Mephibosheth

Mephibosheth [N] [H] [S]

exterminator of shame; i.e., of idols.

  • The name of Saul's son by the concubine Rizpah (q.v.), the daughter of Aiah. He and his brother Armoni were with five others "hanged on a hill before the Lord" by the Gibeonites, and their bodies exposed in the sun for five months ( 2 Samuel 21:8-10 ).
  • The son of Jonathan, and grandson of Saul ( 2 Samuel 4:4 ). He was but five years old when his father and grandfather fell on Mount Gilboa. The child's nurse hearing of this calamity, fled with him from Gibeah, the royal residence, and stumbling in her haste, the child was thrown to the ground and maimed in both his feet, and ever after was unable to walk ( 19:26 ). He was carried to the land of Gilead, where he found a refuge in the house of Machir, the son of Ammiel, at Lo-debar, by whom he was brought up.

    Some years after this, when David had subdued all the adversaries of Israel, he began to think of the family of Jonathan, and discovered that Mephibosheth was residing in the house of Machir. Thither he sent royal messengers, and brought him and his infant son to Jerusalem, where he ever afterwards resided ( 2 Samuel 9 ).

    When David was a fugitive, according to the story of Ziba ( 2 Samuel 16:1-4 ) Mephibosheth proved unfaithful to him, and was consequently deprived of half of his estates; but according to his own story, however ( 19:24-30 ), he had remained loyal to his friend. After this incident he is only mentioned as having been protected by David against the vengeance the Gibeonites were permitted to execute on the house of Saul ( 21:7 ). He is also called Merib-baal ( 1 Chronicles 8:34 ; 9:40 ). (See ZIBA .)

    These dictionary topics are from
    M.G. Easton M.A., D.D., Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Third Edition,
    published by Thomas Nelson, 1897. Public Domain, copy freely.

    [N] indicates this entry was also found in Nave's Topical Bible
    [H] indicates this entry was also found in Hitchcock's Bible Names
    [S] indicates this entry was also found in Smith's Bible Dictionary

    Bibliography Information

    Easton, Matthew George. "Entry for Mephibosheth". "Easton's Bible Dictionary". .

  • Mephibosheth [N] [E] [S]

    out of my mouth proceeds reproach
    Hitchcock's Dictionary of Bible Names. Public Domain. Copy freely.

    [N] indicates this entry was also found in Nave's Topical Bible
    [E] indicates this entry was also found in Easton's Bible Dictionary
    [S] indicates this entry was also found in Smith's Bible Dictionary

    Bibliography Information

    Hitchcock, Roswell D. "Entry for 'Mephibosheth'". "An Interpreting Dictionary of Scripture Proper Names". . New York, N.Y., 1869.

    Mephibosheth [N] [E] [H]

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

    1. Sauls son by Rizpah the daughter of Aiah, his concubine. ( 2 Samuel 21:8 ) He and his brother Armoni were among the seven victims who were surrendered by David to the Gibeonites, and by them crucified to avert a famine from which the country was suffering.
    2. 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 Mephibosheths 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. In consequence of the story of Ziba, he was rewarded by the possessions of his master. Mephibosheths 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 Zibas. 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.

    [N] indicates this entry was also found in Nave's Topical Bible
    [E] indicates this entry was also found in Easton's Bible Dictionary
    [H] indicates this entry was also found in Hitchcock's Bible Names

    Bibliography Information

    Smith, William, Dr. "Entry for 'Mephibosheth'". "Smith's Bible Dictionary". . 1901.

    MEPHIBOSHETH

    me-fib'-o-sheth (mephibhosheth, "idol-breaker," also MERIB-BAAL (which see); Memphibosthe):

    (1) Son of Saul by his concubine RIZPAH (which see), daughter of Aiah (2 Samuel 21:8).

    See also ARMONI.

    (2) Grandson of Saul, son of Jonathan, and nephew of Mephibosheth (1) (2 Samuel 4:4). He was 5 years old when his father and grandfather were slain. He was living in charge of a nurse, possibly because his mother was dead. Tidings of the disaster at Jezreel and the onsweep of the Philistines terrified the nurse. She fled with her charge in such haste that a fall lamed the little prince in both feet for life. His life is a series of disasters, disappointments, and anxieties. It is a weary, broken, dispirited soul that speaks in all his utterances. The nurse carried him to Lo-debar among the mountains of Gilead, where he was brought up by Machir, son of Ammiel (2 Samuel 9:4). There he evidently married, for he had a son Mica when he returned later at David's request. When David had settled his own affairs and subdued his enemies, he turned his inquiries to Saul's household to see whether there were any survivors to whom he might show kindness for Jonathan's sake (2 Samuel 9:1). The search caused the appearance of Ziba, a servant of Saul's house (2 Samuel 9:2), who had meanwhile grown prosperous by some rapid process which can only be guessed at (2 Samuel 9:9,10). From him David learned about Mephibosheth, who was sent for. His humble bearing was consistent with his chronically broken spirit. David put Ziba's property (which had belonged to Saul) at Mephibosheth's disposal and made Ziba steward thereof. Mephibosheth was also to be a daily guest at David's table (2 Samuel 9:11-13). Seventeen years pass, during which Mephibosheth seems to have lived in Jerusalem. Then came Absalom's rebellion. David determined to flee, so distraught was he by the act of his son. At the moment of flight, in great depression and need, he was opportunely met by Ziba with food, refreshment and even means for travel. Naturally, the king inquired for Ziba's master. The treacherous reply was made (2 Samuel 16:1-4) that Mephibosheth had remained behind for his own ends, hoping the people would give him, Saul's grandson, the kingdom. David believed this and restored to Ziba the property lost. Not till many days after did the lame prince get his chance to give David his own version of the story. He met David on his return from quelling Absalom's rebellion. He had not dressed his feet, trimmed his beard nor washed his clothes since the hour of David's departure (2 Samuel 19:24). At David's anxious request Mephibosheth told his story:

    his servant had deceived him; he wanted to go with David, had even asked for his beast to be saddled; but Ziba had left him, and had slandered him to the king. But he would not plead his cause any more; David is "as an angel of God"; whatever he decides will be well! (2 Samuel 19:26,27). Thus characteristically continued the speech of this lame, broken, humble man, son of a proud family (2 Samuel 19:28). David wearily settled the matter by dividing the property between the prince and his servant, the prince expressing utmost content that Ziba should take all so long as David remained friendly (2 Samuel 19:29,30). That David accepted Mephibosheth's explanation and was drawn out in heart toward the character of the broken man is shown by the fact that when some expiation from Saul's household was considered necessary to turn away the famine sent by an offended deity, Mephibosheth is spared when other members of Saul's household were sacrificed (2 Samuel 21:7). The character of Mephibosheth well illustrates the effect of continued disaster, suspicion and treachery upon a sensitive mind.

    Henry Wallace


    Copyright Statement
    These files are public domain.

    Bibliography Information
    Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. "Entry for 'MEPHIBOSHETH'". "International Standard Bible Encyclopedia". 1915.