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Hesed Given & Received”

2 Samuel 9

September 27, 2020

Faith Presbyterian Church – Evening Service

Pastor Nicoletti


We return again this evening to the Book of Samuel.


In Second Samuel chapter five, David is established as the king of all Israel. In chapter six he brings the ark of God to Jerusalem. In chapter seven we have the account of God’s covenant with David. And in chapter eight we get a summary of David’s faithful work as God’s conquering king, defeating the enemies of God’s people to the north, south, east, and west.


We have been on these big, grand events for the past few chapters, and now, here in chapter nine, we zoom in on something much smaller … on a scene that one commentator has called “one of the most moving and beautiful stories in the Old Testament.” [Leithart, 229]


And so let us be attentive this evening as we come to Second Samuel, chapter nine.


Please listen carefully, for this is God’s word for us this evening:


9:1 And David said, “Is there still anyone left of the house of Saul, that I may show him kindness for Jonathan’s sake?” Now there was a servant of the house of Saul whose name was Ziba, and they called him to David. And the king said to him, “Are you Ziba?” And he said, “I am your servant.” And the king said, “Is there not still someone of the house of Saul, that I may show the kindness of God to him?” Ziba said to the king, “There is still a son of Jonathan; he is crippled in his feet.” The king said to him, “Where is he?” And Ziba said to the king, “He is in the house of Machir the son of Ammiel, at Lo-debar.” Then King David sent and brought him from the house of Machir the son of Ammiel, at Lo-debar. And Mephibosheth the son of Jonathan, son of Saul, came to David and fell on his face and paid homage. And David said, “Mephibosheth!” And he answered, “Behold, I am your servant.” And David said to him, “Do not fear, for I will show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan, and I will restore to you all the land of Saul your father, and you shall eat at my table always.” And he paid homage and said, “What is your servant, that you should show regard for a dead dog such as I?”

Then the king called Ziba, Saul’s servant, and said to him, “All that belonged to Saul and to all his house I have given to your master’s grandson. 10 And you and your sons and your servants shall till the land for him and shall bring in the produce, that your master’s grandson may have bread to eat. But Mephibosheth your master’s grandson shall always eat at my table.” Now Ziba had fifteen sons and twenty servants. 11 Then Ziba said to the king, “According to all that my lord the king commands his servant, so will your servant do.” So Mephibosheth ate at David’s table, like one of the king’s sons. 12 And Mephibosheth had a young son, whose name was Mica. And all who lived in Ziba’s house became Mephibosheth’s servants. 13 So Mephibosheth lived in Jerusalem, for he ate always at the king’s table. Now he was lame in both his feet.


This is the Word of the Lord. (Thanks be to God.)


Let’s pray …


Lord, we do believe that your word

is firmly fixed forever, with you, in the heavens.

Your faithfulness endures to all generations,

you have made this world and it stands as you will it to.

Lord, as your people, help us to never forget your precepts,

Because by them you have given us life.

Lord, we are yours, save us,

for we have sought your ways.

Grant us life now through this your word.

In Jesus’s name. Amen

[Based on Psalm 119:89, 90, 93, 94]





On several occasions the Apostle Paul describes all of human history as the story of two houses – two families and two heads: There is the First Adam and the Last Adam – Adam, our First Parent, and Jesus Christ our Redeemer.


And so, in Romans chapter five Paul writes: “sin came into the world through one man [that is, Adam], and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned— […] Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. For as by the one man’s disobedience [that is, Adam’s disobedience] the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience [that is, by Christ’s obedience] the many will be made righteous.” [Romans 5:12, 18-19]


In First Corinthians 15 he adds: “For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.” [1 Corinthians 15:21-22]


In Genesis one and two Adam and Eve are described as royal representatives of God on earth. But they fall from their royal role through disobedience. In the gospels Jesus Christ comes as a new King – a New Adam who will be faithful where the First Adam was not.


The Apostle Paul tells us then that all of humanity is naturally descended from the First Adam, and that every human being’s eternal destiny – whether their story ends in death or in life – is completely dependent on which Adam they are “in” – which royal household they are a part of – by the end of the story: the fallen first king, or the faithful final king?


This is the big story of the Bible. It stretches out across the entire Bible from beginning to end. But it is also a story that the Bible plays out in miniature over and over again throughout the pages of Scripture. A first who falls, and a second who is faithful. It is seen in Cain and Abel. It is seen in Ishmael and Isaac. It is seen in Esau and Jacob.


And it is also seen in the Book of Samuel and in the story of Saul and David – Israel’s first king and second king.


Of course David will many times fall short of his calling as a new king – as a new Adam. We will get to that over the next few weeks. He will show us conclusively that while he may at times image the Last Adam, he is not himself the Last Adam. Nonetheless, with Saul and David an opposition is set up between their houses. And in that opposition, we get a miniature picture of the house of the First Adam and the house of the Last Adam.


That dynamic has played out over the last thirty-three chapters of Samuel. We’ve seen Saul’s rise to power. We’ve seen his unfaithfulness to the Lord’s command, his unwillingness to listen to the Lord’s instruction, and his grasping at what has not been given to him. We have watched his house collapse in ruin because of his sin and spiritual rebellion.


And we have seen the rise of David’s house. We have watched his patient and humble faithfulness again and again. We have seen him refuse to grasp, we have seen him trust the Lord and humbly serve. We have seen him act in lowliness and then seen God elevate him to a position above all of Israel.


That has been much of the arch of the Book of Samuel so far. And now we come to Second Samuel chapter nine. And a question arises: What is to become of Saul’s remaining heir? What will David do to the remaining heirs of Saul? What hope is there for an heir of Saul?


To answer those questions, we’re going to consider three things tonight. We’ll consider:

  • Mephibosheth’s status at this point
  • what Mephibosheth’s expects from David, and
  • David’s actions towards Mephibosheth


Those are the three things we’ll look at.





So first, we consider Mephibosheth’s status at this point.


The chapter begins with David proactively seeking to show kindness to Saul’s descendants, and inquiring as to whether any are still alive. Ziba is summoned. Ziba was a servant from Saul’s household.


And Ziba tells David of Mephibosheth.


Mephibosheth was first introduced to us back in Second Samuel 4:4. There we read: “Jonathan, the son of Saul, had a son who was crippled in his feet. He was five years old when the news about Saul and Jonathan” – that is, the news of Saul and Jonathan’s deaths in battle – “came from Jezreel, and his nurse took him up and fled, and as she fled in her haste, he fell and became lame. And his name was Mephibosheth.”


Now, Mephibosheth is the only one heir here, which is odd, because we will learn of other descendants of Saul in Second Samuel chapter twenty-one. Why are they not mentioned here? And, for that matter, why were they not identified in chapter four as possible successors to Ish-bosheth, as Mephibosheth was? A likely explanation was that Mephibosheth was the only valid heir to the throne in Saul’s house. Other descendants were from concubines, from wives that would not yield a royal successor, or from daughters who had left Saul’s house to be united to a different household. When it came to successors, Mephibosheth was apparently it. [Roberts; Firth, 505]


And what condition and status do we find Mephibosheth in?


His condition is that he has lost everything because of the unfaithfulness of the royal head of his household.


Saul, as we are told in this chapter, had great lands, but Mephibosheth has lost that inheritance because of Saul’s sin.


Saul had a place in the Promised Land of God, but we see that Mephibosheth has lost that too. The exact location of the town named is not known, but commentators seem to agree that Mephibosheth has gone to a northern town in the Transjordan – east of the Jordan River, a part of Israel but beyond the Promised Land itself. [Alter, 241; Firth, 403-404]


And with that, Mephibosheth has been cast out into a place of no consequence. “Lo-debar,” the name of the town identified in verse four, means “Nothing” or “No-Word.” As one commentator puts it: “This grandson of Israel’s first king had lost everything and was living in no man’s land.” [Leithart, 230]


On top of that, Mephibosheth is literally marked by the wounds of his grandfather’s fall from the throne. Mephibosheth was wounded on the day of his father’s and his grandfather’s deaths – deaths that came about due to Saul’s sin. And Mephibosheth remains crippled and marked for the rest of his life by the wounds he received as a result of Saul’s sin and death. [Roberts]


Finally, the exact meaning of Mephibosheth’s name is uncertain. It could mean “one who scatters shame” or “from the mouth of shame.” But regardless of the exact meaning, his name includes the word “shame.” [Leithart, 229-230] Ish-bosheth’s name did as well, and so the label of shame on the descendants of Saul is not unique for Mephibosheth.


Because of the sin of his royal ancestor, Mephibosheth has lost his inheritance, he is exiled from the Promised Land, he resides in a land of “Nothing”, marked in his very being from the sin and death of his royal forefather, and is characterized and labeled by shame.


That is Mephibosheth’s status.


And it is not very hard to see that Mephibosheth is a detailed picture of our condition in the First Adam.


For we too have lost a royal inheritance. Our First Parents were made by God to bear his image perfectly, and they were called to rule over all of creation. God placed them in a garden, and he called on them to be fruitful and multiply, to fill the earth and subdue it, to exercise dominion, and to care for and enjoy the world he had made.


But when our First Parents rebelled, they also fell from their place in creation. God said that instead of the dominion he had originally given them, now the very ground would resist their rule, and the world would be marked by death and disorder.


We too have been exiled for the unfaithfulness of our First Parents. For after their sin, our parents were sent from the Garden of Eden. They too had to flee from God’s place. And while every human heart longs to return to the Garden, we are not there. We live outside of God’s place. We are by nature exiles, longing for a home we barely remember, but living in a no-man’s land instead.


And like Mephibosheth, we too are marked – scarred and disfigured – by the fall and exile of our First Parents. Some of that can be physical, as it was with Mephibosheth, as we carry about the results of the brokenness of creation in our own bodies. But the far deeper disfiguring is spiritual. For in Adam’s fall our hearts were disfigured, twisted away from God. Whatever physical limp we may have, it is nothing compared to the spiritual crippling we bear from the Fallen King who is our forefather. Our hearts are twisted and turned away from God. Our hearts are twisted and turned away from one another. Every moment of our lives is marked by the fall of our First King.


And finally, we too bear great shame.


We all try to hide it, to cover it over, to deny it in one way or another. Some of us try to build up our accomplishments or our good works, hoping they will silence the voice of shame in our hearts. Others try to paper it over with social standing or physical beauty or a publicly respectable demeanor. Still others of us just frantically try to find ways to compare ourselves to others – telling ourselves and those who will listen that “at least we are better than that person or that group.” And still others of us seek pleasure to drown out the voices of our shame.


But we all know the shame is there. We carry it in our hearts just as surely as Mephibosheth carried it in his name.


Mephibosheth gives each of us a picture of who we are in our natural state – who we are stripped of the masks we wear and the acts we put on for everyone around us. By nature, we are sons and daughters of the fallen and unfaithful king. And we bear his image.


The question for Mephibosheth, and the question for us, is: what will be done with the descendants of the fallen king when a new and faithful king rises to power?





And that is the question that must be consuming Mephibosheth when he is summoned before David in verse five.


Now, as we consider that question, we need to remember the context – we need to remember everything that came before this chapter.


The conflict between David’s house and Saul’s house has dominated most of the last twenty-one chapters of Samuel. That was, of course, true for most of First Samuel, when Saul again and again tried to kill David without cause. But the conflict between Saul’s and David’s houses continued even after Saul died. In Second Samuel chapter one the focus is on Saul’s death and how David will respond. In chapters two and three David is in conflict with Saul’s son Ish-bosheth. In chapter four David needs to navigate how he will respond to the murder of Ish-bosheth, which he had no hand in himself. In chapter five David is finally installed as Saul’s successor. But then in chapter six the events surrounding the ark are at least partially overshadowed by David’s conflict with Saul’s daughter Michal. In chapter seven, even as God makes a special covenant with David, David is described with reference to Saul. Again and again Saul has hung over the chapters even after his death. And countless times Saul and Saul’s house have been a real threat to David. [Roberts]


And we should not overlook the fact that Mephibosheth still represented a threat to David. [Leithart, 229] Mephibosheth is a “fragile remnant” of Saul’s house [Roberts], but he could present real problems for David. Mephibosheth himself could try to claim the throne again. Or he could be used as a figurehead by someone else who was hungry for power, similar to how Abner used Ish-bosheth.


David has been sinned against countless times by Saul and Saul’s house. And bringing that house to an end would make David’s life a lot easier, and his reign a lot more secure.


And Mephibosheth knows it. We see that in verse six. Mephibosheth does not just appear before David, but he falls down on his face before him. And the way the author highlights it, and the fact that David’s response in verse seven is to urge him not to be afraid, all seems to emphasize Mephibosheth’s great concern in appearing before David. One commentator writes that the response is so strong as to indicate that “Mephibosheth is clearly terrified that the king may have summoned him in order to have him put to death.” [Alter, 241]


This is Mephibosheth’s completely understandable expectation as he comes before David.


And it is our right expectation before our New King as well.


We are by nature members of a house that has rebelled against God.


And our rebellion is not just an event in the past, long before we were born – no – our rebellion is a reality that we still live out every day.


Every day we find our hearts, and our minds, and our actions in rebellion against God. Every day, in ways large and small, we follow the pattern of our forefather Adam. We disregard God’s word, we grasp at things God has not given us, and we serve the creature rather than the Creator.


You could make the case that Mephibosheth should not be held responsible for Saul’s unfaithfulness – but in our case, we have joined in the rebellion ourselves.


And we too should expect nothing but hostility from the Faithful King who now sits on the throne.


Such are the expectations of Mephibosheth. And such are our expectations as well.


And then we come to see what David’s actions actually are.





Listen again to verses seven through thirteen:

David said to [Mephibosheth], “Do not fear, for I will show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan, and I will restore to you all the land of Saul your father, and you shall eat at my table always.” And he paid homage and said, “What is your servant, that you should show regard for a dead dog such as I?”

Then the king called Ziba, Saul’s servant, and said to him, “All that belonged to Saul and to all his house I have given to your master’s grandson. 10 And you and your sons and your servants shall till the land for him and shall bring in the produce, that your master’s grandson may have bread to eat. But Mephibosheth your master’s grandson shall always eat at my table.” Now Ziba had fifteen sons and twenty servants. 11 Then Ziba said to the king, “According to all that my lord the king commands his servant, so will your servant do.” So Mephibosheth ate at David’s table, like one of the king’s sons. 12 And Mephibosheth had a young son, whose name was Mica. And all who lived in Ziba’s house became Mephibosheth’s servants. 13 So Mephibosheth lived in Jerusalem, for he ate always at the king’s table. Now he was lame in both his feet.


Central to David’s response, and central to this whole chapter is a word spoken in David’s first sentence to Mephibosheth: “kindness.”


David says: “Do not fear, for I will show you kindness.


And that’s actually the third time the word comes up in this chapter.


The chapter began in verse one with David asking if there was anyone left from the house of Saul, so that, he said, “I may show him kindness for Jonathan’s sake.”


And then it came up again in verse three, where David told Ziba that he was seeking a descendant of Saul, so that, he said, “I may show the kindness of God to him.”


In all three instances, the Hebrew word there that is translated as “kindness” is hesed.


We’re going to be talking about hesed over a few sermons. Hesed is a key word in this chapter. [Firth, 405] Hesed will be the central theme of our next sermon on Ruth chapter three, next Lord’s Day. And hesed is also central to Second Samuel chapter ten.


What is hesed?


Well, as we saw last Lord’s Day in the book of Ruth, it is a difficult word to define, but it is certainly stronger than the English word “kindness.” It refers not just to nice and kind deeds, but to “covenant love” [Ferguson, 55] – to “covenant loyalty” and “covenant devotion.” [Lusk, 44] It is, as one commentator puts it, a “lovingkindness” that “means faithfulness to covenant obligations that is expressed in acts of generosity and kindness.” [Leithart, 230; Cf. Alter 240]


There are many attempts to give a brief summary of this word, but if we go much further on that, we are in danger of missing the point. David’s actions themselves in this chapter are meant to be a picture of hesed love. So, rather than trying to wedge a definition into this chapter, let’s allow David’s actions to hold out for us a display not only of what hesed looks like in general, but as David himself puts it in verse three: a picture of what the “hesed of God” looks like.


One of the first things we see is that hesed is rooted in covenant. In verse one David says that the hesed he will show is “for Jonathan’s sake.” In this, David is referring to his covenant with Jonathan in First Samuel chapters eighteen and  twenty. [Roberts]


We are first told of a covenant between David and Jonathan (Saul’s son) in First Samuel chapter eighteen. There Jonathan acknowledged that David, rather than he (rather than Jonathan) would succeed Saul to the throne.


Then, in First Samuel chapter twenty, after reaffirming his loyalty to David and committing himself to protect David from Saul, Jonathan says to David: “May the Lord [ – May Yahweh – ] be with you, as he has been with my father. If I am still alive, show me the steadfast love of Yahweh, that I may not die; and do not cut off your steadfast love from my house forever, when Yahweh cuts off every one of the enemies of David from the face of the earth.”


Then we read the following: “And Jonathan made a covenant with the house of David, saying, ‘May Yahweh take vengeance on David’s enemies.’ And Jonathan made David swear again by his love for him, for he loved him as he loved his own soul.” [1 Samuel 20:13b-17]


David’s actions are not rooted in mere sentiment. They are also not rooted in anything that David finds in or hears about Mephibosheth. David is not simply being nice in general, on the one hand, and Mephibosheth has not performed some deed that earns a great reward from David, on the other.


Hesed love is rooted in covenant. David’s actions here towards Mephibosheth are rooted in his covenant with Jonathan.


Hesed is rooted in covenant. That’s the first thing we see.


The second thing we see is that hesed seeks the other out and draws them close.


David could have merely ignored Mephibosheth. He could have left him at a safe distance. No one would have really thought less of him. But he doesn’t do that. He instead actively seeks Mephibosheth out, and calls him close to himself. He doesn’t just send a messenger to talk to him, but he brings Mephibosheth into his presence to speak to him himself.


So first, hesed is rooted in covenant. Second, hesed love seeks the other out and draws them close.


Third, David shows us that hesed love restores. David, in verse seven, restores to Mephibosheth all that was given to Saul but that had been lost in Saul’s downfall. David, one might argue, as the new king, had every right to claim the lands of the old king for himself. Though the old and unfaithful king lost so much through his unfaithfulness, when David comes into power, he does not merely take that for himself, but he restores to Saul’s descendants what had been lost.


Hesed is rooted in covenant, it seeks and draws close, and as it does it restores.


Fourth, David shows that hesed love elevates. David elevates Mephibosheth to a new status. He had been an exile of no status, but Mephibosheth now gives him a new status, placing him over Ziba.


In verse ten we are told that Ziba is placed under Mephibosheth. We are also told that Ziba himself had fifteen sons and twenty servants. This would seem to indicate that Ziba was no lowly servant himself, but was rather a prominent steward. That Ziba and his household are ordered to now serve Mephibosheth shows just how highly David has elevated Mephibosheth. [Roberts] The size of Ziba’s household and the number of his servants is also evidence that it was a big estate that was given to Mephibosheth. [Firth, 404]


Hesed love is covenantal, it seeks and draws close, it restores, and it elevates.


Fifth, David shows that hesed love embraces the other, and grafts them in.


The fact that Mephibosheth will eat at David’s table is repeated four times in this chapter – in verses 7, 10, 11, and 13. The author wants to draw our attention to the fact that “David is indeed treating Jonathan’s crippled son like one of his own sons.” [Alter, 243] David is incorporating the remnant of Saul’s house into his own house. [Leithart, 229]


David is not restoring Mephibosheth and then sending him off. He is instead drawing close to him, and making him a part of his own family. Mephibosheth is no longer just a descendant of Saul, the fallen king. He is now also a member of the household of David, the faithful king. He is grafted into the new royal household.


Sixth, David shows us that hesed is concerned to secure a future for the other. We see that in verse twelve. Mephibosheth has a son. It’s unclear whether Mephibosheth had this son in Lo-debar and David’s hesed love secured a place for the son in Jerusalem, or if David’s hesed love brought about the circumstances in which Mephibosheth was able to get married and then have a son. But in either case, David has blessed not just Mephibosheth, but his line after him. In doing that David has secured a legacy for Mephibosheth, and David has shown that his interest is not just in blessing one generation from Jonathan, but many to come. [Leithart, 231]


Now, at this point it’s worth pointing out that some take a more cynical view of David’s actions here. They note that David had reason to be concerned about Mephibosheth, and if David wasn’t going to kill him, he might want to keep him close to keep an eye on him. On one level that may be true, but some press this perspective to the point of seeing David’s actions here as a form of “house arrest” for Mephibosheth.


But the abundance with which David blesses Mephibosheth would seem to counter any cynical interpretation like that. If that really were David’s chief concern, then he merely could have moved Mephibosheth to Jerusalem to keep him close by and under supervision. But by restoring all of Saul’s land, by elevating Mephibosheth to a prominent position, and by  making Mephibosheth a part of his royal family table, David goes far beyond what would be needed to monitor and control Mephibosheth. And by creating an environment where Mephibosheth can have and can care for a son, David is actually acting counter to his political interests, by ensuring that potential heirs of Saul will continue for generations to come.


In all these ways David does not show self-interest in his care for Mephibosheth, he shows hesed love.


And with that, I’ll add one more possible element of hesed love that David displays here. We have mentioned six elements that are clearly in the text. This last one is less certain, but worth pondering.


Commentator David Firth points out that the close connection David makes to Ziba in verse ten, between the produce of the land given to Mephibosheth and the fact that Mephibosheth will be eating at David’s table, may indicate that Mephibosheth, in response to all the grace and blessings given to him, was expected to contribute something from his restored land to the king’s table going forward.


Which reminds us that hesed love also calls for response. Mephibosheth was called to receive all this. That’s true. But he was also called to use what he’d been given to bless the king who had shown him such grace. If Firth is right, then David doesn’t merely expect Mephibosheth to be passive, but he calls him to actively respond in hesed love towards David in return, contributing to David’s kingdom as he is able.


In all these ways, David gives us a picture of what the hesed of God looks like: the hesed of God is rooted in covenant, it seeks and draws others close, it restores them, it elevates them, it embraces and engrafts them, it secures a future for them, and it calls for a response from them.


And as we saw ourselves in Mephibosheth, so we see in David all that Christ our king offers to us in the gospel – in his hesed love for those who have fallen in Adam.


First of all, he comes to us on the basis of a covenant.


God’s grace to us in Christ comes to us not on the basis of our own merits or achievements and not on the basis of God’s generalized benevolence. God has made a covenant, and it is on the basis of his promises in Christ Jesus that he extends his grace to us.


Second, Christ proactively seeks us out and draws us close. While we were still far off, Christ sought us out by his Spirit. He drew us to himself when we were not looking for him – when, if anything, we were seeking to avoid him and hide from him across the Jordan, in no-man’s land.


Third, having drawn us to himself, Christ restores to us all that was lost by Adam. He gives us back our relationship with God. He gives us back a right relationship to the world he made and gave to Adam and Eve. And he promises to restore the fullness of Paradise to us on his return.


Fourth, Christ elevates our status. Though we were people of no consequence in and of ourselves, he makes us, in the words of the Apostle Peter, into a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession. [1 Peter 2:9]


Fifth, he makes us a part of his family. He baptizes us into the membership in his family, the Church. He invites us to his family table each Lord’s Day. And he promises us a place at his royal table, for eternity, in the kingdom that is to come.


As one commentator puts it: “Though we are members of the house of Adam, a fallen king, [Christ] feeds us at His table as king’s sons. Though we are enemies, He shows to us the hesed of God.” [Leithart, 229]


Sixth, Christ secures for us a future and a heritage. In allowing us to play a role here in his kingdom he gives us the opportunity to have a spiritual heritage in this life. But even more important than that, whatever may come in this life, he promises us a permeant future place in his kingdom for all of eternity, in the life that is to come.


Seventh, and finally, he calls us to respond. He calls us to respond to the hesed love he has shown to us, with our own hesed love towards him. He calls us to covenant loyalty. He calls us to live our lives in service and obedience to him. He calls us to have no other king in our lives higher than him, but to serve him above all else.


And he also calls us, as he provides the means and the opportunity, to contribute to his kingdom. He calls us to do this as we serve him directly, but he also calls us to do this as we serve those around us. We are use what he has given us to extend his hesed love to others – we are to extend God’s hesed to others just as we have seen David extend God’s hesed to Mephibosheth.


At the heart of this chapter is a believer showing sacrificial covenant love and covenant loyalty to someone who not only did not deserve it, but who may have been a real threat to the believer. He was showing this great love to a potential enemy and adversary. [Firth, 406]


God calls us to do the same. He calls us not to treat those who threaten as the pagans do – seeking to cut them off or destroy them. But he calls us to love even our enemies as ourselves. David seeks to show the hesed love of God to the grandson of a man who had tried to destroy him for years. Whom might the Lord be calling you to show his hesed love to?







In chapter six we read the story of David entering Jerusalem “whirling and dancing before the LORD” with joy, excitement, and vigor. Tonight we read the story of Mephibosheth entering Jerusalem, limping all the way, crippled in both his legs. [Alter, 243]


Both men enter the City of God … but it looks very different in each case.


We think a lot about David’s dramatic and energetic entrance. We want that for ourselves. That is what we hope for. And it is good and right that we long for that.


But Second Samuel 9 is a reminder that both David and Mephibosheth came into Jerusalem, and both received the hesed of God.


Whatever condition you are in, whatever condition your life is in, God calls you to himself.


He calls you on the basis of his covenant. He draws you to himself by his grace. He seeks to restore to you what has been lost, to elevate you to an honorable place, to make you a son or daughter at his table, and to secure for you a future and a heritage. You may dance and leap your way into Jerusalem, or you may limp and stumble your way in. But in either case God extends his hesed love to you.


Your calling is to respond by receiving his hesed with thanksgiving, and to contribute yourself to his kingdom by showing your own hesed love to him and to one another.













This sermon draws on material from:

Alter, Robert. The David Story: A Translation with Commentary of 1 and 2 Samuel. New York, NY: W. W. Norton & Company, 1999.

Ferguson, Sinclair B. Faithful God: An Exposition of the Book of Ruth. Bridgend, Wales: Bryntirion Press, 2005 (2013 Edition).

Firth, David G. 1 & 2 Samuel. Apollos Old Testament Commentary. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2009.

Leithart, Peter J. A Son to Me: An Exposition of 1 & 2 Samuel. Moscow, ID: Canon Press, 2003.

Lusk, Rich & Uri Brito. Ruth Through New Eyes: Under the Wings. West Monroe, LA: Athanasius Press, 2018.

Roberts, Alastair. “Biblical Reading and Reflections: August 21st (2 Samuel 9 & Philippians 2:12-30)” Alastair’s Adversaria Podcast. August 21, 2020.