Mephibosheth’s Other Name

Ner was the father of Kish, Kish of Saul, Saul of Jonathan, Malchi-shua, Abinadab and Eshbaal; and the son of Jonathan was Merib-baal; and Merib-baal was the father of Micah. The sons of Micah: Pithon, Melech, Tarea, and Ahaz. Ahaz fathered Jehoaddah, and Jehoaddah fathered Alemeth, Azmaveth, and Zimri. Zimri fathered Moza. Moza fathered Binea; Raphah was his son, Eleasah his son, Azel his son. Azel had six sons, and these are their names: Azrikam, Bocheru, Ishmael, Sheariah, Obadiah, and Hanan. All these were the sons of Azel. The sons of Eshek his brother: Ulam his firstborn, Jeush the second, and Eliphelet the third. The sons of Ulam were men who were mighty warriors, bowmen, having many sons and grandsons, 150. All these were Benjaminites. 1 Chronicles 8:33-40.

This is one of those places where it seems there is a discrepancy in the Bible, but it turns out more interesting than that. This record calls Jonathan’s only son “Merib-baal” instead of Mephibosheth, as it appears in 2 Samuel 4:4. It may be that he was renamed later. It happened sometimes, when someone “made a name for himself.” It may be that he was renamed what means “dispeller of shame” because honor was restored to his family through him. His grandfather had been on God’s bad side throughout most of his reign and died rather ignobly in battle . But as Mephibosheth he became King David’s friend and had many warrior decendants.

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