Story Twelve

 •  6 min. read  •  grade level: 5
THE CRIPPLE AT THE KING'S TABLE
AS soon as the kings of the nations around Ĭś̝ ra-el saw that a strong man was ruling over the tribes, they began to make war upon Dā́ vid, for they feared to see Ĭś̝ ra-el gaining in power. So it came to pass that Dắ vid had many wars. The Mṓ ab-ītes, who lived on the east of the Dead Sea, went to war with Dā́ vid, but Dā́ vid conquered them, and made Mṓ ab submit to Ĭś̝ ra-el. Far in the north, the Sy̆ŕ ĭ-ans̝ came against Dā́ vid; but he won great victories over them, and took Dā̇-măś cus, their chief city, and held it as a part of his kingdom. In the south, he made war upon the Ḗ dom-ītes, and brought them under his rule.
For a number of years Dā́ vid was constantly at war, but at last he was at peace, the ruler of all the lands from the great river Eū-phrā́ tes̝ on the north, down to the wilderness on the south, where the Ĭś̝ ra-el-ītes had wandered; and from the great desert on the east to the Great Sea on the west. All these lands were under the rule of King Dā́ vid, except the people of Tȳre and Sī́ dŏn, who lived beside the Great Sea on the north of Ĭś̝ ra-el. These people, the Ty̆ŕ ̆-ans, never made war on Ĭś̝ ra-el, and their king, Hiram, was one of Dā́ vid's best friends. The men of Tyre cut down cedar-trees on Mount Lĕb́ a-non for Dā́ vid, and brought them to Jē̇-rṳ́˗sā̇-lĕm, and built for Dā́ vid the palace which became his home.
When Dā́ vid's wars were over, and he was at rest, he thought of the promise that he had made to his friend Jŏú a-than, the brave son of Saul (see Story Six in this Part), that he would care for his children. Dā́ vid asked of his nobles and the men at his court, "Are there any of Sa̤ul's family living, to whom I can show kindness for the sake of Jŏń a-than?”
They told Dā́ vid of Sa̤ul's servant, Zī́ ba, who had the charge of Sa̤ul's farm in the country; and Dā́ vid sent for him. Zī́ bȧ had become a rich man from his care of the lands that had belonged" to Sa̤ul.
Dā́ vid said to Zī́ bȧ, "Are there any of Saul's family living, to whom I can show some of the kindness which God has shown toward me?”
And Zī́ bä said, "Sa̤ul's son Jŏń a-than left a little boy, named Mē̇-phĭb́ o-shĕth, who is now grown to be a man. He is living at Lō̇=dḗ bär, on the east of Jôŕ dan.”
This child of Jŏń a-than was in the arms of his nurse when the news came of the battle at Mount Ḡĭl-bṓ ȧ, where Jŏń a-than was slain. The nurse fled with him, to hide from the Phĭ-lĭś tĭnes̝, and in running fell; and the child's feet were so injured that ever after he was lame.
Perhaps he was kept hidden in the distant place on the east of Jôŕ dan, from fear lest Dā́ vid, now that he was king, might try to kill all those who were of Sa̤ul's family; for such deeds were common in those times, when one king took the power away from another king's children.
Dā́ vid sent for Mē̇-phĭb́ o-shĕth, Jŏń a-than's son; and he was brought into Dá vid's presence, and fell down on his face before the king, for he was in great fear. And Dā́ vid said to him, "Mē̇-phĭb́˗o-shĕth, you need have no fear. I will be kind to you, because I loved Jŏń a-than, your father, and he loved me. You shall have all the lands that ever belonged to Sa̤ul and his family; and you shall always sit at my table in the royal palace.”
Then the king called Zī́ bȧ, who had been the servant of Sa̤ul, and said to him, "All the lands and houses that once belonged to Sa̤ul I have given to Mē̇-phĭb́ o-shĕth. You shall care for them, and bring the harvests and the fruits of the fields to him. But Mē̇-phĭb́ o-shĕth shall live here with me, and shall sit down at the king's table among the princes of the kingdom.”
So Mē̇-phĭb́ o-shĕth, the lame son of Jŏń a-than, was taken into Dā́ vid's palace, and sat at the king's table, among the highest in the land. And Zī́ bȧ, with his fifteen sons and his twenty servants, waited on him, and stood at his command.
This kindness of Dā́ vid to Mē̇-phĭb́ o-shĕth might have brought trouble to Dā́ vid; for Mē̇-phĭb́ o-shĕth, the son of Jŏń a-than, and the grandson of Sa̤ul, might have been the king if Dā́ vid had not won the crown. By giving to Sa̤ul's grandson a place at his table, showing him honor, Dā́ vid might have helped him to take the kingdom away from himself, if Mē̇-phĭb́ o-shĕth had been a stronger man, with a purpose to win the throne of Ĭś̝ ra-el. But Dā́ vid was generous, and Mē̇-phĭb́ o-shĕth was grateful, and was contented with his place in the palace.
Lesson 27. David, King of Israel.
(Tell Stories 11 and 12 in Part Third.)
1. How long did David reign as king over the tribe of Judah only? Seven years.
2. What did the people of the land do seven years after Saul was killed? They made David king over all Israel.
3. How did David find the land when he became king? It was weak and in the power of enemies.
4. What great city did David take from his enemies? The city of Jerusalem
5. On what mountain was the city of Jerusalem? On Mount Zion.
6. What did David do with Jerusalem after he had taken it? He made it strong and lived in it.
7. What enemies did David drive out of the land? The Philistines.
8. What did David bring to Jerusalem? The ark of God.
9. What did David win by war? Rule over all the lands around Israel.
10. Whose son did David treat kindly after he became king? The son of Jonathan.