Mephibosheth — exterminator of shame; i.e., of idols. (1.) The name of Saul’s son by the concubine Rizpah (q.v.), the daughter of Aiah. He and his brother Armoni were with five others “hanged on a hill before the Lord” by the Gibeonites, and their bodies exposed in the sun for five months (2 Sam. 21:8–10). (2.) The son of Jonathan, and grandson of Saul (2 Sam. 4:4). He was but five years old when his father and grandfather fell on Mount Gilboa. The child’s nurse hearing of this calamity, fled with him from Gibeah, the royal residence, and stumbling in her haste, the child was thrown to the ground and maimed in both his feet, and ever after was unable to walk (19:26). He was carried to the land of Gilead, where he found a refuge in the house of Machir, the son of Ammiel, at Lo-debar, by whom he was brought up.
Some years after this, when David had subdued all the adversaries of Israel, he began to think of the family of Jonathan, and discovered that Mephibosheth was residing in the house of Machir. Thither he sent royal messengers, and brought him and his infant son to Jerusalem, where he ever afterwards resided (2 Sam. 9).
When David was a fugitive, according to the story of Ziba (2 Sam. 16:1–4) Mephibosheth proved unfaithful to him, and was consequently deprived of half of his estates; but according to his own story, however (19:24–30), he had remained loyal to his friend. After this incident he is only mentioned as having been protected by David against the vengeance the Gibeonites were permitted to execute on the house of Saul (21:7). He is also called Merib-baal (1 Chr. 8:34; 9:40). (See ZIBA.)