David and his ‘family’ are fleeing Jerusalem. Absalom has declared himself king. He is cunning and ruthless. In the midst of trouble help arrives for David and those traveling with him.
Absalom plotted and schemed for four years to win the people’s hearts for himself. He used deceit and false promises. In other words, he was a ‘snake oil salesman’ or a modern politician. Once he accomplished his goal of ‘having the people’ name him king he had to get rid of the king God appointed; namely his father David. He also would have to get rid of any who might challenge his ‘right to the throne’; his brothers and anyone of David’s lineage.
David had seen Absalom’s treachery in action on several occasions but he did nothing about it. He failed to discipline his children. Because of what David had seen in the past he rightly feared for his family’s safety. As soon as he heard the news he gathered his family and high tailed it out of Jerusalem. And not a moment too soon. As David left the back door Absalom approached the front. Let’s pick up our story where we left off yesterday. David is at the summit of the Mt. of Olives.
David would love to stop and watch Hushai to be sure he made it safely into Jerusalem but he had to keep moving. He placed Hushai into the Lords hands. David crested Mt. Olivet and led the descent down the far side. He would have loved to stop at the place of worship too as he passed but had to settle for a quick whispered prayer.
“Lord God, watch over my people. Provide for their needs. Keep us safe in Your care. Lead us to safety.”
Almost as soon as David had voiced his prayer the Lord began answering it. As David is descending the other side of the Mt. of Olives he is met by Ziba. This is the man who reunited him with Jonathan’s son, Mephibosheth. David is glad to see him. David is also intrigued by what Ziba has with him.
Ziba holds the reins of two donkeys. They are both saddled and loaded down with bags. David can see some bread poking out of a few of the bags.
“Ziba, ‘why have you brought these here’ (verse 1b)?”
Ziba bowed his head in respect before answering David’s question. “The donkeys are for the king’s household to ride on, the bread and summer fruits for the young men to eat, and the wind for those who faint in the wilderness to drink” (verse 2b).
There is a bounty of gifts loaded onto these two donkeys. David doesn’t have time to stop and count all he is receiving but Ziba knows the total. Two hundred loaves of bread, a hundred bunches of raisins, a hundred of summer fruits and a skin of wine. These he offers to David.
David is grateful to see Ziba but wonders about Mephibosheth. He isn’t here with Ziba. Did he send him with these gifts? Rather than keep speculating David goes straight for the answer. “And where is your master’s son?” (verse 3a).
Ziba shakes his head and the color of shame creeps onto his face as he answers. “Behold, he remains in Jerusalem, for he said, ‘Today the house of Israel will give me back the kingdom of my father’” (verse 3b).
David is angry at Mephibosheth for his attitude. Since learning of his life, David has honored him in every way he could. He has even eaten at David’s table EVERY DAY for more than ten years. David had also returned everything that Saul or Jonathan owned. And David’s leaving was NOT opening an advantage for Saul’s house. Absalom was of Davit’s house and he was not likely to share the throne with anyone!
As a reward for Ziba’s kindness and a punishment David made his final proclamation as king, for now. “Behold, all that belonged to Mephibosheth is now yours” (verse 4a).
Ziba was in awe of David’s decision. “I pay homage; let me ever find favor in your sight, my lord the king” (verse 4b). Ziba passes the reins over to David and steps back a few paces. He bows once again to show his respect.
David takes the reins of the donkeys and continues his descent. He has no idea what lies ahead but whatever it is he will face it with his God. He is grateful for the answer to prayer that God has already provided.
Father God, You listen to ALL my prayers. Even the ones that are uttered on the fly. Thank You for caring for my needs even before I ask. Ziba had to be about putting this gift together for David for a while. He was a true friend to the king.
I don’t understand Mephibosheth’s attitude. All David have done for him when he could have killed him instead. He lost everything a second time because of greed. I honestly wonder what even gave him the idea that he would replace David. Delusions of grandeur. Help me NEVER fall into this trap!