v 3. The king then asked him, “Is anyone still alive from Saul’s family? If so, I want to show God’s kindness to them.”
David hasn’t forgotten. Saul and Jonathan died tragically in battle together, but David could not forget his friendship with Jonathan, and his respect for Saul as King. Lesser men might have wanted to wipe out all of Saul’s family and ensure there were no rivals to challenge his position as King. But that was not David’s way of doing things. He took the initiative in finding out about Saul and Jonathan’s family because he wanted to show them kindness.
Compassion of this kind is more than a response to some sort of apparent need. It runs deeper than passing a beggar on the street and feeling that you would like to help. It is a deep rooted desire to search out and then respond to the human condition; compassion cannot just sit at home and wait for needs to appear; it is active in discovering and endeavouring to meet needs.
David took the first step in discovering the needs of Mephibosheth, a surviving son of Jonathan. You can find the background to this story in 2 Samuel 4: ‘Saul’s son Jonathan had a son named Mephibosheth, who was crippled as a child. He was five years old when the report came from Jezreel that Saul and Jonathan had been killed in battle. When the child’s nurse heard the news, she picked him up and fled. But as she hurried away, she dropped him, and he became crippled. ‘
Mephibosheth had been disabled for most of his life, but David the compassionate King reaches out to him and makes sure he is well-provided for throughout his life.
An early example of compassionate care for the disabled.