In his covenantA covenant is a promise or agreement. In the Bible the promises made between God and God's people are known as covenants; they state or imply a relationship of commitment and obedience. More with JonathanSon of King Saul and friend of David More, DavidSecond king of Israel, David united the northern and southern kingdoms. More had promised to show loyalty to Jonathan’s family (1 SamuelThe judge who anointed the first two kings of Israel More 18:1-4; 20:14-17). In this story, David shows kindness to Jonathan’s son Mephibosheth.
David had promised Jonathan that he would protect his family (1 Samuel 20:15-16). Consequently, David asks how he might help any surviving members of SaulThe first king of Israel More/Jonathan’s family (v. 1), which he does (vv. 11b-12). Within this framework of help for the only surviving member of the house of Saul are placed three dialogues: two with Ziba (vv. 2-4, 9-11a) that frame a central conversation with Mephibosheth, Jonathan’s son (vv. 6-8).
A David asks if he might help Jonathan’s family (v. 1)
B Dialogue: David and Ziba (vv. 2-4)
C Dialogue: David and Mephibosheth (vv. 6-8)
B′ Dialogue: David and Ziba (vv. 9-11a)
A′ David takes care of Jonathan’s family (vv. 11b-12)
David’s loyalty to Jonathan seems to be the essential message of this text. Three times he offers to demonstrate his loyalty (hesed) to any surviving member of the house of Saul (vv. 1, 3, 7), and, when he learns of Mephibosheth, he carries out his obligations. The repeated attempts to find ulterior motives in David’s care of Saul’s grandson are without foundation in the text.