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Ziba (biblical figure)

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Title: Ziba (biblical figure)  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Mephibosheth, Books of Samuel, David
Collection: Books of Samuel, David, Hebrew Bible People, Servants
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Ziba (biblical figure)

Illustration from the Morgan Bible of David fleeing Jerusalem. Ziba is on the right, bringing David provisions.

Ziba (ציבא) is a character in 2 Samuel in the Hebrew Bible. He was a servant of Saul, and then later of Saul's grandson, Mephibosheth.

Ziba is mentioned in three places. In 2 Samuel 9, David speaks to him and tells him how Mephibosheth will be his master. In 2 Samuel 16, when David flees Jerusalem after Absalom's conspiracy, Ziba comes to David with provisions, and claims Mephibosheth has broken faith with David. David responds by giving all that belonged to Mephibosheth to Ziba instead. Finally, in 2 Samuel 19, when David returns to Jerusalem, Mephibosheth tells David that Ziba had been lying. David responds by saying "You and Ziba shall divide the land."

David seems not to know whom to believe, but most commentators have concluded that Ziba was lying in order to "make himself appear to be the only loyal subject worthy of David's benefactions, and of title to Saul's property."[1]

Ziba had fifteen sons, and although he was a servant of the house of Saul, he had twenty servants of his own (2 Samuel 9:10).


  1. ^ Robert Alter, The David Story (New York: W. W. Norton, 2000), p. 291.
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