Ziba answered, “He is at the house of Makir son of Ammiel in Lo Debar.” So King David had him brought from Lo Debar, from the house of Makir son of Ammiel. When Mephibosheth son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, came to David, he bowed down to pay him honor. David said, “Mephibosheth!” “At your service,” he replied. “Don’t be afraid,” David said to him, “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” (2 Samuel 9:1-7)
– David’s search for someone in Saul’s household is due to his great love for Jonathon
– Mephibosheth is afraid (implied in David’s response to him)
– Saul’s family has lost everything: not only the lives of their family members but also their lands and the kingship
The friendship of David and Jonathon is legendary. It is the biblical tale of friendship. It is often interpreted in other terms than deep friendship in part because it is hard for us to conceive of such friendship. Here we see that friendship has survived the death of one of them and the relentless pursuit of David by Saul to kill David.
This is also a story about kindness and grace… David is the victor and winners get it all. We expect the winner to “take all.” Yet David offers to return what he has rightly gained – Saul’s lands – and also to provide for his friend’s son.What a picture of divine grace! God shows us kindness and care, not retribution and recrimination.
A powerful reminder of our call as followers of Jesus to be the kind of friends that others (and we) need, to offer grace and care even in situations when there are winners and losers on the human level.
Lord, today may I be such a friend – one whose love for others is greater than disagreement or partisanship. May I be a friend who shows such kindness. And may I also show such grace when I “win” – to know that it is love that matters more than winning, grace more than victory. In Jesus’ name… Amen.