Before the election of President Trump, the title of this THOUGHT was an unknown commodity. Possibly no one had ever even heard of the term before. Now, it seems, as if the term is heard practically every day. But the concept is actually not a new thing, but goes back a couple of thousands of years. There is a classic account of it found in 2 Samuel 16. Ziba, the servant of Mephibosheth, comes to King David with some physical provisions and a report that his master had forsaken the king.
To understand what transpires in 2 Samuel 16:1-4, you need to know a little background. David has been king in Jerusalem for a while. He replaced King Saul (who was killed in battle) who was very jealous of David. Customarily, when a man from a different family replaced a king, he saw to it that none of the former king’s relatives would interfere with his new administration. Usually this was done by having all the former king’s relatives killed. But David had a love and respect for Saul’s son, Jonathan, who was killed with Saul in battle. Out of that love he looked for some way of being gracious to the family. Jonathan had a son, Mephibosheth, who was paralyzed in both. David not only restored all of Saul’s property to Mephibosheth, but also made provision for him to eat at David’s table for the rest of his life. Ziba was commissioned to farm Mephibosheth’s property and to bring the produce to Mephibosheth. In essence, Ziba got nothing out of all the grace to Mephibosheth but instead, extra work.
It’s probable that Ziba resented David’s grace to his master and now saw an opportunity to gain for himself. The kingdom was in turmoil. Absalom, David’s son, was rebelling against his father and seeking to usurp the throne. David was on the run and Ziba took advantage of the situation. With the declaration of fake news, David awarded all of Mephibosheth’s property to Ziba’s ownership. But the truth of the matter is not uncovered until later, when David puts down the rebellion, and returns to the throne in Jerusalem. Upon his arrival he is met by Mephibosheth. David asks why he did not leave with him when the rebellion began. It turns out that Ziba had lied to Mephibosheth as well, saying that he was going for some transportation, which he never intended to do (2 Samuel 19:24-30).
There is only one reason why fake news has been able to survive all these years- people don’t bother to investigate the reports and simply believe it. Possibly David had thought that Ziba was a man of integrity and that he would never try to deceive. After all, Ziba had just ministered to David’s physical needs so he must be loyal to him. How could a man who is so thoughtful be deceptive? Possibly David simply had no time (or at least he thought he had none) to investigate the declaration and made a quick decision based on what seemed reasonable. After all, who wouldn’t want to be king? And so, without the facts, David awards all of Mephibosheth’s property to Ziba. Ziba goes away happy; David goes away heartbroken and truth just goes away.
Of course we know that anything found on the internet or anything that is broadcast on our favorite news network is the absolute truth. Consequently, when we see or hear anything that agrees with our philosophy of life, we must perpetuate it on Facebook without verifying its truthfulness. And when we do, we are probably making the same mistake that David made with Ziba. The claims found in Scripture are unlike those proffered by man. God delights when man investigates the veracity of His claims (John 5:39), for He knows His word is true (John 17:17). That is why when Jesus arose from the dead, He showed Himself alive with many infallible proofs (Acts 1:3). Now, that’s news worth believing and perpetuating!