• Tony Birkhead

Badge of Honor

Choosing Honor changes Everything!

There have been plenty of times in life where I’ve chosen not to honor…There have also, been many times I chose to honor because it was and is the right thing to do. Here’s what I’ve noticed over the years. When someone is struggling and I choose to honor instead of dishonor, it changes their way of looking at me. It holds true in the other direction as well. If I choose to dishonor instead of honor it will change something as well.


1. What’s the longest line you have ever waited in? What was it like to wait in that line?

2. Why do you think waiting can be so difficult?

We typically want things to happen quickly. We know what we want, and we want it to happen now. But much of life is spent waiting. David knew what it meant to wait. Though we might have the picture in our minds that David was anointed as king of Israel by Samuel and then was quickly named king, the process was actually much longer. David spent 20 years running and hiding from Saul. But once he became king, he extended the kindness God had showed to him to the most unlikely of people and places. That’s because the grace of God extended to us compels us to extend grace to others.

3. Read 2 Samuel 9:1. How would you describe David’s attitude in this verse?

4. What do you think Mephibosheth’s upbringing was like?

5. How do these verses show us honor and the nature of grace?


  • How specifically can you mirror grace and show honor to those closest to you, like your children or spouse?

  • What’s one way our group can pray for you in regard to someone specifically you are trying to show God’s love and grace to?


9:1–3. Established on the throne in Jerusalem after having effectively put down both internal and external opposition, David was now in a position to fulfill his commitment to “the house of Saul” (v. 1). Accordingly, at an unknown point in time but perhaps before the events of 2 Sam 21:1–10 (cf. esp. 21:7), he began a search for someone to whom he could “show kindness for Jonathan’s sake.” Ziba, a well-to-do (cf. v. 10) “servant of Saul’s household” (v. 2) who apparently managed the former king’s royal estate, was called in and questioned by the king.

The narrator’s seemingly unnecessary repetition of David’s question in v. 3 (cf. v. 1) is in fact significant in establishing the theme of this chapter. It underscores that David was not an enemy of “the house of Saul” (v. 3); in fact, he was an agent of “God’s kindness” working to benefit Israel’s former dynastic family.

9:4–10. Through his inquiry David learned that there was “still a son of Jonathan” (v. 4) apparently living with a wife and son (cf. v. 12) in a self-imposed internal exile “at the house of Makir son of Ammiel in Lo Debar.” Makir, mentioned here for the first time, was a wealthy and powerful individual living east of the Jordan at Lo Debar in the Jordan river valley of Gilead. Later he proved to be one of David’s most loyal supporters (cf. 17:27–29).

Mephibosheth, known outside of 2 Samuel as Merib-Baal (cf. 1 Chr 8:34; 9:40), was “crippled in both feet” (v. 3) as a result of an accident in early childhood (cf. 4:4). David summoned him for appearance at the royal court. Appropriately—and perhaps somewhat awkwardly—the lame young man “bowed down” before the king “to pay him honor” (v. 6).

Using a dialogic script reflective of an interchange between a social superior and an inferior (cf. 1 Sam 3:9), David called out Mephibosheth’s name; in turn, Mephibosheth referred to himself as “your servant.” After establishing the sociological parameters of this relationship by giving the proper initial exchange, David issued a magnanimous decree that changed Mephibosheth’s fortunes forever. First, David restored to the disfigured, exiled Saulide “all the land that belonged to … Saul” (v. 7). This would have meant that the family estate located about three miles north of Jerusalem in Gibeah would be returned to Mephibosheth. Second, David gave Mephibosheth a privilege that seemed to have perished the day his father Jonathan had died, the right to board at the king’s table “always.” Saul had accorded David this dispensation during his youth (cf. 1 Sam 20:5); now David returned the favor. Third, David provided Mephibosheth with a large contingent of servants and material wealth. He ordered “Ziba, Saul’s servant” (v. 9) along with his “fifteen sons and twenty servants” (v. 10), “to farm the land” that had originally belonged to Saul “and bring in the crops” for Mephibosheth so that Jonathan’s son “may be provided for.”

Mephibosheth’s response to the king’s magnanimous pronouncements was one of abject humility (cf. 2 Sam 7:18). After bowing down once again before David, he called himself “your slave” and “a dead dog” (cf. 1 Sam 24:14).

9:11–13. Ziba, whose destiny had also been changed by the king’s imperial edict, had no choice but to accept the new assignment—and this he did. However, when the opportunity presented itself, Ziba apparently tried to manipulate David to issue a different, more favorable edict (cf. 16:2–4).

Mephibosheth—and presumably his entire family, including “a young son named Mica” (v. 12)—was permanently relocated back in Benjamite territory “in Jerusalem” (v. 13). There Mephibosheth “always ate at the king’s table” even though “he was crippled in both feet.” David’s acceptance of a lame man in his house confirms that the royal pronouncement banning “the lame” in the royal residence was intended as a figurative reference to an ethnic group, not mobility-impaired individuals.

#Honor #Character #David #respect #grace #choosing

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