Reading through the Bible together
It was a time when people placed the advice of a man on equal position with the word of God (2 Samuel 16:23). When Ahithophel spoke, people thought it was good advice (verse 14), and so did Absalom and all the elders of Israel. A number of shocks are packed in this chapter. The first shock is that the former adviser to David advises Absalom how to go about killing the king (verse 2). Then there is a second shock (verse 4). The plan pleased Absalom and the elders. Elders are normally experienced people and how far must you deteriorate for sober judgment to be impaired?
As it is with dictatorships so it is with monarchies, namely, opposition parties cannot be tolerated, such people must be killed, even it if means killing one’s father. But David had a spy-network that he set up with Hushai remaining in the palace. He was to get information and pass it on to the priests Zadok and Abiathar who would send a woman to their sons Jonathan and Ahimaaz and from there they would go and tell David (verses 15-18). So Hushai was called in by Absalom to hear whether Ahithophel's plan is a good one or not. Hushai disagreed and pointed out that his father is an experienced general and the plan would not work. Now the third shock. Dictators are very unpredictable. Absalom and the men of Israel shifted their thinking and supported Hushai, the loyalist to David, against Ahithophel, the rebel against David. Superstition has lot to do with it since they thought that the Lord had ordained the "good counsel" of Ahithophel to bring disaster on Absalom. To override the Lord, they decide to follow Hushai and not Ahithophel (verse 14).
Jonathan and Ahimaaz risked their lives to tell David to leave and cross the Jordan River. David and the people of Israel with him arose in the night and crossed the Jordan and by daybreak all were on the other side (verse 22). The next shock is the reaction of Ahithophel when he saw that the people did not follow his counsel. He had a chip on the shoulder and thus, suffered the end-result of his manipulative and domineering personality. So he committed suicide (verse 23). (Note: Suicides do not solve problems but only create crying people and months and years of sadness by those who knew the person).
Next, we are shocked to learn that Absalom selected Amasa as general of his army who was the nephew of Joab, the general of David’s army.
Also we are shocked from time to time by those around us. When we look into ourselves we pray that you will remove from us the spirit of manipulation, of control over others, of force, of violence, of the killing of the spirit of free choice of another. Keep our eyes focused on you so that we do not become confused in our judgments. In Jesus name we pray,
Koot van Wyk
Kyungpook National University
Sangju, South Korea