David’s gracious dealing with Mephibosheth are described in 2 Samuel 9:1–13. David was not only an effective warrior and administrator, but he also was a kind ruler. He desired to honor the pledge he had made to Jonathan and his family (read 1 Samuel 20:14–15).
David inquired and learned from Ziba, a servant in Saul’s household, about Mephibosheth, who was Jonathan’s only surviving son. Mephibosheth was crippled and lived in obscurity. When he was brought before David, the king calmed his fears and returned Saul’s property to him. Mephibosheth lived in Jerusalem and ate at the king’s table.
This chapter introduces what is sometimes called the “Succession Narrative,” a literary piece which includes chapters 9–20. Its purpose is to show the steps David undertook to succeed Saul and to establish the permanence of his own dynasty. It is thought that David’s first step was to solicit the support of the Northern tribes by extending favor to the surviving members of Saul’s household.