Study Notes

2Samuel 9:1-10:19

9:1 Blessing The House Of Saul

If you've studied through the book of Samuel with us, you know how much harm King Saul did to David. It began right after David killed Goliath and Saul heard the women singing,

1Sam. 18:7-9 ..."Saul has slain his thousands, And David his ten thousands." Then Saul became very angry, for this saying displeased him; and he said, "They have ascribed to David ten thousands, but to me they have ascribed thousands. Now what more can he have but the kingdom?" And Saul looked at David with suspicion from that day on.

That suspicion turned into hatred. Saul tried to kill David numerous times. Chasing him out of the country, pursuing him in the wilderness, giving his wife to another man, falsely accusing him of treachery and treason. All the while, David refused to strike back.

When Saul and his sons died, David could have rejoiced. "Finally, my enemy is dead!" When he ascended to the throne, he could have done as other kings of the day did - search out and kill any blood relative of the king in order to insure that no one would arise and claim the throne. But instead, David now searches out any of Saul's relatives to bless them!

Why would he do this? For Jonathan's sake. Jonathan was the son of Saul that had been a true friend to David. They had made a covenant,

1Sam. 20:42 And Jonathan said to David, "Go in safety, inasmuch as we have sworn to each other in the name of the LORD, saying, ‘The LORD will be between me and you, and between my descendants and your descendants forever.'"

Rather than searching out Saul's descendants to kill them, David inquires about Saul's descendants to bless them.

9:2-4 David's Inquiry

No one knew if Saul had any living descendants left. But they knew someone that would know: Tsee-BAW, a man who had been one of the servants of Saul's house. David asked Tsee-BAW if there were any left.

There was one. Jonathan's son Mef-ee-BO-sheth. He was the one that we read about in chapter four:

2Sam. 4:4 Now Jonathan, Saul's son, had a son crippled in his feet. He was five years old when the report of Saul and Jonathan came from Yiz-reh-ALE, and his nurse took him up and fled. And it happened that in her hurry to flee, he fell and became lame. And his name was Mef-ee-BO-sheth.

Due to a fall, Mef-ee-BO-sheth couldn't walk. He lived in the house of Maw-KEER, the son of Am-mee-ALE, located in Lo Deb-AR.

9:5 Sending For Mephibosheth

David sent to the house of Maw-KEER for Mef-ee-BO-sheth. This must have been terrifying for Me-ee-BO-sheth. I can only imagine that he thought "the king has finally come to kill me, to insure that the throne is never sat upon by another of Saul's lineage."

9:6-8 A Dead Dog

David tells Mef-ee-BO-sheth that he is going to show kindness to him, making sure he is cared for, giving him all of Saul's land, and dining at the king's table regularly. Mef-ee-BO-sheth's response is understandable:

2Sam. 9:8 ..."What is your servant, that you should regard a dead dog like me?"

The expression "dead dog" is used three times in the Bible. When David was being pursued by Mef-ee-BO-sheth's grandfather King Saul, he said,

1Sam. 24:14 "After whom has the king of Israel come out? Whom are you pursuing? A dead dog, a single flea?

It is used here in chapter nine, and once again in chapter 16, when Shimei was throwing rocks at David. Ab-ee-SHAH-ee says to David,

2Sam. 16:9 ..."Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Let me go over now, and cut off his head."

It is obviously a derogatory term, but greater than we might at first imagine. This is because in our day and age, we usually see dead dogs on the side of the highway, having been hit by a car. Depending on the scene, it can produce feelings of sorrow and pity.

But the Jewish mindset was not so. While dogs were used as protectors of home and flock, they were not loved as pets. The cities had packs of stray dogs that ran around scavenging (Psa. 59:6, 14), bringing about the saying, "anyone who dies in the city the dogs shall eat" (1Kings 14:11; 16:4; 21:24).

So dogs were repulsive, disgusting, something to be despised. Calling yourself a dead dog in those days would carry the connotation today of saying, "I'm just a roadkilled skunk - a smashed cockroach."

9:9-11 Caring For Mephibosheth

The king informs Tsee-BAW that Mef-ee-BO-sheth is now the inheritor of Saul's estate. Tsee-BAW will be serving Mef-ee-BO-sheth just as he had previously served Saul. All the produce of the fields will be for Mef-ee-BO-sheth. He will no longer be living in poverty, but as the son of a king.

He will also be eating at the king's table as one of the king's sons.

The Illustration

Now, this strikes me, because Mef-ee-BO-sheth becomes a perfect illustration of what has happened to us.

Because of a fall, Mef-ee-BO-sheth could not walk. We are in the same boat! Because of the fall in the garden, our fall into sin, we cannot walk with the Lord as Adam and Eve did.

We were just dead dogs - from the family of a fallen king (the devil) that had forsaken the Lord. We were repulsive, deserving nothing but the consuming fires to dispose of our bodies.

We were living in a place that was Lo Deb-AR, a word that means "not a pasture."

But we found grace and kindness from the true King. He restored the pastures to us as our inheritance. He made us as adopted children of the King, inviting us to eat with Him at His table!

9:12-13 Mica

As a result, Mef-ee-BO-sheth had a son, whom he named "Mee-KAW," meaning, "who is like Yahweh." Notice that he is still lame, but the fruit in his life is abundant. It reminds me that when God saves us, we are restored positionally, even if not physically. We may still have difficulty walking, but we will pass on the message to our children: who is like Yahweh?

10:1-3 Kindness Mistrusted

Although we don't know Biblically when David and Naw-KHAWSH, the king of Ammon, had the beginnings of a friendship, we assume that it was during his days in the wilderness. At some point, Naw-KHAWSH had showed kindness to David, and now, upon his death, David desired to extend that same kindness to his son, Khaw-NOON.

He sent some servants to extend his sorrow and consolation to the son grieving the loss of his father. Unfortunately, the Ammonites were suspicious of David's intentions. They convinced Naw-KHAWSH that he had sent spies in the guise of comforters.

10:4-5 Comforters Abused

Naw-KHAWSH had the beards of David's servants shaved half off. He had their upper garments cut half off as well. Understand that to the Jews, the beard was the symbol of manhood and freedom. To cut off half of their beards was the greatest of insults, and terribly humiliating. David actually told them not to return to Jerusalem until their beards grew back.

10:6-10 Two Fronts

Realizing the war with Israel was now imminent, the Ammonites hired Aramean mercenaries from Bayth Re-KHOBE and Tso-BAW, along with men from Mah-ak-AW and Eesh-TOBE.

David sent his commander Yo-AWB with the army to do battle. Upon arriving at the city, they found that there were two fronts, one at the entrance, the other in the field.

Realizing that they would be vulnerable at one side or the other, Yo-AWB decided to split the army into two, the second being commanded by his brother Ab-ee-SHAH-ee.

10:11-14 Dividing The Battle

Yo-AWB's plan for dividing the army was successful. It was successful not because of the division, but because of the support it provided. He had commanded,

2Sam. 10:11 ..."If the Arameans are too strong for me, then you shall help me, but if the sons of Ammon are too strong for you, then I will come to help you."

This principle led them to victory, and - if we apply it to our battles - will cause us to be victorious as well. Let me say this to you: if my battles are too strong, help me. If your battles are too strong, I will help you. The New Testament teaches,

Phil. 2:3-4 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself; do not look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.

1Cor. 10:24 Let no one seek his own {good,} but that of his neighbor.

Gal. 6:2 Bear one another's burdens, and thus fulfill the law of Christ.

Instead of being onlookers to each other's defeat, we should be jumping in and assisting.

10:15-19 Peace With Arameans

Had-ad-EH-zer, the guy that David had defeated in chapter eight, tried to form a second wave of attack by bringing in more of the Arameans. They came to Khay-LAWM, and Had-ad-EH-zer's commander Sho-BAWK led the assault. But once again, Israel defeated them.

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