After a betrayal, it is logical not to trust anyone. But in complex conflicts, you need wisdom.
“Why didn’t you come with me, Mephibosheth?” (2 Samuel 19: 25) the weary king demanded of the lame man, who was discouraged.
David was just recovering from a terrible grief, mourning the death of his son Absalom, who had intended to kill his own father in order to take his throne (2 Samuel 15-18). The attempt failed, and the rebels were either dead or scattered.
Those who remained loyal to David celebrated, and David forced a smile on them. It wasn’t even the tragic death of his unfaithful son that killed him – he knew that part of the blame for his son’s death lay with him.
Life is like a tangled ball
The voice of God speaking to David through the prophet Nathan still rang in his ears:
“Why then hast thou despised the word of the Lord, and done evil in His sight? Uriah the Hittite thou hast smitten with the sword; his wife took his wife, and him you killed with the sword of the Ammonites; so, the sword will never depart from your house forever because you have despised Me, and hast taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife. Thus says the Lord: behold, I will raise up evil against you out of your house, and will take your wives before your eyes, and give them to your neighbor, and he will sleep with your wives before this sun; you have done it secretly, but I will do it before all Israel and before the sun” (2 Samuel 12: 9-12).
It was unbearable. The neighbor of whom Nathan spoke was his son. “My son, Absalom! my son, my son, Absalom! Oh, who would let me die in your stead, Absalom, my son, my son! ” (2 Samuel 18: 33). But he could not even afford sympathy, so as not to embarrass his people (2 Samuel 19: 5-7). He could only grieve in secret.
All this tragedy, and the death of his son, and the defeat of his subordinates, mourned by their wives and mothers, was a continuous tangle of unresolved conflicts. Evil was woven into God’s judgment and obscured the appearance. This is partly why David was merciful to those who abandoned him, and even cursed him when he escaped from Absalom’s army. He knew that they were all caught up in this violent current of evil, which, in one way or another, it was he who had started.
Who could he trust now?
The complexity of the situation made it difficult for the great king to return to Jerusalem. Who could he trust now? The words of distrust of those who left him, what were they dictated by-fear of a new war? Did the people who had previously praised him in their songs show their true colors, or were they just really scared? “Man is a liar,” David said in Psalm 115, and of course meant himself as well.
And now Mephibosheth also left him. His betrayal had hurt more than most.
Mephibosheth was the son of Jonathan. He was lame from childhood as a result of other tragic events-the consequences of fear, evil, and righteous anger (2 Samuel 4: 4). Out of love for his best friend and because of the Covenant they had made (1 Samuel 20: 42), David sought out Mephibosheth and returned to him the lands that had belonged to his father by Royal status, as well as providing him with self – paid servants-these were Ziba, his fifteen sons, and twenty servants. In addition, David gave Mephibosheth a special place at his table and treated him as if he were his own son (2 Samuel 9: 7-11).
But it was not Mephibosheth who stayed with David during his flight from Jerusalem, but Ziba. And Ziba was the one who told David that Mephibosheth had gone over to the traitors (2 Samuel 16: 3-4). For which David immediately rewarded him by giving him all of Mephibosheth’s possessions as his own.
Not everything is so clear
So the victorious king returns to Jerusalem, and Mephibosheth meets him on the road, dirty and smelly. According to one of David’s servants, Mephibosheth had not shaved or washed since the day David fled (2 Samuel 19: 24). There were tears in his eyes, casting a shadow over Siwa’s words. Another mystery has added to the already complicated story.
David asked,” why didn’t you come with me, Mephibosheth?” The lame man answered in confusion:
“My Lord, the king! my servant deceived me, for I, your servant, said:: “I will saddle myself an ass, and sit on it, and go with the king,” for your servant is lame. But he has slandered your servant before my Lord the king. But my Lord the king is like an angel of God; do as it pleases you; though all my father’s house was put to death before my Lord the king, yet you have set your servant among those who eat at your table; what right have I to complain yet before the king? ” (2 Samuel 19: 26-28)
Mephibosheth’s words were convincing. And the look in his eyes told me he was right, too. But a similar device (if it also turns out to be a method) was already used by the inhabitants of Gibeon against Joshua (Joshua 9: 3-6), and Ziba risked his life by following David in such a moment of danger. On the third hand, David was already familiar with the precedent of risking his life – it was he who ordered Hushai to put his life at risk by feigning loyalty to Absalom (2 Samuel 15: 32-37). After all, Siva could just play the card of his life, betting on an experienced king against a self-confident Prince. So which one of them was telling the truth?
Everything that was in his power
David decided to get out of the swamp in this way: earlier, Saul’s estate was divided equally between Ziba and Mephibosheth (2 Samuel 19: 29), although he understood that some of the recipients were lying and therefore some got more than they deserved, and some got less. But he just couldn’t know what each of them was really thinking. And he didn’t have time to research either – he had to deal with the Board, his family, and his broken heart. And I didn’t want to make any new enemies.
Both of the heirs of Saul’s estate were loyal to David in one way or another, and this was the only decision David could make to avoid losing them both, and he left the decision of a justice to God.
Everything in our power-in most cases
Sometimes we find ourselves in a similar situation to David. It so happens that in relation to our families, friends, colleagues, members of our Church community, there is not enough evidence of someone’s (wrong)case, the situation is too ambiguous, and there is no time to understand everything. And then, after weighing the pros and cons and collecting all the available information, we have no choice but to be merciful to all those involved in the situation, relying on God’s judgment, which He will not forget to execute.
God is all-knowing. All his ways are just (Deuteronomy 32: 4). They are simply beyond our comprehension. Only He can unravel this diabolical tangle in such a way that everything that the enemy has planned for us will be used for good (Genesis Chapter 50 verse 20, Romans Chapter 8 verse 28). It is in His power to use our judgments and judgments in relation to us as he sees fit.
Our task is to act according to faith, without relying on our limited abilities, but without hiding behind our limitations, because the Lord requires us to act justly, love works of mercy, and walk humbly before Him (Micah 6: 8).