ZIBA
(zai' buh) HEBREW: SIBA
"planting" or "branch"
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Ziba may have been a lying opportunist who stole a crippled man's only means out of town just before an invasion. Or he may have been unselfishly devoted to King David. From the record, it is hard to tell.

When David asked whether there was anyone left of Saul's family to whom he could show kindness "for Jonathan's sake" (2 Sam. 9:1), Ziba directed the king to Mephibosheth, the lame son of Jonathan and the grandson of Saul. David then gave Mephibosheth all of Saul's property and ordered Ziba, Saul's former servant, to manage the land and have his family work it.

Near the end of David's reign, when the king's son Absalom staged a coup and marched on Jerusalem, Ziba brought food and a string of donkeys so the king and his officials could flee to safety. When David asked why Mephibosheth was not joining them, Ziba replied, "He remains in Jerusalem; for he said, 'Today the house of Israel will give me back the kingdom of my father'" (2 Sam. 16:3). Furious, David gave all of Mephibosheth's property to Ziba.

After the coup failed, Ziba and his family rushed to meet the king. Close behind was Mephibosheth. To express his sorrow over David's flight, Mephibosheth had not put on shoes, washed his clothes, or trimmed his beard since the king left Jerusalem. When David asked why he had stayed behind, Mephibosheth said, "My servant deceived me" (2 Sam. 19:26). He further charged that Ziba had not only refused to saddle a donkey for him so he could escape with David, but had rushed to slander him before the king. David, either unable to decide whom to believe or regretting his earlier award but still appreciative of Ziba's help in the crisis, divided the property between the two.

{E2 Dictionary of Biblical People}

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