David asked, “Is there anyone still left of the house of Saul to whom I can show kindness for Jonathan’s sake?”
2 Now there was a servant of Saul’s household named Ziba. They summoned him to appear before David, and the king said to him, “Are you Ziba?”
“At your service,” he replied.
3 The king asked, “Is there no one still alive from the house of Saul to whom I can show God’s kindness?”
Ziba answered the king, “There is still a son of Jonathan; he is lame in both feet.”
4 “Where is he?” the king asked.
Ziba answered, “He is at the house of Makir son of Ammiel in Lo Debar.”
5 So King David had him brought from Lo Debar, from the house of Makir son of Ammiel.
6 When Mephibosheth son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, came to David, he bowed down to pay him honor.
David said, “Mephibosheth!”
“At your service,” he replied.
7 “Don’t be afraid,” David said to him, “for 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.”
8 Mephibosheth bowed down and said, “What is your servant, that you should notice a dead dog like me?”
9 Then the king summoned Ziba, Saul’s steward, and said to him, “I have given your master’s grandson everything that belonged to Saul and his family. 10 You and your sons and your servants are to farm the land for him and bring in the crops, so that your master’s grandson may be provided for. And Mephibosheth, grandson of your master, will always eat at my table.” (Now Ziba had fifteen sons and twenty servants.)
11 Then Ziba said to the king, “Your servant will do whatever my lord the king commands his servant to do.” So Mephibosheth ate at David’s[a] table like one of the king’s sons.
12 Mephibosheth had a young son named Mika, and all the members of Ziba’s household were servants of Mephibosheth. 13 And Mephibosheth lived in Jerusalem, because he always ate at the king’s table; he was lame in both feet.
Today we start our journey to explore old and new testament examples of persons with disabilities. Mephibosheth was the son of Jonathan and the grandson of Saul. When he was a young boy his nurse maid fell with him in her arms. This fall caused a permanent impairment to his legs. It is uncertain whether it was caused by a blow to the head or a direct damage to his spine or legs. Regardless he was paralyzed from the waist down.
When David became King, he inquired about the welfare of his best friend’s “Jonathan” children. Mephebosheth was brought to him. King David did not show any type of pity or negativity towards his disability. He treated him as he would have treated anyone else from Jonathan’s home. David gave him a place at his table with other powerful warriors. He gave him back Saul’s land and even provided servants to farm this land. David did not recoil due to the disability, but instead extended all the privileges he deserved as an heir to Saul and Jonathan.
Let’s be real here…most people when they come face to face with a person with a disability…the disability always seems to take center stage. The person may not intend to show this interest, but it seems we are defined and identified through our disability..that blind girl, or the boy with the limp or that slow man next door. One statistic says that 67% of Americans express discomfort if they have to interact with a person with disabilities. this is a tragic statistic that we need to keep praying about. Clearly, David a mighty King and warrior was not uncomfortable with a physical limitation. Let’s take this example and try to teach others how to respond. We can also take hope and comfort in knowing that we are equals at God’s table. Both the abled and disabled bodies will be honored and accepted.
It is my prayer that you keep this story of Mephebosheth close to your heart. Share it with others so they may learn of the positive acceptance of disabilities. Also, take courage in knowing that no matter what our affliction; God wants us to sit at the banquet table and he even gives us a seat of honor.