Rev. Ronald C. Purkey, an ordained Baptist minister, claims no originality for this Bible study outline.
However, every Bible study posted on this website has been taught by Rev. Purkey.
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December 12, 2021
BACKGROUND: This week’s Bible study tells the story of Mephibosheth (Meh-fib-o-sheth), the crippled son of David’s best friend, Jonathan, and a grandson of King Saul (2 Samuel 9:6).
· When Mephibosheth was five years old, his father and grandfather were both killed in the Battle of Jezreel on Mount Gilboa (2 Samuel 4:4).
Mephibosheth’s nurse, upon receiving news of the tragedy, feared for the child’s life. And, when she grabbed Mephibosheth to flee for protection, she fell and dropped him. As a result, the boy became crippled.
· Sometime after the episode in which David showed kindness to Mephibosheth, the king’s son Absalom rebelled.
Ziba, the servant of Mephibosheth, accused Mephibosheth of disloyalty to David (2 Samuel 16:1-4).The king believed Ziba’s story and took Saul’s property from Mephibosheth. But after the revolt had been squashed and David returned to Jerusalem, Mephibosheth tried to clear his name. David, in turn, offered Mephibosheth half of Saul’s estates (2 Samuel 19:24-30).
INTRODUCTION: 2 Samuel chapter nine records one of the most beautiful stories in the Scriptures.
A. It’s a story that reveals what a great man David really was.
It records the story of Mephibosheth. He is the son of Jonathan and the grandson of Saul. It is important at this point to recall some of the background of Saul. He had been the ruthless foe and bitter enemy of David.
B. At the death of King Saul, David began to assemble his forces.
According to custom of that day, a new king would naturally put to death all contenders to the throne of a former dynasty. Any claimant would be removed by execution. That would protect the new king from any threat.
C. According to the code of that day, David would have been justified in putting to death any of the offspring of Saul.
When Saul and Jonathan had been killed in the same battle, a little son of Jonathan’s was hidden lest David find him and kill him. The name of this boy was Mephibosheth. David could more firmly establish his throne by slaying this boy and thus remove the last hint of danger.
I. KING DAVID’S SEARCH. (2 Samuel 9:1-5)
INSIGHT: This chapter presents a moving illustration of the salvation we have in Christ. David’s treatment of Mephibosheth is certainly that of a “man after God’s own heart.”
A. He was born in a rejected family. (2 Samuel 9:1-2)
“And David said, Is there yet any that is left of the house of Saul, that I may shew him kindness for Jonathan's sake? 2 And there was of the house of Saul a servant whose name was Ziba. And when they had called him unto David, the king said unto him, Art thou Ziba? And he said, Thy servant is he.” (2 Samuel 9:1-2)
As the son of
Jonathan, Mephibosheth was a member of a rejected family. He was a son of a
prince, yet was living in dependence on others away from the city of Jerusalem.
Every lost sinner today is born in sin, born into Adam’s family, and is thus
under condemnation (Romans 5:12ff,
B. He experienced a fall and could not walk. (2 Samuel 9:3)
“And the king said, Is there not yet any of the house of Saul, that I may shew the kindness of God unto him? And Ziba said unto the king, Jonathan hath yet a son, which is lame on his feet.” (2 Samuel 9:3)
Mephibosheth was lame in both his feet and thus could not walk. All people today are sinners because of the fall of Adam (Romans 5:12), and they cannot walk so as to please God. Instead of walking in obedience, sinners walk “according to the course of this world” (Ephesians 2:2). They may try to walk to please God, but no amount of self-effort or good works will save them.
C. He was missing the best. (2 Samuel 9:4)
“And the king said unto him, Where is he? And Ziba said unto the king, Behold, he is in the house of Machir, the son of Ammiel, in Lodebar.” (2 Samuel 9:4)
Mephibosheth lived at Lo-debar which means “no pasture.” That is a fitting description of this present world -- no pasture, no place for the souls to be satisfied. Sinners are hungry and thirsty, but this world and its pleasures cannot satisfy.
D. He would have perished without David’s help. (2 Samuel 9:5)
“Then king David sent, and fetched him out of the house of Machir, the son of Ammiel, from Lodebar.” (2 Samuel 9:5)
We would never have heard of Mephibosheth were it not for the gracious steps David took to save him. His name was written down in God’s Word because David reached him and helped him.
The lost sinner is in a tragic situation. He has fallen; he cannot walk to please God; he is separated from home; he is under condemnation; he cannot help himself.
II. KING DAVID’S INTERVIEW. (2 Samuel 9:6-8)
A. David Speaks Respectfully To Him. (2 Samuel 9:6)
“ Now when Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, was come unto David, he fell on his face, and did reverence. And David said, Mephibosheth. And he answered, Behold thy servant!” (2 Samuel 9:6)
When Mephibosheth is brought before David, he falls on his face before him, expecting to be executed. Instead, David speaks kindly to him, calling him by his name.
B. David Treats Him Like A Son. (2 Samuel 9:7)
“And David said unto him, Fear not: for I will surely shew thee kindness for Jonathan thy father's sake, and will restore thee all the land of Saul thy father; and thou shalt eat bread at my table continually.” (2 Samuel 9:7)
David quickly puts him at ease and explains the reason he has sent for him. He restores his inheritance to him and gives him a permanent place at the king’s table -- honoring him as one of his own sons!
C. David Shows Kindness To Him. (2 Samuel 9:8)
“And he bowed himself, and said, What is thy servant, that thou shouldest look upon such a dead dog as I am?” (2 Samuel 9:8)
Notice the reaction of Mephibosheth to all of this. Had there been another king on the throne, he would have been killed. It would have been an entirely different story. Realizing this, Mephibosheth counts himself as “a dead dog.” But David does not call him that. He says, “You are no dead dog. You are Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan. I intend to show kindness to you.”
III. KING DAVID’S DECISION. (2 Samuel 9:9-13)
A. Ziba Became Mephibosheth’s Servant. (2 Samuel 9:9-10)
“Then the king called to Ziba, Saul's servant, and said unto him, I have given unto thy master's son all that pertained to Saul and to all his house. 10 Thou therefore, and thy sons, and thy servants, shall till the land for him, and thou shalt bring in the fruits, that thy master's son may have food to eat: but Mephibosheth thy master's son shall eat bread alway at my table. Now Ziba had fifteen sons and twenty servants.” (2 Samuel 9:9-10)
That is quite a household! So this property and land of Saul’s was turned over to Mephibosheth. It rightfully belonged to him, and David sees to it that he gets it.
B. David Provided For Mephibosheth. (2 Samuel 9:11-13)
“Then said Ziba unto the king, According to all that my lord the king hath commanded his servant, so shall thy servant do. As for Mephibosheth, said the king, he shall eat at my table, as one of the king's sons. 12 And Mephibosheth had a young son, whose name was Micha. And all that dwelt in the house of Ziba were servants unto Mephibosheth. 13 So Mephibosheth dwelt in Jerusalem: for he did eat continually at the king's table; and was lame on both his feet.” (2 Samuel 9:11-13)
INSIGHT: What David did for Mephibosheth was wonderful, but there are some other impressive lessons with great spiritual truths which we should not miss.
1. A child of God recognizes that he is also a cripple in God’s sight.
We are told in
Our feet get us into trouble. The way that the soul and the feet are so closely connected in Scripture is quite interesting. I do not mean to make a bad pun; I am not talking about the sole of the foot.
Remembering that David for the rest of his life had a crippled boy who ate at his table, listen to the words of Psalm 56:13, “For thou hast delivered my soul from death: wilt not thou deliver my feet from failing, that I may walk before God in the light of the living?” Psalm 73:2 says, “But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped” David knew what it was to have lame feet! In Psalm 116:8 he says, “For thou hast delivered my soul from death, mine eyes from tears, and my feet from falling.” All of us are actually cripples before God!
philosophy and humanism present another picture of man. A liberal once said
that Christ came to reveal the splendors of the human soul! God says, “The heart is deceitful above all things,
and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jer. 17:9). Out of the heart
proceed evil thoughts, and it is a mess of bad things. You cannot expect any
good from human nature. Paul could say, “For
I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will
is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not” (Rom.
7:18). Paul had no confidence in the flesh. The Law is condemnation.
2. David extended kindness to Mephibosheth for the sake of Jonathan.
This is another facet of this amazing incident. You see, David did not know the boy. He did what he did for the sake of Jonathan whom he loved. When David looked upon this boy, he did not see a cripple; he saw Jonathan. He had made a covenant with Jonathan. The kindness, mercy, and grace extended to a helpless person were for the sake of another.
We have seen how
much Jonathan meant to David. When the news of his death reached him, he said: “How are the mighty fallen in the midst of
the battle! O Jonathan, thou wast slain in thine high
places. I am distressed for thee, my brother Jonathan: very pleasant hast thou
been unto me: thy love to me was wonderful, passing the love of women” (2
Sam. 1:25–26). Now God has saved you and me because of Another -- the Lord
Jesus Christ. When we accept Jesus Christ as Savior,
3. David said nothing about the lame feet of Mephibosheth.
There is no record that David ever mentioned it or made an allusion to it. He never said to him, “It is too bad that you are crippled.” He treated him like a prince. He sat at the king’s table, and his feet were covered with a linen cloth. God forgets our sin because it is blotted out by the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. That is the only way God can forgive our sins. The writer of Hebrews put it this way: “And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more” (Hebrews 10:17).
4. Mephibosheth said nothing about his lame feet.
What do you think David and Mephibosheth talked about when they sat at the table? They talked about another person. Do you know who it was? It was Jonathan. David loved his friend Jonathan. Mephibosheth loved Jonathan -- he was his father. Jonathan was the subject of conversation.
What should you and I talk about? Some Christians take a keen delight in talking about the old days when they lived in sin. It is too bad that when we get together we don’t talk about Another -- the Lord Jesus Christ should be the main subject of our conversation.
5. Others said nothing about Mephibosheth’s lame feet.
There was a large company that ate at the king’s table. One day they saw David bringing this crippled boy to the table. The gossips did not say, “Did you hear how it happened?” Instead they listened to the king. They heard David praise Mephibosheth, They had no time to indulge in cheap talk. Their hearts went out in love to this boy. You see, love “beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.” Love “never fails” (1 Cor. 13:7–8).
As far as I can tell, David was never able to make this boy walk. If you see that you cannot walk well-pleasing to God, turn to the Lord Jesus Christ. Christ said to the man with palsy, whose friends had let him down through the roof, “… Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee…. Arise, and walk” (Matt. 9:2–5). The apostle Paul urges: “I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love” (Eph. 4:1–2). If you are failing in your walk, turn to Christ for help.
Christ is sending out an invitation today into the highways and byways and out into the streets of our town. He is saying, “Come to my table of salvation just as you are, crippled, and I will feed you.” He says, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28). He also says, “… If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink” (John 7:37).
What a wonderful picture of God’s love is presented in this chapter!
1. A young factory worker noticed one day that a valuable tool was missing from his toolbox. Later he recognized it in the toolbox of a fellow employee.
The young man was the only Christian in the shop, and he wanted to have a good testimony for Christ. So he went to the man and said, "I see you have one of my tools, but you may keep it if you need it." Then he went on with his work and put the incident out of his mind.
2. During the next 2 weeks, the person who had taken the tool tried to soothe his conscience.
First he offered the young man something of equal value, then he offered to help him on some home projects, and finally he slipped some money into his coat pocket. Eventually, the co-workers became good friends, and the one-time tool thief admitted he couldn't resist the man's kindness.
3. Kindness is probably the most effective tool Christians have in their kit of virtues.
But even when it doesn't bring about a reconciliation, as it did with those two workers, it is still the right response. No matter how we are treated, we are to follow Christ's example (Eph. 4:32).
4. Oh, for grace to extend love to others, even as God for Christ's sake has loved us! – By Henry G. Bosch, Our Daily Bread, August 8, 1994
CONCLUSION: What have we learned today from our study of 2 Samuel 9:1-13?
· We learned that David made a kind enquiry about the remains of the house of Saul, and he discovered Jonathan’s son, Mephibosheth was alive. (2 Samuel 9:1-4)
· We learned about the kind reception David gave to Mephibosheth, when he was brought to him. (2 Samuel 9:5-8)
· We learned about the kind provision he made for Mephibosheth and his loved ones. (2 Samuel 9:9–13)
· We learned that the only thing recorded in this chapter is the kindness David showed to Jonathan’s family for his sake.
QUESTIONS: How do you treat people? Do you turn your back to some people, reject them, or seek some kind of revenge? Or do you love them for Jesus sake and try to make things right? What kind of a Christian are you?
THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: “Need to repair a relationship? Try Kindness.”
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REFERENCES: References used in these Bible studies are the Moody Bible Commentary, J. Vernon McGee’s Thru the Bible Commentary: (www.ttb.org), the Scofield Study Bible, the Believer’s Bible Commentary, Dr. Charles J. Woodbridge Bible Outlines, Dr. Lee Roberson’s Sermons, Dr. Charles Stanley: (http://www.intouch.org/), Don Robinson’s Bible Outlines, Women’s Study Bible, The Bible Reader’s Companion Ed. 3, The Nelson Study Bible: New King James Version, Dr. Tony Evans (https://tonyevans.org/), KJV Bible Commentary, Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines of the New Testament ed. 4, Dr. David Jeremiah: (http://www.davidjeremiah.org/site/), Dr. Cliff Robinson’s Bible Outlines, Dr. Robert Jeffress’ Pathway to Victory (https://ptv.org/), Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines of the Old Testament, Dr. Alan Carr’s The Sermon Notebook (www.sermonnotebook.org), With the Word Bible Commentary, Wiersbe’s “Be” Series: Old & New Testaments, Radio Bible Class Ministries (http://rbc.org/), selected illustrations and other references.
REV. RONALD C. PURKEY’S OFFICE
E-Mail: Ronald Purkey