“Then king David sent, and fetched him out of the house of Machir, the son of Ammiel, from Lo-debar…” (2 Sam. 9:5).
Understanding The Text (cont.)
There are two interesting things of note within this section of Scripture. One is that David is unaware of Jonathan’s son, Mephibosheth, despite his close friendship with him. The other is what the place wherein Mephibosheth is currently residing truly represents.
Mephibosheth is not an important threat to David because of his physical limitations. He received an injury as a child while trying to escape an enemy attack. His nurse carried him and he suffered from a fall which caused him to be lame in his feet and unable to walk. In Old Testament times, this would cause society to look down upon this individual, especially if the person was a male. In other words, it would basically diminish the person’s stature within society.
Lo-debar, on the other hand, is a derivative of the Hebrew word, debar, which means “pasture”. We automatically think of a field of green, lush grassy hillside upon which animals graze for food. However, an additional meaning of the term, debar, means “house”.
When we add the prefix, lo, to the term, however, it takes on a whole new meaning. The prefix, lo, means “without”. Therefore, the term, Lo-debar, means “to be without pasture or without a house”. The term takes on new meaning when understood in the sense that it represents something that is solitary and desolate, somewhat similar to a desert. When applied to Mephibosheth’s situation, we begin to understand why it is significant to the story.
Mephibosheth was left without a house because the house of Saul was almost completely desolate. In addition to this, he was completely disabled physically. This, in contemporary times, would cause a person to be completely isolated and ostracized by members of society. So, his response to the king’s summons to court is understood clearly.
Mephibosheth knows the stigma of having a disability in his society. As a result, he has lived in a desolate state and feels as though he does not qualify to be the recipient of the king’s kindness and loyalty. However, David insists upon honoring him as he remembers his covenant with Mephibosheth’s father and his loyal friend, Jonathan. Therefore, Mephibosheth receives a seat at the king’s table for the remainder of his life.
Why Is This Important To Us?
This important to us because we may often feel as though we are not ‘good enough’ because of something we may have done, experienced or said in our past. God reminds us that it is nothing within our humanity that could ever qualify us for a permanent seat at the King’s table. However, He also reminds us that God is not like humans. But He is more concerned with the condition of our hearts and not our current status, how much money we have, or how we look on the exterior (1 Sam. 16:7).
If God were to measure our worthiness based on what we had to offer, none of us would ever qualify to sit with Him. But, thank God for His grace and mercy! He qualifies us through the accomplished work of His Son, Jesus the Christ, on Calvary’s cross. This provides us with direct access into the King’s courts and guarantees us a seat at His table within His Kingdom. We no longer have to wander around with the weight of Lo-debar (solitary isolation and desolation) upon our shoulders any longer. We no longer have the stigma of being ‘without a house’ because we have an invite to dwell in the house of the King forever.
Sean Mungin, author of “The Thorn In The Flesh”