The servant of Saul’s household from whom David, on inquiry, learned of Jonathan’s lame son Mephibosheth. David brought Mephibosheth to Jerusalem and made Ziba, his fifteen sons and twenty servants, all care for Mephibosheth’s inheritance. (2 Sam. 9:2-12 [The reference to “my table” in verse 11 is generally thought to be a scribal error for “David’s table”; another possibility is that Ziba may have been repeating David’s exact words.]) When David fled from Jerusalem on account of Absalom’s rebellion, Ziba brought him much needed supplies of food and animals. However, he left Mephibosheth behind even though he wanted to come, and told David that Mephibosheth deliberately stayed in Jerusalem, expecting to recover the kingdom for Saul’s house. In response, David transferred Mephibosheth’s property to Ziba.—2 Sam. 16:1-4.
When David returned after the rebellion was crushed, Ziba was among the early ones to greet the king. Then Mephibosheth met David, welcomed him back, and informed him of Ziba’s trickery and slander. This caused David to modify his mind about the property. In the light of these new developments, David now decided that the property should be divided between Mephibosheth and Ziba, and in this way he would be acknowledging Mephibosheth’s loyalty, while at the same time not forgetting Ziba’s services and supplies. Mephibosheth, however, declared: “Let him [Ziba] even take the whole, now that my lord the king has come in peace to his house.”—2 Sam. 19:17, 24-30.