Lo Debar – Another Look

Lo Debar, I have a feeling that it has become a symbol of hope and that God can turn things around in as long as it takes to ask a question.  Lo Debar holds the love of a true friendship and the strength of a promise kept but also has a darker side of greed, fear, and poor communication.  The characters in this story have strong messages to teach us if we will listen. (see A Place Called Lo Debar)

David’s life before he killed the giant sets the stage for Lo Debar.  The time he spent in the wilderness keeping sheep and singing praise to God allowed him to have a realDavid052 friendship.  C. S. Lewis in Membership said, ”We live, in fact, in a world starved for solitude, silence, and privacy; and therefore starved for meditation and true friendship.”  David had those so when Jonathan decided that they should be friends David was ready.  David means “loving” and Jonathan means “Jehovah-given.

The question of why did David even have to ask if Jonathan had a son puzzled me until I added ages and years together.  The last time David saw David007Jonathan alive was in 1 Samuel 23:16, while David is hiding at Horesh in the Desert of Ziph and Mephibosheth (probably), was not born yet.  There was also the oath he gave to Saul in 1 Samuel 24: 22 not to kill off his family when he became king.  So the question in 2 Samuel 9:1 is valid because he would not have known about Mephibosheth.  But the lack of communication by Jonathan to the family about the covenant of friendship and the oath that Saul had with David caused a little five-year-old boy to be crippled as panic set in and the royal household flees in fear. (It seemed to be common practice to kill off everyone including servants of a royal family back in that age so I am sure the fear was real.)  The poor communication or fear carried to other parts of the family because David had to find Ziba, a servant, instead of his wife, Michal, the aunt of Jonathan’s child, to tell him Mephibosheth existed and was alive.

I am not fussing at Jonathan because he was in a really bad spot.  His crazy father wanted to kill his covenant friend and the family servants had already proven they could not be trusted, so speaking about David was probably not a good idea.  But it would appear that he had a plan for his family in case something happened to him.  I don’t think it was an accident that Mephibosheth was “found” living at Makir son of Ammiel’s house.  Jonathan and possibly Saul must have trusted his man and his family to hide and protect the royal grandchild and eventually find a wife for Mephibosheth.  Remember he also brought supplies to David as he ran from Absalom.

In studying Jonathan I found something that I have no idea what it means but it was interesting. As I said Jonathan means “Jehovah-given” and there are two forms of it used in the Bible they are number 3083 and 3129 in the Strong’s Concordance.  3083 is used when it deals with Jonathan and David plus two times in 1 Samuel 14: 6+8 where he was relying on God for direction to attack the Philistines.  3129 is used when it deals with Jonathan and his father Saul.

God has a sense of humor and likes to hide things in scripture like Makir son of Ammiel: Makir means “salesman or brought” and Ammiel means “people of God.” The Makir meaning shines out in the Absalom story because he brought a lot of goods to David almost as if he were a salesman.  But he must have been important in Lo Debar because he hid Mephibosheth for at least twelve years, paid for his care, and picked his wife and no one turned them over to David. ( see Why Hide a Grandson There)

Ziba, Saul’s chief servant, is the dark side of this tale and may have worked for the family but with friends like him who needs enemies.  You have to wonder if Ziba, which means, “stationed” is the servant with Saul in 1 Samuel 9?  I took the “stationed” or “to be stationed” as he was the one assigned to Saul by God.  He seems to have done fairly well for himself because he had 15 sons and 20 servants, which was a sign of wealth.  I believe he was protecting his interest in telling David where Mephibosheth was living, he could have been hoping that David would kill Mephibosheth and the land of Saul would legally become his.  So in 2 Samuel 16:1-4 when he was lying about Mephibosheth’s actions he was still trying to get the land and get rid of Mephibosheth.  David seems to have seen this in 2 Samuel 19:24 when he orders the land split between them.

Saul, which means “asked”, is also part of this story.  A lot of adjectives could be assigned to him because he is the poster boy for good going bad but the one that I settled on was selfish. His “self” pops up throughout his whole story and finally leads to a crippled child hiding in fear from the man who would be his best friend.

Mephibosheth, which means “dispeller of shame”, I am sure has been the center of many sermons and he should be because it is a beautiful story.  Think about how he got to Lo Debar.  The news comes that his father is dead; his nurse (not his mother) drops him breaking both feet as he is rushed many miles from home and left with someone he barely knows.  He has no family, apparently, the only one who knows where he is, is a servant who wants his inheritance and all this five-year-old boy has to go on is stories and rumors about his father and grandfather.  Then one day a military David060unit takes him from the only house he remembers and brings him to the man he has been told to fear for at least twelve years.  Once there he finds out he is rich and will eat at the king’s table for the rest of his life.  Yeah, he should have a few sermons preached about him.

Did you notice that David did not answer Mephibosheth’s question of “why should you take notice of me?” Mephibosheth would have seen the end of David’s years and all of the trouble with his kids but he also would have seen the Temple built and Israel become a world power.  You would take for granted that Solomon just continued David’s covenant of friendship and he ate at the king’s table for life.

The great thing that I found in finishing his story is that Mephibosheth’s tale did not end with him.  In 1 Chronicles 8:34 – 40 and in 9:35 – 44 they list his family for several generations and record them as being warriors, so they fought for the kings of Judah for many years.  This is for a grandchild of a disposed of a king who would have normally been killed; friendship is a great thing. In Chronicles, he is listed as Merib-Baal, which is a tribute to Gideon who also has connections to the Lo Debar/Manasseh area.

These final two connections are questionable so study them for yourself and you decide.  Esther in Esther 2:5 is listed as being from the Tribe of Benjamin descended from Kish.  There are two Kish’s in the tribe of Benjamin but none of the names line up with Mephibosheth.  The other possible family member is Zimri who was king of Israel for seven days.  There is a Zimri listed in Mephibosheth’s family line that would have been alive about that time but there is less proof for that than for Esther so let your imaginations go wild with the possibilities.

This “other” look at Lo Debar, Mephibosheth, David, and Jonathan has been a great study I hope you have enjoyed it.

The artwork is from http://clipart.christiansunite.com/1379673661/Bible_Characters_Clipart/David_Clipart 

Tribes of Israel – Manasseh

Manasseh was the first-born child of Joseph who was put as a “second son” by Jacob. Joseph in naming Manasseh and Ephraim demonstrates that he was perfectly happy with his new life and had no intention of going back. (Genesis 41:51+52) He had the power to send a message back to his family but he did not.

I wonder how these two acted around the rest of the family? They were children of the ruler of the country they lived in and because of being Egyptian possibly had more privileges. From Genesis 48:1 I would wonder if Joseph even allowed them to live around his brothers? Joseph may have had them marry within the family but Manasseh definitely owned slaves and even had a foreign concubine.

1 Chronicles 7:14+15 talks about Manasseh’s two notable descendents: Gilead and Zelophehad.  In Numbers 36 Zelophehad dies in the exodus and leaves only daughters, these girls stand up for themselves and their father’s lineage. The daughters go to Moses and plead their case before God; this leads to a new decree to acknowledge women as heirs. It may not sound like much but that was groundbreaking territory when women were viewed much of the time as second-class people or property.   The other descendent was Gilead who was to lend his name to the area of the east bank of the Jordan River that wasTwelveTribesofIsraelebible the inheritance of the tribes of Manasseh, Rueben and Gad. This is a contrast to Zelophehad’s daughters; Gilead comes from an Aramean concubine and a group of people who were not Israelites (Huppites and Shuppites). Just like Bilhah and Zilpah this concubine was a slave that Manasseh used and was so elevated to a slightly better status in the household. You get the feeling that the children were valued but not the mother (Sarah and Hagar).

In 1 Chronicles 5: 18 -26 it gives two contrasting stories; one of faith and trust in God and the other of unfaithfulness to Him. In verse 20 the East Bank tribes cry out to God for help in the middle of a battle and are helped and overcome their enemies. In verse 25 it tells of the unfaithfulness that gets them taken away by Tiglath-Pileser.habor_river

Actually, Manasseh’s descendents were on par with the other tribes; they did their part in taking the Promise Land and showed up at all the right times and were active during the life time of Saul and David. Lo Debar is in the allotment of land given to Manasseh and it was this area that David went to when he ran from Absalom.

Map from http://www.biblestudytools.com/resources/maps/twelve-tribes-of-israel-map.html and eBibleTeacher.com.

http://bibleatlas.org/full/habor_river.htm  large map,

Tribes of Israel – Benjamin

Benjamin is the thirteenth child of Jacob or the first child of Israel and the second child of Rachel. He is definitely the only son born in the Promise Land.

Deuteronomy 33: 12 About Benjamin he said: “Let the beloved of the Lord rest secure in him, for he shields him all day long, and the one the Lord loves rests between his shoulders.”

Genesis 49:27 “Benjamin is a ravenous wolf; in the morning he devours the prey,
in the evening he divides the plunder.” (NIV)

The prophecy by Moses in Deuteronomy is started with Jonathan (King Saul’s son) and David in 1 Samuel 18. It continues in 1 Kings 12 when a rather arrogant Rehoboam is used to split the Kingdom; ten tribes follow Jeroboam and only Judah and Benjamin stay true to the royal line of David. (Jerusalem was in the land allotted to Benjamin.)

The prediction of Jacob in Genesis 49 paints an interesting picture of his youngest son. A wolf is relentless and calculating when it pursues what it wants and violent in its attacks but it also sets an example of a supportive family. I think it is safe to assume that when Joseph was “no more” that Benjamin became his favored son. This is reflected by his unwillingness to let him go to Egypt even though the whole clan could have died of starvation.

Since Rachel died in childbirth who raised Benjamin? Bilhah should have been the likely choice since she was Rachel’s slave but she slept with Reuben and I cannot image Jacob trusting her much. So the other choice would have been faithful Leah.

The story in Judges 19,20,21 about Benjamin defending some of their own even though they had clearly crossed several lines of moral behavior sets the stage for Saul and his kingship. (See Why Hide a Grandson There)


Lo Debar – Why Hide a Grandson There?

Why would you hide an heir apparent in a “Lo Debar?” (see Lo Debar) That connection with King Saul goes back a couple of generations to the Book of Judges.  In chapter 21 Israel had killed off almost all of the Tribe of Benjamin and had cursed them on top of all of that.  But to find wives for the 400 Benjamites who remained they killed off everyone in a town in Gilead except for the young women. So when the newly crowned King Saul takes off and goes to the rescue of Jabesh Gilead in 1 Samuel 11 it was probably because had family there.  Not only did he rescue his family but also he upped his standing in Israel at the same time.  So his connection with that part of the land of Israel is family ties so the young Mephibosheth would have been safe.      ( see Lo Debar – Another Look )

A place called Lo Debar

After many years of reading the Bible, you start to ask questions because you see things that you know were “not there before.” Some of these blogs will be from “old treasures” and some will be “new treasure” because God wants us to keep moving forward going from “glory to glory” in our knowledge of Him.
A great reason to study the Bible on your own is what happened to me because of a place called Lo Debar (2 Samuel 9). A preacher had taught about Mephibosheth, son of Jonathan, son of King Saul, who was living in Lo Debar. (see Lo Debar-Why Hide a Grandson There?)  ( see Lo Debar – Another Look this is a look at all of the people in the story.)
lo-debarLo Debar means “no pasture or no communication”. The negative of the place was so emphasized that I have for 20 years thought that it was a “dump”. Well, another preacher taught about it and did not highlight the “dump” idea, so I knew it was time to study. Part of the study was to go look on Google maps to find where it was, that was fun and it gave me an idea why it may have been called that. One of David’s benefactors (Makir of Ammiel, 2 Sam. 17:27) was from Lo Debar and he brought to David as he ran from Absalom pots, vessels, and bedding, which is what was made in Lo Debar. On further study it seems that Lo Debar possible locationLo Debar may have been a gateway to Gilead and important in its protection, so it seems that it may not have been a “dump.” Resources: Atlas of the Bible by Collins, Zondervan NIV Exhaustive Concordance, and Easton’s Bible Dictionary

The map is from http://bibleatlas.org/lo-debar.htm ,the pic is a screen shot from Goggle Earth.