Who is Mephibosheth?

We first see Mephibosheth in II Samuel 4:4

Jonathan, Saul’s son, had a son who was lame in his feet. He was five years old when the news about Saul and Jonathan came from Jezreel; and his nurse took him up and fled. And it happened, as she made haste to flee, that he fell and became lame. His name was Mephibosheth.

His name means exterminating the idol, or, dispelled of shame (that is, baal). His destiny was to be one who destroyed idols in the nation of Israel and return worship to YHVH the one, true, God.

His beginnings

We are introduced to Mephibosheth when he is five years old. He is being taken care of by a nurse which seems to suggest something happened to his mother. Where is she? Why is she not with her son?

We know his father and grandfather are in battle against Israel’s continued thorn in the side, the Philistines. But where is his mother? Most likely she has died. What we do know is she is not in the picture.


Mephibosheth is the son of Jonathan, the grandson of Saul the first king of Israel. It is his heritage to one day be king. It is rightfully his, no one can take that away from him. With the death of his father and grandfather he is next in line. Which is a blessing and a curse. He is next in line to lead a nation and with a heavenly directive to destroy idols in the land, but, it also means a lot of people have now marked him and want him dead so that he does not ascend to his rightful place.

Mephibosheth’s life was full of trouble despair, disaster, anxiety, and trouble. I know many can relate.

  • Grandfather- dead
  • Father- dead
  • Mother- unknown
  • Because of his nurses fear of what might happen- paralyzed

All by the age of 5. The nurse had a good reason to want to run. Fear cause us to act carelessly. Fear paralyzes. Fear makes us act irrationally.

The next chapter

Mephibosheth doesn’t start out life with a great hand being dealt to him. He was without family, and crippled. Where does he go from here.

The next time we see Mephibosheth he is living in the home of Machir Ben-Ammiel, a powerful gadite. While here, Mephibosheth gets married.

Mephibosheth obviously never acquired his own home or was very independent as he had to live with Machir. Even though he should have been king, he didnt even own his own home.

A place called Lo Debar

12 years Mephibosheth lives in a place called Lo Debar. Destined for the palace, wound up in Lo Debar.

Lo Debar is probably the same place as Debir in the land allocated to the tribe of Gad in Joshua 13:26. The name Lo Debar means no communication , no word, no pasture, a place of nothing.

So many who are destined for greatness settle for Lo Debar

Mephibosheth was cut off from his destiny. Both spiritually, as well as, physically.

What’s next?

Mephibosheth life has obviously not went as planned to those present at his birth. Can you hear the talk? “It’s a boy! The future king of Israel!” BUT that’s not how the story played out. So, what’s next?

2 Samuel 9 another person steps into the life of Mephibosheth. The king of Israel, by the name of David. Even though Saul and David had a shaky past, David loved Jonathon and wanted to show kindness to his relatives. David and Jonathan had a covenant and that meant something to David.

Then Jonathan said to David: “The Lord God of Israel is witness! When I have sounded out my father sometime tomorrow, or the third day, and indeed there is good toward David, and I do not send to you and tell you, may the Lord do so and much more to Jonathan. But if it pleases my father to do you evil, then I will report it to you and send you away, that you may go in safety. And the Lord be with you as He has been with my father. And you shall not only show me the kindness of the Lord while I still live, that I may not die; but you shall not cut off your kindness from my house forever, no, not when the Lord has cut off every one of the enemies of David from the face of the earth.” So Jonathan made a covenant with the house of David, saying, “Let the Lord require it at the hand of David’s enemies.” Now Jonathan again caused David to vow, because he loved him; for he loved him as he loved his own soul.
I Samuel 20:12‭-‬17 NKJV

In II Samuel 9:2 we see it was not even known if Jonathan had any living relatives. Mephibosheth was in a place of hiding. But someone knew where he was. God always knows where we are. God sends in Ziba who was in the service of Saul who knew where Mephibosheth was.

The lame one

As Ziba was answering the kings request to know whether Jonathon had any living relatives he states that Jonathan has a son but he is lame. Why was that even mentioned? Does that affect his sonship? Does the fact that you are lame in some area affect your status as a son or daughter of the most high God? No! Lameness does not affect sonship. Except maybe in the person’s mind. Mephibosheth had lost his identity. This also caused others to see him as the lame one.

When we dont stand in our rightful identity others will never see us as we truly are.

Despite all the things against Mephibosheth, David says bring him to me. The king sought him out, in the place of nothing, in spite of his lameness, the king wanted him.

Lameness in Hebrew means maimed physically but figuratively dejected. He was physically crippled but also emotionally crippled.

As the king summoned Mephibosheth he couldnt even come on his own, someone had to go get him

We are Mephibosheth

We are Mephibosheth

We are all in bondage, crippled by actions of others. We are in a place of nothing, a place of no communication with God.

No way to get to the king by ourself.

David sent and brought Mephibosheth out of Lo Debar, our King brings us out of Lo Debar when we cant get to Him.

God chose us we didnt initially choose Him

Mephibosheth didnt know what was going to happen. In that time it was common to kill all the heirs to the throne so no one could challenge the new king.

It was not crazy to think David was going to kill him as Saul tried to kill David and now Mephibosheth was the rightful heir to Saul’s throne, a threat.

He falls at David’s feet, David tells him though, there is nothing to fear.

2 Samuel 9:8 we see the view Mephibosheth has of himself.

Then he bowed himself, and said, “What is your servant, that you should look upon such a dead dog as I?”
II Samuel 9:8 NKJV

Dont we sometimes view ourselves the same way, especially when confronted with the goodness of our King?

David foes above and beyond and heaps blessing upon blessing on Mephibosheth. He doesnt bring up his lameness, he doesnt bring up the place he delivered him from

From servant to son

Mephibosheth came back as a servant at best. A worthless, crippled, dead dog who had lost everything. But the king made him a son, eating at the kings very own table with his other sons. No longer was Mephibosheth an outsider but he was restored to the place he belonged all along- the palace. We see this same attitude in the parable of the prodigal son in Luke 15:11-32.

You haven’t lost your sonship no matter what life has thrown at you.

But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name:
John 1:12 NKJV

But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
Ephesians 2:4‭-‬7 NKJV

And he was lame in both his feet

So Mephibosheth dwelt in Jerusalem, for he ate continually at the king’s table. And he was lame in both his feet.
II Samuel 9:13 NKJV

At the table Mephibosheth lameness was not seen. At the cross we are all equal. So why does it still mention he was lame in both his feet?

The word for lame in verse 13 is a different hebrew word than at the beginning of the chapter. This one does not carry the connotation of emotionally wounded. Completely physical. Even though he still had a physical ailment he was the same as the kings sons. All were equal, eating and being cared for by the king.

Because of the love of the king Mephibosheth had been emotionally healed.

Another Mephibosheth

There was another Mephibosheth in the family. Saul’s son by Rizpah the daughter of Aiah, his concubine. (2 Samuel 21:8) He and his brother Armoni were among the seven victims who were surrendered by David to the Gibeonites, and by them crucified to avert a famine from which the country was suffering

One Mephibosheth was handed over to be killed the other was spared.

This is a foreshadow to another time when two people with the same name were in the same position.

Now at the feast the governor was accustomed to releasing to the multitude one prisoner whom they wished. And at that time they had a notorious prisoner called Barabbas. Therefore, when they had gathered together, Pilate said to them, “Whom do you want me to release to you? Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?” For he knew that they had handed Him over because of envy. While he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent to him, saying, “Have nothing to do with that just Man, for I have suffered many things today in a dream because of Him.” But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitudes that they should ask for Barabbas and destroy Jesus. The governor answered and said to them, “Which of the two do you want me to release to you?” They said, “Barabbas!” Pilate said to them, “What then shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?” They all said to him, “Let Him be crucified!” Then the governor said, “Why, what evil has He done?” But they cried out all the more, saying, “Let Him be crucified!” When Pilate saw that he could not prevail at all, but rather that a tumult was rising, he took water and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, “I am innocent of the blood of this just Person. You see to it. ” And all the people answered and said, “His blood be on us and on our children.” Then he released Barabbas to them; and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered Him to be crucified.
Matthew 27:15‭-‬26 NKJV

Barabbas’s first name according to Josephus the Jewish historian was Yeshua. As many know the name of our Messiah in Hebrew was Yeshua. Another interesting fact is Barabbas name breaks down in Hebrew to Bar- son Abba- father. So his name is literally, Yeshua son of the father.

One handed over to be crucified for the sins of others while one was set free.

Thank you Yeshua Son of the Father for taking away my sins!

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