Mephibosheth

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Illustration from the Morgan Bible of Mephibosheth kneeling before David.
For the son of Saul, see Armoni and Mephibosheth.

Mephibosheth (מְפִיבֹשֶׁת, Məp̄îḇṓšeṯ, Mefivoshet) or Merib-baal (מְרִיב־בַּעַל, Mərîḇ-Báʻal, Meriv-Ba'al) is a person in the Hebrew Bible. He was the son of Jonathan, and grandson of Saul (2 Sam. 4:4). He was five years old when his father and grandfather fell in the Battle of Mount Gilboa. Hearing of this calamity, his nurse fled with him from Gibeah, the royal residence. She dropped him while they fled, and he became disabled. He was carried to the land of Gilead, where he found refuge in the house of Machir, son of Ammiel, at Lo-debar, by whom he was reared.

Some years later, when King David had subdued all the adversaries of Israel, he recalled the family of Jonathan, and discovered that Mephibosheth was residing in the house of Machir. So he sent royal messengers there, and brought Mephibosheth and his infant son Micah to Jerusalem, where they resided from that point on (2 Sam. 9).

When David was a fugitive, Mephibosheth's servant, Ziba, (2 Sam. 16:1-4) claimed Mephibosheth was hoping to be made king. Ziba was subsequently awarded all of Mephibosheth's estate. However (2 Sam. 19:24-30), Mephibosheth later told David that he had remained loyal to him, and that Ziba had lied. David then ordered the estate divided between the two. Mephibosheth allowed Ziba to keep everything as he was simply content in knowing that David was safe. After this incident, Mephibosheth is only mentioned as having been protected by David (2 Sam. 21:7).

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainEaston, Matthew George (1897). "Mephibosheth". Easton's Bible Dictionary (New and revised ed.). T. Nelson and Sons.