Useful Bible Studies > 2 Samuel Commentary > chapter 9
David and Saul, the king before him, came from different families. In such situations, the new king often acted with great cruelty towards the family of the previous king.
However, David was not a cruel man (Psalm 15; Psalm 35:12-14). He had shown kindness even to Saul (1 Samuel 24:9-19). David wanted to show kindness in every possible situation (for example, 2 Samuel 10:1-2).
So of course David strongly desired to show kindness to the family of Jonathan, Saul's son. Jonathan had been a true friend to David, and David had promised to act kindly towards his family (1 Samuel 20:14-17).
When David had established his rule, he had the opportunity to carry out that promise. However, he did not know whether any member of Jonathan's family was still alive. Both Saul and Jonathan died in a battle where Israel's army suffered a terrible defeat (1 Samuel chapter 31). The servants in Jonathan's house ran away as soon as they heard the news (4:4). Jonathan had a young son, but David had heard nothing about the boy for several years.
However, David was able to find one of Saul's servants called Ziba. Ziba seems to have been a manager of Saul's property, with important responsibilities. He was a wealthy man, with his own servants (9:10) - so he could not easily run away. Instead, he had decided to support David's rule, which he continued to do during later troubles (16:1-4). As we will see later, Ziba was a clever politician who used schemes to gain advantages for himself. He was not always a sincere or honest man (19:24-27).
Next part: Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan (2 Samuel 9:3-4)
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© 2022, Keith Simons.