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English Bible Dictionary

Mephibosheth, son of Jonathan

 

(exterminating the idol), the name borne by two members of the family of Saul--his son and his grandson.

The son of Jonathan, grandson of Saul and nephew of the preceding; called also Merib-baal. (1 Chronicles 8:34) His life seems to have been, from beginning to end, one of trial and discomfort. When his father and grandfather were slain on Gilboa he was an infant but five years old. At this age he met with an accident which deprived him for life of the use of both feet. (2 Samuel 4:4) After this he is found a home with Machir ben-Ammiel a powerful Gadite, who brought him up, and while here was married. Later on David invited him to Jerusalem, and there treated him and his son Micha with the greatest kindness. From this time forward he resided at Jerusalem, of Mephibosheth's behavior during the rebellion of Absalom we possess two accounts--his own, (2 Samuel 13:24-30) and that of Ziba, (2 Samuel 16:1-4) They are naturally at variance with each other, and you can find more about that here on st-takla.org on other commentaries and dictionary entries. In consequence of the story of Ziba, he was rewarded by the possessions of his master. Mephibosheth's story--which however, he had not the opportunity of telling until several days later, when he met David returning to his kingdom at the western bank of Jordan--was very different from Ziba's. That David did not disbelieve it is shown by his revoking the judgment he had previously given. That he did not entirely reverse his decision, but allowed Ziba to retain possession of half the lands of Mephibosheth, is probably due partly to weariness at the whole transaction, but mainly to the conciliatory frame of mind in which he was at that moment. "Shall there any man be put to death this day?" is the keynote of the whole proceeding.

 

* See other occurrences of the same term: Mephibosheth, Meribbaa.

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