As David and his followers were leaving, David told Zadok, one of the chief priests (Abiathar was the other): “‘If the Lord sees fit,’ David said, ‘He will bring me back to see the Ark and the Tabernacle again. But if He is through with me, then let Him do what seems best to Him” (II Samuel 15:25a-26, NLT).
But David wasn’t resigning himself to death or exile. “The king also told Zadok the priest, ‘Look, here is my plan. You and Abiathar should return quietly to the city with your son Ahimaaz and Abiathar’s son Jonathan. I will stop at the shallows of the Jordan River and wait there for a report from you.’ So Zadok and Abiathar took the Ark of God back to the city and stayed there” (II Samuel 15:27-29). David didn’t want to be left in the dark; he wanted to know what was happening with Jerusalem and with his son Absalom.
“David walked up the road to the Mount of Olives, weeping as he went. His head was covered and his feet were bare as a sign of mourning. And the people who were with him covered their heads and wept as they climbed the hill. When someone told David that his adviser Ahithophel was now backing Absalom, David prayed, ‘O Lord, let Ahithophel give Absalom foolish advice!’” (II Samuel 15:30-31). David didn’t give up; he prayed for God’s intervention.
“When David reached the summit of the Mount of Olives where people worshiped God, Hushai the Arkite was waiting there for him. Hushai had torn his clothing and put dirt on his head as a sign of mourning. But David told him, ‘If you go with me, you will only be a burden. Return to Jerusalem and tell Absalom, ‘I will now be your adviser, O king, just as I was your father’s adviser in the past.’ Then you can frustrate and counter Ahithophel’s advice. Zadok and Abiathar, the priests, will be there. Tell them about the plans being made in the king’s palace, and they will send their sons Ahimaaz and Jonathan to tell me what is going on” (II Samuel 15:32-36).
Hushai was one of David’s most trusted advisers. David knew that he would be far more useful to him if he acted as David’s eyes and ears “in the king’s palace.” “So David’s friend Hushai returned to Jerusalem, getting there just as Absalom arrived” (II Samuel 15:37). David had a few dependable friends who would keep him apprised of Absalom’s activities.
And remember Miphibosheth, the crippled grandson of Saul that David had spared? “Mephibosheth, who was crippled in both feet, lived in Jerusalem and ate regularly at the king’s table” (II Samuel 9:13). Where was he during all this commotion?
“When David had gone a little beyond the summit of the Mount of Olives, Ziba, the servant of Mephibosheth, was waiting there for him. He had two donkeys loaded with 200 loaves of bread, 100 clusters of raisins, 100 bunches of summer fruit, and a wineskin full of wine” (II Samuel 16:1).
“‘What are these for?’ the king asked Ziba. Ziba replied, ‘The donkeys are for the king’s people to ride on, and the bread and summer fruit are for the young men to eat. The wine is for those who become exhausted in the wilderness” (II Samuel 16:2).
“‘And where is Mephibosheth, Saul’s grandson?’ the king asked him. ‘He stayed in Jerusalem,’ Ziba replied. ‘He said, ‘Today I will get back the kingdom of my grandfather Saul’” (II Samuel 16:3).
“‘In that case,’ the king told Ziba, ‘I give you everything Mephibosheth owns’” (II Samuel 16:4a).
Ah, those pesky rumors. Had Mephibosheth really turned his back on David?
If you want to know the truth, as the old saying goes, you need to go straight to the source. David needed to do that, and so do you. Just because I wrote it doesn’t mean it’s true. Read your Bible; know the Word for yourself.
We’ll find out more about Ziba and Mephibosheth later.