2 Samuel 16:3-4 The king [David] then asked, “Where is your master’s grandson?” Ziba said to him, “He is staying in Jerusalem, because he thinks, ‘Today the house of Israel will give me back my grandfather’s kingdom.’” Then the king said to Ziba, “All that belonged to Mephibosheth is now yours.” “I humbly bow,” Ziba said. “May I find favour in your eyes, my lord the king.”
Much harm is caused by evil men making false accusations and spreading false rumours against humble people seeking to live in a God-honouring way. Sadly, in our own day, this evil is made even worse by the virulence of social media.
Ever since Ziba had been disadvantaged by David’s gracious generosity to Mephibosheth in fulfilment of a promise he had given to the lame man’s father, Jonathan (chapter 9), the king’s servant had been planning some means of revenge. The report he gives here about Mephibosheth is completely false and unfounded, a blatant case of character assassination, but it will be another 3 chapters (19:24-30) before poor Mephibosheth can set the record straight before David, and even then he refuses to try to ‘get even’ with Ziba (19:30)!
Moreover, in the narrative surrounding this event, David himself is unfairly treated by others like Shimei and even his own son, Absalom. We have much to learn from David and Mephibosheth in the way they responded to unfair treatment. How do we react when others malign us and take advantage of our vulnerability? (See especially how David responded in verses 9-12, seeing the opposition and its retribution as being entirely in the LORD’s sovereign hands.) Do we take God’s Word seriously when we are commanded by Jesus and Paul to love our enemies and pray for and bless those who persecute us (Matthew 5:44, Romans 12:14, 19)? Are we prepared to leave the outcome of such injustice done to us in the hands of our sovereign and merciful God?
It is comforting to know that in the case of both Absalom’s treachery and treason, and Mephibosheth’s undivided loyalty, truth and justice did prevail, even though there were several years of terrible injustice to endure in ‘silence’ before things were set right for David and Mephibosheth. Sometimes we might even have to endure in silence until Jesus comes to ‘make all things new’. And we have Jesus’ own example of how he responded to the false accusations and the pain and anguish of his trial – his beatings and incredibly cruel crucifixion – as he suffered all this so that he could save us! “Bearing shame and scoffing rude, in my place condemned he stood; sealed my pardon with his blood; Hallelujah! what a Saviour! … … When he comes, our glorious King, all his ransomed, home to bring, then anew this song we’ll sing: Hallelujah! what a Saviour!” (Philip Bliss)
– Bruce Christian