MembersBiblical Judgments: When the Law Contradicts Justice

What did King David do when his obligation to uphold the law clashed with his desire and duty to do justice?

By Avshalom Kapach | | Topics: Bible
The legal challenges presented in the Bible continue to inform our modern judicial systems. Photo: Flash90

Some legal situations that appear in the Bible demonstrate the need for the court to take a position and judge regarding complicated situations. The legal debates incorporated in biblical stories illuminate the ways in which the legal system solves problems in its societal and historical context. Here is one example.

King David, after establishing the Kingdom of Israel, sought out the descendants of his good friend Jonathan to show them favor. Ziba, who had previously served as King Saul’s steward, informed King David that Jonathan son of Saul had only one surviving descendant.

“Jonathan son of Saul had a son who was lame in both feet. He was five years old when the news about Saul and Jonathan came from Jezreel. His nurse picked him up and fled, but as she hurried to leave, he fell and became crippled. His name was Mephibosheth.” (2 Samuel 4:4)

King David invited Mephibosheth to come to him. The king then opened the palace before him – insisting he always eat at the king’s table and be numbered among those close to the...

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