Leader guide cover art

David and Mephibosheth

| |
Marvel (4-5)Year 2Unit 1 (Marvel at God’s Faithfulness)Session 4

David and Mephibosheth

Because David had faith in God, David could show kindness to Mephibosheth.
Faith Nurture Goals
  • Wonder at David's kindness to Saul's grandson.
  • Be kind to others because of God's goodness to us.
  • Give examples of kindness we've received and express our thanks for such kindness.
  • Find ways to show kindness to others.
Memory Challenge

Leader Reflection

Preparing to Tell God's Story

In the time of David, one of the very first acts of a new king---especially one who represented a new dynasty---was to wipe out the entire family of the preceding king. Any surviving child of the former king could become a rallying point for those who didn't like the new king. Talk about rough politics!

In today's story David is firmly established in Jerusalem as the new king, replacing Saul and his heir (and David's friend), Jonathan. People might have expected David to ask the names of any living relatives of Jonathan and Saul in order to have them killed. Instead David asks if anyone is left "to whom I can show kindness for Jonathan's sake."

It turns out that there is one son of Jonathan left alive---Mephibosheth. We are told that he is lame in both feet. Evidently when Mephibosheth's family heard about the deaths of Saul and Jonathan, they fled. In their haste a nurse dropped the boy, breaking bones that never properly healed. Mephibosheth was the only descendant Jonathan had left.

Mephibosheth must have been very frightened when they brought him to David. What could he expect from the new king but death? Trembling, shuffling on his crippled legs, he stood before David. "Mephibosheth," David said. "At your service," replied the young man.

The very first thing David told his fearful visitor was not to be afraid, "for I will surely show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan" (v. 7). He promised to give back all of Saul and Jonathan's family land to Mephibosheth and invited him to eat at David's own table any time he was in town.

Mephibosheth replied, "What is your servant, that you should notice a dead dog like me?" Was this simply humility before the king, or was something of Mephibosheth's own self-image creeping through? In that time, "crippled" people were just that, and society in general did not treat them kindly. David himself had sworn, "the 'blind and lame' shall not enter my palace" (2 Sam. 5:8). Perhaps Mephibosheth thought of himself as something less than a whole person.

At any rate, David made sure that Mephiboseth and his family members were well provided for, and Mephibosheth lived in Jerusalem and ate at the king's palace. The chapter ends by reiterating, "he was lame in both feet."

For Christians it's important to note that Jesus Christ is called the "Son of David." He is Israel's true and eternal King. Jesus also showed special concern for those who couldn't use their limbs, healing them, especially in the temple (Matt. 21:14), God's "palace," where they were not allowed because of that obscure saying about David. People who cannot walk are welcome in God's house, and King Jesus heals them.

  • What might David have thought when he heard that Mephibosheth was lame?

  • Why is that so emphasized in this story?

  • What does it mean that Jesus is the “Son of David?”

  • This is obviously a good time to talk to the group about attitudes toward people with various handicaps. You might explore how a person like Mephibosheth might think of himself as a “dead dog.”


Step 1 Gathering for God's Story

  • self smart
  • word smart
  • ​​people smart

Before the children arrive, write the word KINDNESS in the center of your board or on a posterboard or sheet of newsprint. Set a bunch of markers nearby.

As the children arrive, greet them warmly and ask them about their past week. Draw their attention to your “kindness” board and invite them to jot down (in words or pictures) a time when someone showed them or their family kindness, or when they saw an act of kindness being performed by someone.

Get Unlimited Access!

Sign up for DWELL Digital to unlock all online leader resources, printable pages and session plans.

Call 800-333-8300 or Request Access

Learn About DWELL

DWELL helps kids find their place in God's Big Story. Learn more about this popular and trusted children’s ministry curriculum.