The day of David’s return was a day of bringing to remembrance, a day of account, in which what had passed in his flight was called over again; among other things, after the case of Shimei, that of Mephibosheth comes to be enquired into, and he himself brings it on.
I. He went down in the crowd to meet the king (2 Sam. 19:24), and as a proof of the sincerity of his joy in the king’s return, we are here told what a true mourner he was for the king’s banishment. During that melancholy time, when one of the greatest glories of Israel had departed, Mephibosheth continued in a very melancholy state. He was never trimmed, nor put on clean linen, but wholly neglected himself, as one abandoned to grief for the king’s affliction and the kingdom’s misery. In times of public calamity we ought to abridge our enjoyments in the delights of sense, in conformity to the season. There are times when God calls to weeping and mourning, and we must comply with the call.
II. When the king came to Jerusalem (since he could not sooner have an opportunity) he made his appearance before him (2 Sam. 19:25); and when the king asked him why he, being one of his family, had staid behind, and not accompanied him in his exile, he opened his case fully to the king. 1. He complained of Ziba, his servant who should have been his friend, but had been in two ways his enemy; for, first, he had hindered him from going along with the king, by taking the ass himself which he was ordered to make ready for his master (2 Sam. 19:26), basely taking advantage of his lameness and his inability to help himself; and, secondly, he had accused him to David of a design to usurp the government, 2 Sam. 19:27. How much mischief is it in the power of a wicked servant to do to the best master! 2. He gratefully acknowledged the king’s great kindness to him when he and all his father’s house lay at the king’s mercy, 2 Sam. 19:28. When he might justly have been dealt with as a rebel, he was treated as a friend, as a child: Thou didst set thy servant among those that did eat at thy own table. This shows that Ziba’s suggestion was improbable; for could Mephibosheth be so foolish as to aim higher when he lived so easily, so happily as he did? And could he be so very disingenuous as to design any harm to David, of whose great kindness to him he was thus sensible? (3.) He referred his cause to the king’s pleasure (Do what is good in thy eyes with me and my estate), depending on the king’s wisdom, and his ability to discern between truth and falsehood (My lord the king is as an angel from God), and disclaiming all pretensions of his own merit: “So much kindness I have received above what I deserved, and what right have I to cry any more unto the king? Why should I trouble the king with my complaints when I have already been so troublesome to him? Why should I think any thing hard that is put upon me when I hitherto been so kindly treated?” We were all as dead men before God; yet he has not only spared us, but taken us to sit at his table. How little reason then have we to complain of any trouble we are in, and how much reason to take all well that God does!
III. David hereupon recalls the sequestration of Mephibosheth’s estate; being deceived in his grant, he revokes it, and confirms his former settlement of it: “I have said, Thou and Ziba divide the land (2 Sam. 19:29), that is, Let it be as I first ordered it (2 Sam. 9:10); the property shall still be vested in thee, but Ziba shall have occupancy: he shall till the land, paying thee a rent.” Thus Mephibosheth is where he was; no harm is done, only Ziba goes away unpunished for his false and malicious information against his master. David either feared him too much, or loved him too well, to do justice upon him according to that law, Deut. 19:18, 19; and he was now in the humour of forgiving and resolved to make every body easy.
IV. Mephibosheth drowns all he cares about his estate in his joy for the king’s return (2 Sam. 19:30): “Yea, let him take all, the presence and favour of the king shall be to me instead of all.” A good man can contentedly bear his own private losses and disappointments, while he see Israel in peace, and the throne of the Son of David exalted and established. Let Ziba take all, so that David may be in peace.
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