Did David break a promise?

John from Florida asks, “In 2 Samuel 21, David hands over the sons of Saul to the Gibeonites to be put to death. One of those mentioned was Mephibosheth. Was this Jonathan’s son Mephibosheth, or was there another? If it is, why would David break his promise?”

John, thank you for your question and I appreciate the way you carefully and diligently read God’s Word.

There are two different Mephibosheths mentioned in 2 Samuel 21:7-9. The passage starts with God affirming that David did in fact spare Mephibosheth the son of Jonathan, “because of the oath of the LORD that was between them” (2 Samuel 21:7).

David was true to his word to both Jonathan and to God.

Mephibosheth mentioned in verse 8 is the son of Saul by his concubine Rizpah and he was one of the seven put to death.

While it may be confusing to us, it is common in the Bible for genealogies and families to have repeated names in their lineage; this is one of those examples.

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