A Seat at the Table –
One of the most touching of the stories around the ascension of David to the throne is his interaction with Mephibosheth, who was the son of Jonathan and the grandson of King Saul. Once David is secure as the king of a unified Israel, the northern and southern kingdoms have consolidated into one country under his leadership, David asks a simple question, are there any relatives of King Saul who are still alive?
Ziba, a servant of Saul came to David and told him about Mephibosheth, the crippled grandson of Saul. When David meets Mephibosheth, he extends an invitation for the young man to join him every day at his dinner table.
As I think about the invitation of David to Mephibosheth, I am filled with a sense of the power of an invitation to join a person for a meal. David is the king of Israel. Anyone who was granted a regular invitation to join him at the meal table benefited from what is often referred to as, “Access.” Mephibosheth has been access to the King – access to share his thoughts, concerns, questions, hopes and dreams. In one sense, the king is just a man. In another sense, the handful of people who enjoy the ear of the king are in a remarkable position to take advantage of that relationship.
I am a member of a minority community in America. Only small numbers of minorities are allowed the kind of access that Mephibosheth enjoys. When a minority is invited to “Sit at the table,” one of the questions that naturally occurs is what did you make of your seat at the table? Did you use your access to help your only yourself, of did you use your access to help others? Did you even use your access to help yourself, or where you so mesmerized with being in close proximity to people of power that you just sat there and said nothing?
The story of Mephibosheth takes a sad turn. Later, after being invited to join David at his dinner table, David is run out of town by his son, Absalom, who is in revolt. Ziba, the servant of Mephibosheth meets David and his fighting men with two donkeys, loaded with food for the journey. David asks him, where is Mephibosheth? Ziba replies that Mephibosheth remained in Jerusalem in the hopes that the kingdom of his grandfather, Saul, would be restored to him. Once the battle is over and David is restored as the king of Israel, he asks M
Mephibosheth why he did not travel with him? Mephibosheth told him that Ziba, the servant deceived him and he was tricked into remaining when David fled the kingdom. Unsure as to who was telling the truth, David divided the land between Ziba and Mephibosheth and left them alone.
2 Samuel 9: 7 David said to him, “Do not be afraid, for I will show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan; I will restore to you all the land of your grandfather Saul, and you yourself shall eat at my table always.” 
Questions for Reflection:
- What is the significance of David welcoming Mephibosheth to join him at his table?
- What are the challenges we face when we are allowed access to power as David offered to Mephibosheth?
Prayer: Lord, grant that I might seek to extend courtesy and favor to those in need. In my interaction with others, help me to rise above the temptation to be narrow and selfish. Teach me to be a blessing to the infirmed and disabled. Make me gracious and humble, tender and merciful to all whom I might meet. Through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior I pray. Amen
Written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III
Photo by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III
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