Songs from II Samuel: Feasting At The Table of the King
Each week, we will go through the books of the Bible, looking at a song that illustrates a passage from each book.
The history books in the Old Testament are anything but dry and boring. Read them; time and again, you’ll find stories with rich parallels to New Testament themes.
II Samuel 9 is exactly such a story. After King Saul died, David ascended to the throne in his place. Now there was a practice in ancient Middle Eastern cultures that we sometimes still see today: When a king ascended to a throne, it was customary for him to kill all his enemies, especially any who might have designs on the throne. This often included any surviving male family members of the preceding king.
Yet when King David took the throne, he asked if Saul had any surviving family members, “that I may shew him kindness for Jonathan’s sake” (II Samuel 9:1, KJV). He had been close friends with Jonathan. He learned that Jonathan had a surviving son, Mephibosheth, who had been dropped as a baby and was crippled, lame in both feet. Mephibosheth was living in the land of “Lodebar,” which, translated, literally means “the land of nothing.”
So David took someone who would have been a natural enemy who, in the mind of the culture, deserved to be killed. Instead of killing him, though, he granted mercy, and invited him to spend the rest of his days eating at David’s own table.
God is holy. Inherent to the nature of holiness is to hate that which is unholy, sin. So while we were sinners, we were God’s enemies, as Romans 5:8-10 says: “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.”
While we were God’s enemies, living meaningless lives—in the “land of nothing”—He showed mercy to us. Not only did He grant us salvation and permit us to live, but He also brought us to feast at His table—both the Lord’s Supper here on this earth, and the wedding feast of the Lamb.
Here is songwriter Ricky Atkinson singing a song (also recorded by the Kingdom Heirs) that recounts this story: