ZIBA

ZIBA
ZIBA (Heb. צִיבָא), servant of the house of saul , probably the official keeper of the household. Ziba informed david about the whereabouts of mephibosheth , the lame son of jonathan , when David sought to locate the surviving members of the house of Saul in order to show them kindness or to put them under surveillance (II Sam. 9:1–4). Ziba was appointed   the land administrator of Saul's private property which David restored to Mephibosheth. Consequently Ziba's household of 15 sons and 20 servants became servants of Mephibosheth (II Sam. 9:9ff.). When David was forced to flee Jerusalem during Absalom's rebellion, he was greeted by Ziba with essential food supplies (II Sam. 16:1ff.). Ziba made David believe that his master Mephibosheth willingly remained in the city in the hope that the throne would be restored to him (II Sam. 16:3). Consequently David transferred all of Mephibosheth's possessions to Ziba on the spot, as it was customary for kings to do with a rebel's property. After Absalom's rebellion was suppressed, Ziba recrossed the Jordan ahead of the king, and may have been of help in persuading the Benjamites to come to welcome David at the Jordan (II Sam. 19:18–19). Mephibosheth was also among those who came to greet the king, and he exposed his servant's duplicity to David, by explaining that he had intended to join David in his flight and that Ziba, taking advantage of his lameness, had made off with the already saddled asses. David, prompted by a feeling of gratitude to Ziba on one hand and a belief in the integrity of Mephibosheth's account on the other, ruled that Saul's property should be divided equally between the two (II Sam. 19:25ff.).

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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