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Lessons You Can Learn From Mephibosheth's Life

Rev. Margaret Minnicks is an ordained Bible teacher. She writes many articles that are Bible lessons.


Mephibosheth was royal, but he didn't feel royal. He didn't look royal, and he didn't act like a royal. Actually, he was living in a place called Lo Debar with misfits. Mephibosheth didn't have a royal attitude because of his physical handicap.

Mephibosheth's Story

Mephibosheth's father was Jonathan, and his grandfather was Saul, the first king of Israel. The boy was only five years old when his father, grandfather, and uncle all died in battle on Mount Gilboa at the same time, according to 2 Samuel 4:4. When Mephibosheth's nurse heard the news, she feared someone would come looking for an heir of the king to kill him too. So, she grabbed the boy up in her arms and ran in panic. In her haste, she dropped Mephibosheth, and he became crippled and lame in both feet for the rest of his life.

The Nurse's Fear

Mephibosheth had been dropped because of no fault of his own. He was dropped by someone he trusted to take care of him. Because of the nurse's fear, Mephibosheth was robbed of his royal existence. The Bible doesn't record anything else about Mephibosheth until years later when he was an adult.

David remembered the covenant he made with his close friend Jonathan. They both had vowed to take care of each other's family if something happened to one of them (1 Samuel 18:1-4). David might have been busy doing things that kings do because many years had passed before he inquired about Jonathan's family.

In 2 Samuel 9:1, David inquired if there was still anyone left alive in Saul's family. He wanted to show kindness in Jonathan’s honor. Even though Saul chased David and threatened to kill him on many occasions, that did not ruin the relationship his son Jonathan had with David.


In response to David's question, Ziba, a servant of the house in Saul, tells King David about Jonathan’s son Mephibosheth who is living in Lo Debar, a desolate place. The name means "land of nothing." The residents there were misfits. That described the way Mephibosheth was living even though he was a royal.

David sends for the man and gives him the land left behind by his grandfather King Saul. David also invites Mephibosheth to eat at the king’s table. This was the first time the crippled man had the opportunity to live as an heir.

Mephibosheth and David's First Meeting

The first meeting of Mephibosheth and King David is recorded in 2 Samuel 9. The young man was afraid because he thought he was going to be killed. When a new king takes over, the relatives of the former king are usually killed to avoid any conflict later on. David told him not to be afraid. “I will surely show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan. I will restore to you all the land that belonged to your grandfather Saul and you will always eat at my table” (2 Samuel 9:7).

The son of Jonathan bowed and asked David why he would notice a dead dog like him. That question showed that Mephibosheth had low self-worth because of his physical handicap. He saw himself as nothing more than a "dead dog." He felt useless and not worthy to sit at the king's table.


Life Applications From Mephibosheth's Story

We might not be crippled in our feet, but we might be crippled spiritually. God does not want us to be crippled in any way. The story of Mephibosheth tells how his trusted nurse dropped him, and it was not the boy's fault. We should be aware that people will drop us and it will impact our lives.

People might drop us from having a healthy relationship with them. People might drop us from the list of getting the promotion we desire. People might drop us because we shine a light on their sins. People might drop us for no apparent reason, and we spend a lot of time trying to figure out why they dropped you.

One thing for sure is that you can't predict when your family members, friends, co-workers, or even church members will drop you. What you should be aware of is that their dropping you shouldn't send you to Lo Debar, the land of nothing.

It is important to note that Mephibosheth was a royal, but he wasn't living like one. He was the grandson of a king. He considered himself to be as worthless as "a dead dog" when he should have been enjoying all the privileges of a royal.

Let us not be crippled by a fall that comes at the result of somebody else's fear and failure. Know that you will always have a place at the table of the King of Kings. When we are in the presence of God, the focus is on Him and not on our handicap.

According to 1 Peter 2:9, "But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light."

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