If anyone had the right to demand justice and seek vengeance it was this guy.
Life had been anything but easy. At the age of 5, not only was his dad killed in battle but because of a tragic accident he had been left unable to walk, as well (2Sam. 4:4). Moreover, he was the grandson of King Saul, who had also been killed in battle, and thus would have naturally been placed on a hit-list so as to remove any other claimants to the throne David now possessed.
Instead, David foreshadowed the grace of the Greater David and purposed to show Mephibosheth kindness for the sake of his late father. He restored to Mephibosheth all the land of Saul and commissioned Saul’s servant, Ziba, to tend the land and harvest its crops. And then, favor beyond favor, David set a permanent place for the son of Jonathan at his own royal table. (2Sam. 9)
But when David had to flee because of Absalom’s coup attempt, Mephibosheth was nowhere to be seen in the parade of those who demonstrated their loyalty to the king by fleeing Jerusalem with him. Instead, Ziba the servant shows up with a boat load of food waving a “Bon Voyage! Be safe!” banner for the king to see. David takes notice and asks Ziba, “Where’s Mephibosheth?” Ziba reports that the lone heir of Saul had elected to stay in Jerusalem and make his own power play for the throne (2Sam. 16:1-4). Spoiler alert: Not true! Nevertheless, David buys Ziba’s story and ends up stripping Mephibosheth of all his grandfather’s assets and assigns them to this “loyal” servant.
When David returns after his army crushes the coup, he finds out what really happened. Mephibosheth comes to meet the king upon his return to Jerusalem, and Mephibosheth is a mess. “He had neither taken care of his feet nor trimmed his beard nor washed his clothes, from the day the king departed until the day he came back in safety” (2Sam. 19:24). It was obvious this guy had been fasting and mourning for the entire duration of David’s short exile. Then David hears the rest of the story:
“My lord the king, my servant Ziba deceived me. I told him, ‘Saddle my donkey so I can go with the king.’ For as you know I am crippled. Ziba has slandered me by saying that I refused to come.”
(2Samuel 19:26-27a NLT)
What a rat! What a jerk! What an opportunist. Ziba sees the chaos created by Absalom’s insurrection and uses it as cover to steal the inheritance of someone physically dependent upon him — even after having pledged to the king that he would care for the son of Jonathan. Like I said, if anyone had the right to demand justice and seek vengeance it was Mephibosheth, the guy crippled in both feet, the guy swindled out of his inheritance, the guy slandered before the king.
Instead, Mephibosheth says to David, in effect, “Let Ziba have it all. All that truly matters, my king, is that you’re back” (2Sam. 19:30). So what allowed the son of Jonathan to respond in such a manner?
Here’s what I’m chewing on this morning:
“For all my father’s house were but men doomed to death before my lord the king, but you set your servant among those who eat at your table. What further right have I, then, to cry to the king?”
(2Samuel 19:28 ESV)
He had been deserving of death by nature of the family he was born into. His best hope was to be lame in life, without hope of profiting from any natural inheritance. So, that he had been swindled and slandered by a slippery servant was of little consequence because he had been shown favor by the king. He had been gifted a permanent seat at the kings table. And now, the king was back! Let Ziba have it all.
Hear Mephibosheth say, I am content to be at the king’s table. What else do I need?
Is this how Paul had learned to be a content in every situation, circumstance, and season (Php. 4:11)? Didn’t matter whether he had a little or a lot, whether he was well-fed or hungry, regardless of whether he enjoyed great abundance or endured great need. It was all good because he had a seat at the King’s table. He had known the King’s kindness. Received of the King’s over-the-top provision.
That’s all that really mattered. That’s perspective from the King’s table.
What further right have I, then, to cry to the king?
Because of grace. For His glory.