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Illustration from the Morgan Bible of Mephibosheth kneeling before David.

According to the Books of Samuel of the Tanakh, Mephibosheth was the son of Jonathan, grandson of King Saul[1] and father of Mica or Micha.[2]

According to the biblical narrative (2 Samuel 4:4), Mephibosheth was five years old when both his father and grandfather died at the Battle of Mount Gilboa. After the deaths of Saul and Jonathan, Mephibosheth's nurse took him and fled in panic. In her haste,[3] the child fell, or was dropped while fleeing.[4] After that, he was unable to walk.[5]

Some years later, after his accession to the kingship of the United Monarchy, King David sought out "someone of the house of Saul, to whom I may show the kindness of God"[6] and Mephibosheth was brought to him. David restored Saul's inheritance to Mephibosheth and permitted him to live within his palace in Jerusalem.

The Hebrew name is מְפִיבֹשֶׁת Mefivoshet,[4] meaning "from the mouth of shame" or "from the mouth of god Bashtu",[4] or Merib-baal[7][8] (Bib Heb: מְרִיב־בַּעַל, Trans: Meriv-Ba'al, Mərîḇ-Báʻal).


  1. ^ Easton 1894, p. 457: 2 Sam. 4:4.
  2. ^ 2 Samuel 9:12
  3. ^ Easton 1894, p. 457.
  4. ^ a b c Eerdmans 2000, p. 884.
  5. ^ Easton 1894, p. 457: 2 Sam. 19:26.
  6. ^ 2 Samuel 9:3
  7. ^ Eerdmans 2000, p. 884-885: According to Arnold Gottfried Betz, in association with David Noel Freedman, Meribbaal may be the original name of Saul's son, while Memphibaal as preserved in the Lucianic recension may actually be the original name of Jonathan's son. There is some scholarly agreement that Mephibosheth replaced Meribbaal (or Memphibaal) in order to conceal the theophoric name "baal", a reference to a Canaanite deity.
  8. ^ Easton 1894, p. 457, a name preserved by the Chronicler (1 Chr. 8:34; 9:40).


  • Easton, Matthew George (1894). Easton's Bible Dictionary (Extended Annotated ed.). Altenmünster: T. Nelson. p. 457. ISBN 9783849621865.
  • Eerdmans, David Noel Freedman, ed.-in-chief; Allen C. Myers, associate ed.; Astrid B. Beck, managing (2000). Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible. Grand Rapids, MI [etc.]: Eerdmans. pp. 884–885. ISBN 9789053565032.
  • Insight (1988). Insight on the Scriptures, Vol. 2. Pennsylvania: Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania. pp. 372–373.