A Dead Dog

Have you ever been given something that you didn’t expect?

2 Samuel 9 

David asked, ‘Is there anyone still left of the house of Saul to whom I can show kindness for Jonathan’s sake?’

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.

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.’

‘Where is he?’ the king asked.

Ziba answered, ‘He is at the house of Makir son of Ammiel in Lo Debar.’

So King David had him brought from Lo Debar, from the house of Makir son of Ammiel.

When Mephibosheth son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, came to David, he bowed down to pay him honour.

David said, ‘Mephibosheth!’

‘At your service,’ he replied.

‘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.’

Mephibosheth bowed down and said, ‘What is your servant, that you should notice a dead dog like me?’

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 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.

Cross,Jesus,God,Holy Spirit,Daily Devotion,Kindness

We start this chapter seeing David remember his covenant that he had made with Jonathan (1 Samuel 20:12-17) and with Saul (1 Samuel 24:21-22). David wants to show kindness to the house of Saul and so searches for an heir of the house of Saul. We see that a grandson who is lame – Mephibosheth – is left. They search for Mephibosheth and bring him to David. It seems like Mephibosheth is afraid of David, possibly he thought that David was going to kill him because of he was a descendant of Saul and a threat to his Kingship.

However, this is not the case. David is faithful to his promises and shows complete kindness, overwhelming blessing and generosity to Mephibosheth. I find the way Mephibosheth responds quite resounding – “what is your servant, that you should notice a dead dog like me?”. He is referring to himself as a dead dog. Worthless, crippled, insignificant, broken, perhaps an enemy of the King. Not a nice thought to think about. Despite this he was honoured to always have a place at the Kings table, treated like one of King David’s own sons and given land for his family.

I can’t help but think about the concept of being a “dead dog” and how that echoes what our posture is towards our King, King Jesus. We are worthless, undeserving, enemies of our King, dead in our sin, broken people. At the same time our King invites us to join his table through his death and resurrection. He shows us kindness, generosity and faithfulness to the promises that he made regardless of the way we have treated him. We can be called sons and daughters of the King and be a part of his great family. How amazing is it that our God and King, invites us to be a part of his Kingdom, to always have a place at his table forever. May we remember who we are today – sons and daughters of our King only through the kindness and grace of Jesus.

Head: What other parts of this story resonates with the Gospel story of Jesus?

Heart: Think about how God sees us. How does it make you feel to be seen as a “dead dog” and then a “part of the family”?

Hands: If our identity is found as a Child of God, how does that change the way we act/speak? How can we encourage each other to live out our true identity?


Gracious Father,

Thank you for your kindness and grace towards me. It amazes me that you invite me to be a part of your family especially when I am not worthy of your presence. Help me to never forget that you have called me to be your child. Help me to live out my identity as a child of the living King for the rest of my days.

In Jesus gracious name, Amen.

A song to listen to: Who You Say I Am

Ellen Wilcox

Living Church Creek Road