2 Samuel 4:4
And Jonathan son of Saul had a son who was lame in his feet. He was five years old when the report about Saul and Jonathan came from Jezreel. His nurse picked him up and fled, but as she was hurrying to escape, he fell and became lame. His name was Mephibosheth.
A Lifelong AfflictionG. Wood 2 Samuel 4:4
An Unfortunate Prince: a Sermon to ChildrenB. Dale 2 Samuel 4:4

2 Samuel 4:4. - (GIBEAH.)
Mephibosheth was the only son of Jonathan, the friend of David and eldest sort of King Saul. When he was five years old the country was invaded by the Philistines (1 Samuel 29:1), his father went forth with the king from Gibeah to fight against them in Jezreel, and he was left at home in the care of a nurse (his mother probably being dead). They waited anxiously for news of the conflict; and at length there came a messenger saying that the battle was lost, the king and Jonathan were dead, and the terrible Philistines were coming to plunder and burn the place. The nurse caught up the child, and carried him away on her shoulder; but in her flight across the hills she stumbled, and the little prince fell, was hurt in both his feet, and became a helpless cripple for the rest of his days.

I. CHILDHOOD IS BESET BY MANY PERILS. No other creature on earth is weaker, more helpless or dependent at the commencement of life, than a child. He is peculiarly liable to accident and susceptible to disease; incapable of defending himself from harm or preserving his own life; and is cast entirely upon the care of others. A little neglect on their part may prove fatal. More than a fourth of all the children that are born die before they are five years old. There is the still greater danger to your souls of being allowed to grow up in ignorance and led into "the way of transgressors," stumbling and perishing therein (Matthew 18:6). Be thankful to your parents, nurses, and teachers for their care over you; still more to your heavenly Father who has taught them such care, appointed his holy angels to be your guardians, sent his Son to bless you, and himself loves, preserves, watches over you, and seeks your salvation (Matthew 18:10-14).

II. EVEN A PRINCE IS NOT FREE FROM MISFORTUNE. You may sometimes wish that you belonged to a royal or wealthy family, lived in a palace, and had numerous servants to wait upon you; supposing that you would be happier than you are. Well, here is a prince; yet motherless, fatherless, homeless, helpless, and hopeless. How much better is your condition than that of this poor little orphan cripple! No condition of life is above the reach of trouble; none beneath the possession of enjoyment. Envy not the lot of others, nor fret and be dissatisfied with your own. Hear a fable of three little fishes that dwelt in a beautiful stream. On being asked what they wished for, one said, "Wings," and when these grew he flew away so high and so far that he could not get back, sank exhausted, and breathed his last; another said, "Knowledge," and when he obtained it, became anxious and fearful, and durst not touch a fly or a worm or eat any food, lest it should contain a fatal bait, pined away and died; the third said, "I wish for nothing, but am contented with my lot," and this little fish had a long and happy life. Have you not heard of the apostle who was a prisoner for Jesus' sake, and said, "I have learned in whatsoever state [am therewith to be content (Philippians 4:11)?

There is a cross in every lot,
And an earnest need for prayer;
But a lowly heart that leans on thee
Is happy anywhere." When a little blind girl was asked the reason of her affliction, she replied, "Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in thy sight."

III. THE UNFORTUNATE ARE NEVER LEFT WITHOUT A FRIEND. And "a friend in need is a friend indeed." What became of Mephibosheth? He was carried beyond the river Jordan, out of the reach of the Philistines; found a home "in the house of Machir, the son of Ammiel, in Lo-debar" (2 Samuel 9:4; 2 Samuel 17:27), in the neighbourhood of Mahanaim, among the mountains of Gilead; was treated with kindness; and dwelt in a place of safety until he became a man. Only a few persons knew where he lived, or whether he were alive; and when King David heard of him, he invited him to Jerusalem, that he might show him kindness "for Jonathan's sake." Affliction appeals to our pity, and tends to call forth our sympathy and help. We should never despise the unfortunate nor mock at their misfortune; but always try to do them good. Above all, in our trouble we should trust in God, in whom "the fatherless findeth mercy" (Hosea 14:3). "When my father and mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up" (Psalm 27:10).

IV. A GREAT MISFORTUNE OFTEN PROVES A GREAT BLESSING. If Mephibosheth had not been made lame by the accident of his childhood, he would have been tempted to aim at the crown, and might have rushed into ambitious and godless enterprises as others did, and perished in like manner. As it was, he spent his days in quietness and peace. His affliction was the means of making him humble, thankful, patient, and devout. His father's property was restored to him by his father's friend; and he had an honourable place assigned to him at the royal table (2 Samuel 9:13). How often is an orphan taught by the loss of his father to seek his father's God! The hand of God overrules evil for good. And all earthly trouble, when endured in a right spirit, is a preparation for a heavenly home. - D.

His hands were feeble.
The man spoken of was Saul's son, and as the son of a king what reason had he to have enfeebled hands? The reason is that Abner was dead. But could not a king's son do without Abner? Have not king's sons abundant resources in themselves, without being dependent upon outsiders, however distinguished? All history replies in the negative. Men belong to one another. The king's son was nothing without Abner, but much with him. The unit one is but a singular number, but the moment a cipher is added to it becomes ten, and another cipher turns the ten into a hundred. — The integer is little by itself, the cipher is nothing at all when it stands alone, but when they are brought together they begin to make themselves felt. It is precisely so in. our social relations. What is the husband without the wife? What is the son without the father? What is the scholar without the teacher? What is the flock without the shepherd? It is of no account to reason that there is a variety of value in men, some being worth much, and others being worth little; the fact is that they must all be brought into cooperation.

(J. Parker, D. D.)

Abner, Baanah, Beerothites, Benjamin, David, Ishbosheth, Israelites, Jezreel, Jonathan, Mephibosheth, Rechab, Saul
Arabah, Beeroth, Gittaim, Hebron, Jezreel, Ziklag
Able, Becometh, Care, Crippled, Damaged, Death, Fall, Falleth, Fell, Fled, Flee, Fleeth, Flight, Getting, Haste, Hasting, Hurried, Hurry, Jezreel, Jizreel, Jonathan, Lame, Leave, Lifteth, Mephibosheth, Mephib'osheth, News, Nurse, Pass, Picked, Quickly, Report, Rumour, Saul, Saul's, Tidings
1. The Israelites being troubled at the death of Abner
2. Baanah and Rechab slay Ish-Bosheth, and bring his head to Hebron
9. David causes them to be slain, and Ish-Bosheth's head to be buried.

Dictionary of Bible Themes
2 Samuel 4:4

     5151   feet
     5162   lameness
     5278   cripples
     5296   disabilities
     5428   nurse
     5568   suffering, causes

2 Samuel 4:1-8

     5040   murder

Alike from the literary and the historical point of view, the book[1] of Samuel stands midway between the book of Judges and the book of Kings. As we have already seen, the Deuteronomic book of Judges in all probability ran into Samuel and ended in ch. xii.; while the story of David, begun in Samuel, embraces the first two chapters of the first book of Kings. The book of Samuel is not very happily named, as much of it is devoted to Saul and the greater part to David; yet it is not altogether inappropriate,
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament

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