David Finds Mephibosheth
1#sn 2 Samuel 9–20 is known as the Succession Narrative. It is a literary unit that describes David’s efforts at consolidating his own kingdom following the demise of King Saul; it also provides the transition to subsequent leadership on the part of David’s successor Solomon. Then David asked, “Is anyone still left from the family#tn Heb “house.” of Saul, so that I may extend kindness to him for the sake of Jonathan?”
2 Now there was a servant from Saul’s house named Ziba, so he was summoned to David. The king asked him, “Are you Ziba?” He replied, “At your service.”#tn Heb “your servant.” 3 The king asked, “Is there not someone left from Saul’s family,#tn Heb “house.” that I may extend God’s kindness to him?” Ziba said to the king, “One of Jonathan’s sons is left; both of his feet are crippled.” 4 The king asked him, “Where is he?” Ziba told the king, “He is at the house of Makir son of Ammiel in Lo Debar.
5 So King David had him brought#tn Heb “sent and took him.” from the house of Makir son of Ammiel in#tn Heb “from.” Lo Debar. 6 When Mephibosheth son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, came to David, he bowed low with his face toward the ground.#tn Heb “he fell on his face and bowed down.” David said, “Mephibosheth?” He replied, “Yes, at your service.”#tn Heb “Look, your servant.”
7 David said to him, “Don’t be afraid, because I will certainly extend kindness to you for the sake of Jonathan your father. You will be a regular guest at my table.”#tn Heb “and you will eat food over my table continually.” 8 Then Mephibosheth#tn Heb “he”; the referent (Mephibosheth) has been specified in the translation for clarity. bowed and said, “Of what importance am I, your servant, that you show regard for a dead dog like me?”#tn Heb “What is your servant, that you turn to a dead dog which is like me?”
9 Then the king summoned Ziba, Saul’s attendant, and said to him, “Everything that belonged to Saul and to his entire house I hereby give to your master’s grandson. 10 You will cultivate#tn Heb “work.” the land for him – you and your sons and your servants. You will bring its produce#tn The Hebrew text implies, but does not actually contain, the words “its produce” here. and it will be#tc The words “it will be,” though present in the MT, are absent from the LXX, the Syriac Peshitta, and Vulgate. food for your master’s grandson to eat.#tn Heb “and he will eat it.” But Mephibosheth, your master’s grandson, will be a regular guest at my table.” (Now Ziba had fifteen sons and twenty servants.)
11 Ziba said to the king, “Your servant will do everything that my lord the king has instructed his servant to do.” So Mephibosheth was a regular guest#tn Heb “eating.” at David’s table,#tc Heb “my table.” But the first person reference to David is awkward here since the quotation of David’s words has already been concluded in v. 10; nor does the “my” refer to Ziba, since the latter part of v. 11 does not seem to be part of Ziba’s response to the king. The ancient versions are not unanimous in the way that they render the phrase. The LXX has “the table of David” (τῆς τραπέζης Δαυιδ, th" trapezh" Dauid); the Syriac Peshitta has “the table of the king” (patureh demalka’); the Vulgate has “your table” (mensam tuam). The present translation follows the LXX. just as though he were one of the king’s sons.
12 Now Mephibosheth had a young son whose name was Mica. All the members of Ziba’s household were Mephibosheth’s servants. 13 Mephibosheth was living in Jerusalem,#map For location see Map5-B1; Map6-F3; Map7-E2; Map8-F2; Map10-B3; JP1-F4; JP2-F4; JP3-F4; JP4-F4. for he was a regular guest at the king’s table. But both his feet were crippled.
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