1 Samuel

1 Samuel - Lesson 19-20

Chapters 19:1-24; 20:1-23

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  • Our story of Saul and David is going to start reading like a Coyote and Roadrunner cartoon script

    • Saul is fast becoming obsessed with finding some way to get rid of David

      • Whether by hook or crook…or exploding bomb or catapult

      • Somehow Saul has to rid himself of David’s tormenting presence

    • And what is it about David that bothers Saul so much?

      • Putting aside the supernatural causes (like the tormenting spirit)

      • The main reason is David’s continued rise to prominence and widespread appeal

      • No matter what Saul does to David, David prospers

      • And to make matters worse, David’s so annoyingly humble about it all

    • But we know what’s behind the tension truly

      • The Lord is bringing these two men together so He can use one to school the other

      • Saul is David’s tutor, though neither appreciate it that way

      • David will be seasoned over ten difficult years before becoming a king

      • And Saul will provide the seasoning through his paranoia and jealousy

  • But of course the Lord can’t allow Saul to get the upper hand on David

    • Just as every Roadrunner cartoon must end with the hapless Coyote falling from the cliff or flattened by his own contraptions, so it must be for Saul

      • David will prevail, for this is the Lord’s intent

      • But it’s not the outcome that’s important to this story so much as the mayhem that leads us there

      • Each time Saul tries to put an end to David, the Lord ultimately blocks His path

    • Yet He allows Saul just enough room to operate so that he places David in a position where he must react

      • He must run

      • He must hide

      • He must raise likeminded soldiers, find allies, cry out to the Lord and deal with temptations to put an end to his enemy

      • And through it all, he grows and matures and learns 

1Sam. 19:1 Now Saul told Jonathan his son and all his servants to put David to death. But Jonathan, Saul’s son, greatly delighted in David. 
1Sam. 19:2 So Jonathan told David saying, “Saul my father is seeking to put you to death. Now therefore, please be on guard in the morning, and stay in a secret place and hide yourself. 
1Sam. 19:3 “I will go out and stand beside my father in the field where you are, and I will speak with my father about you; if I find out anything, then I will tell you.” 
1Sam. 19:4 Then Jonathan spoke well of David to Saul his father and said to him, “Do not let the king sin against his servant David, since he has not sinned against you, and since his deeds have been very beneficial to you. 
1Sam. 19:5 “For he took his life in his hand and struck the Philistine, and the Lord brought about a great deliverance for all Israel; you saw it and rejoiced. Why then will you sin against innocent blood by putting David to death without a cause?” 
1Sam. 19:6 Saul listened to the voice of Jonathan, and Saul vowed, “As the Lord lives, he shall not be put to death.” 
1Sam. 19:7 Then Jonathan called David, and Jonathan told him all these words. And Jonathan brought David to Saul, and he was in his presence as formerly. 
  • Saul’s first attempt on David’s life is rather unimaginative

    • Saul abandons any pretense of working in David’s best interests and tells his son, Jonathan, and all his servants to kill David

      • And now we see why the Lord knit Jonathan’s heart to David’s heart in the earlier chapter

      • Now that this man is in covenant with David, he is bound by his own life to protect David’s life

      • So not only can Jonathan not carry out the king’s orders, he must stop anyone else from killing David either

    • Samuel says Jonathan greatly delighted in David, so we know he was personally motivated to protect David as well

      • But Jonathan is also called to honor his father and the king

      • So we see him working very hard here to find a solution to preserve his allegiance to both men

    • He begins by warning David that others might be trying to kill him since the king had given this order

      • I doubt David was very surprised by Saul’s orders

      • After the spear throwing episodes, David probably had a suspicion that Saul didn’t like him

      • But Jonathan knows that the order had gone out to have David killed so the servants would have been coming after him too

    • Furthermore, Jonathan said he would try to learn more of his father’s plans

      • It seems he arranged for David to hide in a place near where Saul was staying 

      • He did this so that once he won his father over, he could orchestrate a quick reconciliation

      • Time was of the essence here, because the word had gone out that David should be killed

      • Jonathan needed to get Saul to change his mind and then get David back in the king’s presence quickly so that no one might kill David before the reconciliation

  • Jonathan is successful, as we see, based on the argument that David was innocent

    • David had done great things for Saul, so killing David would be unjust

      • David killed Philistines

      • David served Saul honorably

      • The people rejoiced over David and so did Saul

    • It’s this last part that probably made Jonathan’s argument convincing to Saul

      • Saul remembers how the people perceive David

      • I wonder if he considered the ramifications of killing a popular man who everyone knew to be innocent

      • For whatever reason, Saul vows not to kill David after all

    • But it doesn’t take him long to break this vow

1Sam. 19:8  When there was war again, David went out and fought with the Philistines and defeated them with great slaughter, so that they fled before him. 
1Sam. 19:9 Now there was an evil spirit from the Lord on Saul as he was sitting in his house with his spear in his hand, and David was playing the harp with his hand. 
1Sam. 19:10 Saul tried to pin David to the wall with the spear, but he slipped away out of Saul’s presence, so that he stuck the spear into the wall. And David fled and escaped that night. 
1Sam. 19:11 Then Saul sent messengers to David’s house to watch him, in order to put him to death in the morning. But Michal, David’s wife, told him, saying, “If you do not save your life tonight, tomorrow you will be put to death.” 
1Sam. 19:12 So Michal let David down through a window, and he went out and fled and escaped. 
1Sam. 19:13 Michal took the household idol and laid it on the bed, and put a quilt of goats’ hair at its head, and covered it with clothes. 
1Sam. 19:14 When Saul sent messengers to take David, she said, “He is sick.” 
1Sam. 19:15 Then Saul sent messengers to see David, saying, “Bring him up to me on his bed, that I may put him to death.” 
1Sam. 19:16 When the messengers entered, behold, the household idol was on the bed with the quilt of goats’ hair at its head. 
1Sam. 19:17 So Saul said to Michal, “Why have you deceived me like this and let my enemy go, so that he has escaped?” And Michal said to Saul, “He said to me, ‘Let me go! Why should I put you to death?’” 
  • Now we see Saul’s fourth attempt to put David to death, and once again the Lord will use a member of Saul’s household to save David

    • The continual war with the Philistines goes hot again, and again David is sent out into battle

      • Though Saul secretly hopes that the battles will put an end to David, the Lord continues to ensure David’s success

      • He slaughters the Philistines in great number

      • And they retreated again into the costal plains

      • Another impressive victory for David

    • David’s victory reminds Saul of all the reasons he’s ready to see David’s end

      • With the evil spirit stirring up Saul’s hatred and paranoia, he grabs his spear again

      • And once more, he tries to pin David to the wall

      • This phrase emphasizes the force with which Saul threw the spear

    • With that throw, David realized that Saul was not a man to keep his vow

      • Of course, David has seen this before

      • Saul didn’t keep his vow for the reward for killing Goliath

      • And now it’s clear that Saul is going back on his promise not to kill David

  • With that understanding, David leaves the court knowing that there is no chance of survival if he stays around Saul

    • From this point forward, David will be a fugitive from Saul

      • He will live on the lam about ten years

      • David will never be free from living this way until Saul dies

    • He first flees to his home and wife, probably because he didn’t know where else to go

      • David’s wife, Michal, gives him sound but certainly difficult advice

      • She tells her own husband to run away to save his life

      • This was very self-sacrificial on her part

    • David escapes through a window to avoid being seen and chased

      • And Michal prepares a rouse to delay the servants of Saul

      • She constructs a dummy in his bed from goat hair and the household idol

      • Once again it’s Saul’s child that devises the plan and directs David for his own good

  • What should we conclude by the fact that there was an idol in David’s house?

    • Most readers of 1 Samuel conclude that the idol belonged to Michal, not David

      • This is likely because household idols were usually the property of the heir of a family and were proof of the inheritance right

      • You may remember Rachel taking Laban’s household idols when she and Jacob were leaving

      • This greatly bothered Laban because it gave Jacob right to return some day and claim Laban’s inheritance

    • So it’s likely that these were Saul’s household idols given to Michal, perhaps at the wedding

      • Either way, it troubles us that David has not addressed the presence of an idol in his home

      • Since we don’t know why he decided to hold on to them, we can only assume that Saul’s negative influence is moving into the next generation

      • And though David should have stopped it, he hadn’t

      • Later, we’ll see that this wife will prove to be a disappointment to David in other ways

  • When the servants came for David, Michal pointed to the quilt of goat hair and told them David was in bed sick, so they left

    • Interestingly, the Septuagint translates the Hebrew word for quilt of goat hair differently

      • That ancient version translates it as goat liver, not hair

      • The sense is that Michal put a goat liver under the quilt

      • So that when she stroked the quilt like she was rubbing her husband’s back, the liver would undulate like a person breathing 

    • Whatever she did, it was convincing to the point that the servants retreat

      • They go back to tell Saul that David is taking a sick day from the court

      • Saul said what any harsh boss would say…”go back and pick up his bed and bring him back”

      • So I can kill him

    • When they return and discover they have been tricked by Michal, they turn their attention to her

      • She has committed a high crime, and she has to think fast to save her skin

      • And she does

      • Michal declares that David threatened to kill her if she didn’t do what she did

      • It’s a lie, of course, but it works 

  • Michal is in a covenant with David also, a marriage covenant

    • This covenant made her one flesh with David, and as such she was expected to give her loyalties to David over all others

      • Still, her choice to go against the king was dangerous

      • And her decision to lie was punishable by death

    • We can’t excuse her sin in protecting David

      • But clearly the Lord was working through her sin to accomplish good things for David

      • David too recognized that the Lord was at work to protect him, as he wrote in Psalm 59

Psa. 59:0  For the choir director; set to Al-tashheth. A Mikhtam of David, when Saul sent men and they watched the house in order to kill him. 
Psa. 59:1  Deliver me from my enemies, O my God; 
Set me securely on high away from those who rise up against me. 
Psa. 59:2  Deliver me from those who do iniquity 
And save me from men of bloodshed. 
Psa. 59:3  For behold, they have set an ambush for my life; 
Fierce men launch an attack against me, 
Not for my transgression nor for my sin, O Lord, 
Psa. 59:4  For no guilt of mine, they run and set themselves against me. 
Arouse Yourself to help me, and see! 
Psa. 59:5  You, O Lord God of hosts, the God of Israel, 
Awake to punish all the nations; 
Do not be gracious to any who are treacherous in iniquity. Selah. 
Psa. 59:6  They return at evening, they howl like a dog, 
And go around the city. 
Psa. 59:7  Behold, they belch forth with their mouth; 
Swords are in their lips, 
             For, they say, “Who hears?” 
Psa. 59:8   But You, O Lord, laugh at them; 
You scoff at all the nations. 
Psa. 59:9   Because of his strength I will watch for You, 
For God is my stronghold. 
Psa. 59:10   My God in His lovingkindness will meet me; 
God will let me look triumphantly upon my foes. 
Psa. 59:11  Do not slay them, or my people will forget; 
Scatter them by Your power, and bring them down, 
O Lord, our shield. 
Psa. 59:12   On account of the sin of their mouth and the words of their lips, 
Let them even be caught in their pride, 
And on account of curses and lies which they utter. 
Psa. 59:13   Destroy them in wrath, destroy them that they may be no more; 
That men may know that God rules in Jacob 
To the ends of the earth.  Selah. 
Psa. 59:14   They return at evening, they howl like a dog, 
And go around the city. 
Psa. 59:15   They wander about for food 
And growl if they are not satisfied. 
Psa. 59:16  But as for me, I shall sing of Your strength; 
Yes, I shall joyfully sing of Your lovingkindness in the morning, 
For You have been my stronghold 
And a refuge in the day of my distress. 
Psa. 59:17   O my strength, I will sing praises to You; 
For God is my stronghold, the God who shows me lovingkindness. 
  • So now that David is on the run, where does he go? To the only person stronger than Saul

1Sam. 19:18  Now David fled and escaped and came to Samuel at Ramah, and told him all that Saul had done to him. And he and Samuel went and stayed in Naioth. 
1Sam. 19:19 It was told Saul, saying, “Behold, David is at Naioth in Ramah.” 
1Sam. 19:20 Then Saul sent messengers to take David, but when they saw the company of the prophets prophesying, with Samuel standing and presiding over them, the Spirit of God came upon the messengers of Saul; and they also prophesied. 
1Sam. 19:21 When it was told Saul, he sent other messengers, and they also prophesied. So Saul sent messengers again the third time, and they also prophesied. 
1Sam. 19:22 Then he himself went to Ramah and came as far as the large well that is in Secu; and he asked and said, “Where are Samuel and David?” And someone said, “Behold, they are at Naioth in Ramah.” 
1Sam. 19:23 He proceeded there to Naioth in Ramah; and the Spirit of God came upon him also, so that he went along prophesying continually until he came to Naioth in Ramah. 
1Sam. 19:24 He also stripped off his clothes, and he too prophesied before Samuel and lay down naked all that day and all that night. Therefore they say, “Is Saul also among the prophets?” 
  • Samuel reappears in the story

    • The last time we saw Samuel, he was anointing David

      • And he’s refused to see Saul since that episode in Gilgal, when Saul decided to keep some of Agag’s possessions 

      • Now he’s David’s best hope in the face of Saul’s expected attack

      • David finds Samuel in his home barely an hour’s walk from Saul’s home in Ramah

      • Samuel seems to be running a school for prophets

    • Saul learns David has taken refuge there and sends servants to arrest David

      • These servants come in three waves 

      • And each wave arrives to do Saul’s bidding only to end up doing the Lord’s bidding

      • Each group begins to prophesy

      • We don’t know what they were saying, but it would make sense they were speaking about David and the Lord’s anointing on David 

    • The fact that Saul sent servants three times is telling

      • It demonstrates that Saul wasn’t listening to the Lord nor interested in obeying Him

      • If he had, then he couldn’t have helped but notice the Lord’s supernatural rebuff of his orders to capture David

  • Finally, in an act of hubris and pride, Saul decides he will come to Naoith, the abode of the prophets at Ramah, to take David himself

    • But as with his servants, the Spirit of the Lord comes upon Saul

      • He prophesies as well

      • More than that, Saul is moved to strip himself of his clothes 

      • He lays naked before Samuel prophesying all day and night

    • A king determined by his own authority to kill the Lord’s anointed is now prostrate naked before the Lord’s prophet serving the Lord by speaking prophecy

      • His nakedness is a symbolic picture of the Lord stripping him of his royal authority and honor

      • And his posture indicates his submission to the anointing of Samuel

    • The passage ends with a repetition of the phrase that marked Saul’s rise to power

      • His prophesying caused some to wonder if Saul was now among the prophets

      • This phrase was uttered once before when the Lord’s Spirit first came upon Saul

      • Now it’s being uttered again as the Spirit has returned to Saul temporarily to create this scene

    • It’s as if to remind the reader that Saul began as a man under the influence of the Spirit, but it’s never seemed a natural fit

      • Every time Saul has spoken the word of the Lord under the Spirit’s influence, the people have wondered aloud

      • In the first case, it was a surprise because Saul was an unknown

      • And no one had ever seen him show any interest in the things of God prior

    • This time the surprise comes from having a full knowledge of Saul’s character

      • The nation knew their king was trying to kill the very man who had saved them from the Philistines on multiple occasions

      • And they must have known that he was acting in crazy and unpredictable ways

      • So the phrase that first became a source of praise for Saul has become a phrase of derision

  • After this episode, David is able to leave Ramah safely, but of course this is just one episode in the ongoing saga

    • And David is searching for a way to put an end to the chase, so he returns to Jonathan for answers

1Sam. 20:1  Then David fled from Naioth in Ramah, and came and said to Jonathan, “What have I done? What is my iniquity? And what is my sin before your father, that he is seeking my life?” 
1Sam. 20:2 He said to him, “Far from it, you shall not die. Behold, my father does nothing either great or small without disclosing it to me. So why should my father hide this thing from me? It is not so!” 
1Sam. 20:3 Yet David vowed again, saying, “Your father knows well that I have found favor in your sight, and he has said, ‘Do not let Jonathan know this, or he will be grieved.’ But truly as the Lord lives and as your soul lives, there is hardly a step between me and death.” 
1Sam. 20:4 Then Jonathan said to David, “Whatever you say, I will do for you.” 
1Sam. 20:5 So David said to Jonathan, “Behold, tomorrow is the new moon, and I ought to sit down to eat with the king. But let me go, that I may hide myself in the field until the third evening. 
1Sam. 20:6 “If your father misses me at all, then say, ‘David earnestly asked leave of me to run to Bethlehem his city, because it is the yearly sacrifice there for the whole family.’ 
1Sam. 20:7 “If he says, ‘It is good,’ your servant will be safe; but if he is very angry, know that he has decided on evil. 
1Sam. 20:8 “Therefore deal kindly with your servant, for you have brought your servant into a covenant of the Lord with you. But if there is iniquity in me, put me to death yourself; for why then should you bring me to your father?” 
1Sam. 20:9 Jonathan said, “Far be it from you! For if I should indeed learn that evil has been decided by my father to come upon you, then would I not tell you about it?” 
1Sam. 20:10 Then David said to Jonathan, “Who will tell me if your father answers you harshly?” 
1Sam. 20:11 Jonathan said to David, “Come, and let us go out into the field.” So both of them went out to the field. 
  • David confronts Jonathan and asks the obvious question, what did I do to Saul?

    • Of course this question can never have an acceptable answer

      • David didn’t do anything

      • Saul isn’t acting rationally

      • And the Lord is working to accomplish something in David’s life

    • I think every Christian should remember David’s question and bring it to mind when things are going horribly and unfairly wrong

      • David asked what did I do wrong, knowing he was innocent

      • And he assumes that if one is innocent, then nothing bad should happen

      • And yet here it was happening nonetheless

    • Similarly, we need to remember that just because we’re “innocent” that doesn’t mean the Lord isn’t just when He allows us to suffer in various ways

      • That suffering is still just if it serves His good purposes in our life

      • And suffering is a powerful way for the Lord to grow us

      • David doesn’t understand yet what the Lord is doing so he’s looking for ways to escape his predicament

      • But we should learn from his experience to realize even in the midst of our circumstances that bad things happen to good people for good reasons

  • Jonathan is the friend David desperately needed

    • He reassures David that Saul will not be successful in taking David’s life

      • In fact, Jonathan tells David he will always know what Saul is planning before Saul does it

      • Therefore, he can assure David that they will stay one step ahead of Saul 

    • But David isn’t so optimistic

      • He says won’t Saul anticipate that Jonathan is helping David and withhold details?

      • Therefore, David returns to the pessimistic, woe-is-me attitude

      • This is certainly not the David that walked out onto that field against Goliath, is it?

      • Just for a moment I think we see why the Lord wants to strengthen David through this trial

  • If David was a bit too pessimistic, then Jonathan was certainly overly optimistic

    • So Jonathan tells David, tell me what to do to reassure you

      • David decides that the upcoming new moon festival was the right occasion to show Jonathan Saul’s heart

      • New moons in Israel began a new month, and it was marked with a sacrificial meal

      • The king held a special feast meal and a high-ranking commander like David would be expected to attend

    • Obviously, if Saul was actively trying to kill David, he would be angry if David wasn’t there

      • So David tells Jonathan to make an excuse for him to test Saul’s heart

      • David will avoid the meal by hiding in the field and Jonathan will say that David went to Bethlehem for an annual family feast (like a reunion)

      • David was lying, and in the early days of his running from Saul, he seems to rely on lying or other tricks to get his way

      • But as his time on the lam goes on, he rests more and more in the Lord for protection, as the Psalms indicate

      • His trials were a source of purification as scripture promises

  • Saul’s response to this news will tell David and Jonathan where Saul’s heart truly is

    • If Saul could accept the story of David’s absence without concern, then it would indicate he wasn’t planning to kill David, since the reason was understandable

      • But if Saul was upset, it would tip his hand

      • He would be showing he was intending to kill David and was upset at missing his chance

    • Jonathan likes the plan and decides to act on it

      • He helps hide David in the field

      • And he goes to the dinner

      • David is hiding in the field instead of actually going to Bethlehem or elsewhere probably because he doesn’t trust anyone else at this point

1Sam. 20:12  Then Jonathan said to David, “The Lord, the God of Israel, be witness! When I have sounded out my father about this time tomorrow, or the third day, behold, if there is good feeling toward David, shall I not then send to you and make it known to you? 
1Sam. 20:13 “If it please my father to do you harm, may the Lord do so to Jonathan and more also, if I do not make it known to you and send you away, that you may go in safety. And may the Lord be with you as He has been with my father. 
1Sam. 20:14 “If I am still alive, will you not show me the lovingkindness of the Lord, that I may not die? 
1Sam. 20:15 “You shall not cut off your lovingkindness from my house forever, not even when the Lord cuts off every one of the enemies of David from the face of the earth.” 
1Sam. 20:16 So Jonathan made a covenant with the house of David, saying, “May the Lord require it at the hands of David’s enemies.” 
1Sam. 20:17 Jonathan made David vow again because of his love for him, because he loved him as he loved his own life. 
1Sam. 20:18  Then Jonathan said to him, “Tomorrow is the new moon, and you will be missed because your seat will be empty. 
1Sam. 20:19 “When you have stayed for three days, you shall go down quickly and come to the place where you hid yourself on that eventful day, and you shall remain by the stone Ezel. 
1Sam. 20:20 “I will shoot three arrows to the side, as though I shot at a target. 
1Sam. 20:21 “And behold, I will send the lad, saying, ‘Go, find the arrows.’ If I specifically say to the lad, ‘Behold, the arrows are on this side of you, get them,’ then come; for there is safety for you and no harm, as the Lord lives. 
1Sam. 20:22 “But if I say to the youth, ‘Behold, the arrows are beyond you,’ go, for the Lord has sent you away. 
1Sam. 20:23 “As for the agreement of which you and I have spoken, behold, the Lord is between you and me forever.” 
  • Jonathan promises David that once he has determined his father’s true intent concerning David, he will communicate it honestly to David

    • If Saul shows kindness to David, then Jonathan will call for David to return to the king’s court

      • But if the king desires to do harm to David, then Jonathan will let David know that as well

      • He is taking a considerable risk in either case

    • So Jonathan goes a step further and asks David for another covenant with the Lord as his witness (v.12)

      • The first covenant was a suzerainty covenant in which Jonathan pledged his love to David unconditionally

      • Now this time Jonathan is proposing a parity covenant for different purposes

      • Jonathan on his part will divulge his father’s intent toward David, thus saving David’s life

    • And David on his part will pledge to protect Jonathan’s house forever

      • Jonathan knew that David was anointed to be the next king

      • So that meant that David’s house would consider Saul’s house to be potential rivals and enemies

      • Therefore, Jonathan has good reason to worry that he and his family might be in jeopardy when David assumes the throne

    • So Jonathan wants David’s assurance in a covenant that he would treat Jonathan’s family with lovingkindness (a covenant term) forever

      • Even after David’s enemies are completely gone from the earth, David should continue to show favor to Jonathan’s household

      • This is a parity covenant because it depends on performance on both parties

      • And yet it is a lifelong covenant binding until death

  • Both men vow, so a second covenant is struck between them

    • Now Jonathan begins to enact the plan

      • He’s concerned about how to get word to David without giving away David’s position

      • He devises a plan of using arrows

    • Jonathan will come out to the field to shoot arrows after the dinner is concluded

      • He will bring a servant with him to retrieve the arrows

      • He will shoot three arrows

      • If he shoots so they land near David, then he is signaling that all is clear for David to return to the court

      • If Jonathan shoots the arrows far over David’s head, then it’s a sign that David run away from Saul

    • But Jonathan adds that the agreement they struck is forever lasting

      • Later in 2 Samuel we see the outworking of this covenant in David’s life

      • As king, he calls for any servants of Jonathan he should show kindness to in response to his covenant with Jonathan

      • And a crippled son of Jonathan, Mephibosheth, is found and given a place at the king’s table

      • David is faithful to this covenant even after Jonathan’s death

  • We first hear about Mephibosheth in Chapter 4 of 2 Samuel

2Sam. 4:4  Now Jonathan, Saul’s son, had a son crippled in his feet. He was five years old when the report of Saul and Jonathan came from Jezreel, and his nurse took him up and fled. And it happened that in her hurry to flee, he fell and became lame. And his name was Mephibosheth. 
  • So this young man is crippled

    • And David calls for this descendent of Jonathan to appear before him

      • Now imagine yourself Mephibosheth

      • Due to his crippled nature, Mephibosheth can’t stand before the king

      • He lies prostrate on the ground

    • And what must have been going through his mind?

      • He probably doesn’t know about the covenant between David and Jonathan

      • All he knows is that he is the last living male heir to the house of Saul

      • And his grandfather’s rival has called for him to appear

    • He must assume the worst

      • He must assume that he will be killed any minute

      • But instead, look what David does

2Sam. 9:7 David said to him, “Do not fear, for I will surely show kindness to you for the sake of your father Jonathan, and will restore to you all the land of your grandfather Saul; and you shall eat at my table regularly.” 
2Sam. 9:8 Again he prostrated himself and said, “What is your servant, that you should regard a dead dog like me?” 
2Sam. 9:9  Then the king called Saul’s servant Ziba and said to him, “All that belonged to Saul and to all his house I have given to your master’s grandson. 
2Sam. 9:10 “You and your sons and your servants shall cultivate the land for him, and you shall bring in the produce so that your master’s grandson may have food; nevertheless Mephibosheth your master’s grandson shall eat at my table regularly.” Now Ziba had fifteen sons and twenty servants. 
2Sam. 9:11 Then Ziba said to the king, “According to all that my lord the king commands his servant so your servant will do.” So Mephibosheth ate at David’s table as one of the king’s sons. 
  • David recognizes Mephibosheth’s fear

    • And David understands why he’s afraid

      • But David says don’t worry, because I called you here to show kindness upon you

      • And why?

      • Because Mephibosheth deserved it?

      • Did David show kindness because of something Mephibosheth did?

      • No

    • And Mephibosheth knows he is receiving something he shouldn’t receive

      • He asks a rhetorical question…why are you showing regard for a dead dog like me?

      • David was giving lovingkindness on account of Jonathan

      • The word lovingkindness is chesed

      • It means a special kind of underserved faithfulness 

Ex. 34:6 Then the Lord passed by in front of him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth; 
  • This is same kind of kindness David was prepared to show Jonathan’s son on account of his father’s covenant

    • We have another word for this special kind of kindness

    • We call it grace…unmerited favor

    • It was the basis for David’s actions

    • David was willing to restore Mephibosheth to the king’s table on the basis of another’s act of faithfulness

    • Not on the basis of Mephibosheth’s own worthiness

    • But on the basis of an agreement the king made with Mephibosheth’s father, Jonathan

  • And look at the favor Mephibosheth received

    • Mephibosheth inherited the property that had been his grandfather’s

      • And he had the benefit of servants to feed him

      • And he dined with the king at the king’s table

    • He went from a dead dog, a worthless person in the eyes of all of Israel

      • To become as a son of the king

      • Eating at the kings table continually

    • Many of us probably already know this, but David is a type of Christ

      • And it’s easy to see that type revealed through this story

      • In this story of David, we have a king showing grace – unmerited favor – upon an unworthy man

      • And more than that, a man who would be considered an enemy of David

    • Yet, on the basis of a covenant of faithfulness that the king made earlier with the ancestor of this poor dead dog of a man 

      • The king can now bestow grace upon this man 

      • And he will enjoy the riches of the King’s palace, like dining at the king’s table

  • This is exactly the way our king, Jesus Christ, looked upon you and I

    • Before we were drawn to Him, we were dead in our trespasses

      • We were like that poor Mephibosheth, dead as dogs and unable to stand in the king’s presence in our own power

      • But by the grace of the king we are made to stand

    • And what exactly did we do again to deserve God’s favor?

      • In a word nothing

      • It was grace.  Unmerited favor

      • And it was on the basis of an earlier covenant

    • Mephibosheth was a descendent of Jonathan, a man in covenant with the king

      • His relationship to the one who was in covenant with the King meant he participated in the blessings of that covenant

      • Likewise, by our faith, God makes us members of Abraham’s family

      • Therefore we receive the same blessings from our King Christ as a result of our family relationship with the covenant holder, Abraham

    • The scriptures speak of David as a man after God’s own heart

      • That like Christ, David was faithful to keep his covenant and to forgive those who were his enemies

      • Likewise, our Lord is such a king

      • We can be confident in that assurance

      • As a child of the living God, we will always be welcome at his table

      • Having been renewed by His Spirit and reconciled by His Son’s sacrifice