II Samuel 16:15 - 17:23

Sunday, September 27th, 2015

AHITHOPHEL'S COUNSEL

VERSUS HUSHAI'S COUNSEL

INTRODUCTION:

God always keeps His word.

I remind you of what the Lord said after David had committed adultery and murder -

II Samuel 12:11-12 - (11) Thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house, and I will take thy wives before thine eyes, and give them unto thy neighbour, and he shall lie with thy wives in the sight of this sun. (12) For thou didst it secretly: but I will do this thing before all Israel, and before the sun.

I also remind you of -

Joshua 1:8 - This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.

Had David obeyed Joshua 1:8 , he would not have committed adultery and murder.

Had David, who was a Jew, obeyed Joshua 1:8 , he would not have married a Gentile woman.

II Samuel 3:3 - And his second [i.e. And David's second son was], Chileab, of Abigail the wife of Nabal the Carmelite; and the third, Absalom the son of Maacah the daughter of Talmai king of Geshur.

Absalom's mother was a Gentile.

Had David obeyed Joshua 1:8 , he would have disciplined his children.

Deuteronomy 6:4-9 - (4) Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God is one Lord: (5) And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. (6) And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: (7) And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. (8) And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. (9) And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.

Proverbs 22:6 - Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

Had David obeyed Joshua 1:8 , he would have punished Absalom after Absalom murdered Amnon.

Genesis 9:6 - Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.

Numbers 35:33 - So ye shall not pollute the land wherein ye are: for blood it defileth the land: and the land cannot be cleansed of the blood that is shed therein, but by the blood of him that shed it.

Deuteronomy 17:18-20 - (18) And it shall be, when he [i.e. the king] sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write him a copy of this law in a book out of that which is before the priests the Levites: (19) And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear the Lord his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them: (20) That his heart be not lifted up above his brethren, and that he turn not aside from the commandment, to the right hand, or to the left: to the end that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he, and his children, in the midst of Israel.

Had Absalom obeyed Joshua 1:8 , he would not have been disobedient, proud, a murderer, and rebellious against his father.

In II Samuel 16:15-17:23 we see that God always keeps His word.

As background for our text for today, I remind you of II Samuel 15:10-37 -

II Samuel 15:10-37 - 10 But Absalom sent spies throughout all the tribes of Israel, saying, As soon as ye hear the sound of the trumpet, then ye shall say, Absalom reigneth in Hebron. 11 And with Absalom went two hundred men out of Jerusalem, that were called; and they went in their simplicity, and they knew not any thing. 12 And Absalom sent for Ahithophel the Gilonite, David's counsellor, from his city, even from Giloh, while he offered sacrifices. And the conspiracy was strong; for the people increased continually with Absalom. 13 And there came a messenger to David, saying, The hearts of the men of Israel are after Absalom. 14 And David said unto all his servants that were with him at Jerusalem, Arise, and let us flee; for we shall not else escape from Absalom: make speed to depart, lest he overtake us suddenly, and bring evil upon us, and smite the city with the edge of the sword. 15 And the king's servants said unto the king, Behold, thy servants are ready to do whatsoever my lord the king shall appoint. 16 And the king went forth, and all his household after him. And the king left ten women, which were concubines, to keep the house. 17 And the king went forth, and all the people after him, and tarried in a place that was far off. 18 And all his servants passed on beside him; and all the Cherethites, and all the Pelethites, and all the Gittites, six hundred men which came after him from Gath [i.e. someone who is from the city of Gath is known as a Gittite], passed on before the king. 19 Then said the king to Ittai the Gittite, Wherefore goest thou also with us? return to thy place, and abide with the king: for thou art a stranger, and also an exile. 20 Whereas thou camest but yesterday, should I this day make thee go up and down with us? seeing I go whither I may, return thou, and take back thy brethren: mercy and truth be with thee. 21 And Ittai answered the king, and said, As the LORD liveth, and as my lord the king liveth, surely in what place my lord the king shall be, whether in death or life, even there also will thy servant be. 22 And David said to Ittai, Go and pass over. And Ittai the Gittite passed over [the brook Kidron which was on the east side of Jerusalem], and all his men, and all the little ones that were with him. 23 And all the country wept with a loud voice, and all the people passed over: the king also himself passed over the brook Kidron, and all the people passed over, toward the way of the wilderness. 24 And lo Zadok also, and all the Levites were with him, bearing the ark of the covenant of God: and they set down the ark of God; and Abiathar went up, until all the people had done passing out of the city. 25 And the king said unto Zadok, Carry back the ark of God into the city: if I shall find favour in the eyes of the LORD, he will bring me again, and shew me both it, and his habitation: 26 But if he thus say, I have no delight in thee; behold, here am I, let him do to me as seemeth good unto him. 27 The king said also unto Zadok the priest, Art not thou a seer? return into the city in peace, and your two sons with you, Ahimaaz thy son, and Jonathan the son of Abiathar. 28 See, I will tarry in the plain of the wilderness, until there come word from you to certify me [i.e. to inform me]. 29 Zadok therefore and Abiathar carried the ark of God again to Jerusalem: and they tarried there. 30 And David went up by the ascent of mount Olivet [which was just east of Jerusalem], and wept as he went up, and had his head covered, and he went barefoot: and all the people that was with him covered every man his head, and they went up, weeping as they went up. 31 And one told David, saying, Ahithophel is among the conspirators with Absalom. And David said, O LORD, I pray thee, turn the counsel of Ahithophel into foolishness. 32 And it came to pass, that when David was come to the top of the mount [i.e. the top of the Mount of Olives], where he worshipped God, behold, Hushai the Archite [i.e. What's an Archite? Its like a Chicagoan, a New Yorker, or a Floridian. Hushai was from the town of Archi] came to meet him with his coat rent [i.e. with his outer garment torn], and earth upon his head: 33 Unto whom David said, If thou passest on with me, then thou shalt be a burden unto me: 34 But if thou return to the city, and say unto Absalom, I will be thy servant, O king; as I have been thy father's servant hitherto [i.e. previously, in the past], so will I now also be thy servant: then mayest thou for me defeat the counsel [i.e. advice] of Ahithophel. 35 And hast thou not there with thee Zadok and Abiathar the priests? therefore it shall be, that what thing soever thou shalt hear out of the king's house, thou shalt tell it to Zadok and Abiathar the priests. 36 Behold, they have there with them their two sons, Ahimaaz Zadok's son, and Jonathan Abiathar's son; and by them ye shall send unto me every thing that ye can hear. 37 So Hushai David's friend came into the city, and Absalom came into Jerusalem.

I. ABSALOM ALLOWS HIMSELF TO BE DECEIVED - 16:15-19

II Samuel 16:15-19 - (15) And Absalom, and all the people the men of Israel, came to Jerusalem, and Ahithophel with him. (16) And it came to pass, when Hushai the Archite, David's friend, was come unto Absalom, that Hushai said unto Absalom, God save the king, God save the king [i.e. God save King Absalom]. (17) And Absalom said to Hushai, Is this thy kindness to thy friend [by which he means, Is this your kindness to David]? why wentest thou not with thy friend? [i.e. Why did you not go with David? He was understandably suspicious of Hushai because of Hushai's previous connection with David. He should have stuck with his suspicion.] (18) And Hushai said unto Absalom, Nay; but whom the Lord, and this people, and all the men of Israel, choose, his will I be, and with him will I abide. (19) And again, whom should I serve? should I not serve in the presence of his son [i.e. David's son, Absalom]? as I have served in thy father's presence, so will I be in thy presence.

Absalom apparently wanted to believe that both of his father's counsellors (or advisors), Ahithophel and Hushai, would serve him as they had served his father. This was not so. Hushai was there for the purpose of counteracting Athithophel's advice. The Lord would lead Absalom to trust the advice from the wrong advisor.

II. ABSALOM SEEKS ADVICE FROM AHITHOPHEL - 16:20, 23

II Samuel 16:20 - Then said Absalom to Ahithophel, Give counsel among you what we shall do. [note that you is plural - I find it curious but am not sure why you is plural. Might it be that Ahithophel was the leader of a group of advisors and was being called upon to give Absalom the consensus of these advisors rather than just giving his own opinion? This is the best idea I have at this time regarding why you is plural].

Who was Ahithophel?

Ahithophel had formerly been David's counsellor

II Samuel 15:12 - And Absalom sent for Ahithophel the Gilonite, David's counseller [i.e. advisor], from his city, even from Giloh, while he offered sacrifices. And the conspiracy was strong; for the people increased continually with Absalom.

Ahithophel's advice was regarded as the voice of God.

II Samuel 16:23 - And the counsel [i.e. the advice] of Ahithophel, which he counselled [i.e. which he gave] in those days, was as if a man had inquired at the oracle of God [i.e. as if he had inquired of the word of God]: so was all the counsel [or advice] of Ahithophel both with David and with Absalom.

He was the father of Eliam. Now, you probably don't remember who Eliam was, do you? He's not mentioned very often in the Scripture.. A couple of verses in II Samuel will clarify this for us.

We see in II Samuel 23:34 that Eliam was the son of Ahithophel.

II Samuel 23:34 - Eliphelet the son of Ahasbai, the son of the Maachathite, Eliam the son of Ahithophel the Gilonite.

What's more, in II Samuel 11:3 we see that Uriah the Hittite married Bathsheba the daughter of Eliam.

II Samuel 11:3 - And David sent and inquired after the woman. And one said, Is not this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?

This means that Ahithophel was the grandfather of Bathsheba.

As a result of David's sin with Bathsheba, it appears that Ahithophel hated David. This made him unreliable as an advisor to David because he had a hidden agenda.

III. AHITHOPHEL ADVISES ABSALOM - 16:21

II Samuel 16:21 - And Ahithophel said unto Absalom, Go in unto thy father's concubines, which he hath left to keep the house; and all Israel shall hear that thou art abhorred of thy father [i.e. hated by your father]: then shall the hands of all that are with thee be strong.

His advice - Go in unto your father's concubines.

His purpose was to make Absalom hated by his father in order to make the rebellion strong.

IV. ABSALOM FOLLOWS AHITHOPHEL'S ADVICE - 16:22

II Samuel 16:22 - So they spread Absalom a tent upon the top of the house; and Absalom went in unto his father's concubines in the sight of all Israel.

This would be an evidence to the people that Absalom had succeeded his father David as king of Israel.

V. GOD FULFILLED HIS WORD TO DAVID - II Samuel 12:11

David brought this on himself as a result of his committing adultery with Bathsheba and of his having Uriah her husband murdered.

Remember II Samuel 12:7-12 -

II Samuel 12:7-12 - 7 And Nathan said to David, Thou art the man. Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, I anointed thee king over Israel, and I delivered thee out of the hand of Saul; 8 And I gave thee thy master's house, and thy master's wives into thy bosom, and gave thee the house of Israel and of Judah; and if that had been too little, I would moreover have given unto thee such and such things. 9 Wherefore hast thou despised the commandment of the LORD, to do evil in his sight? thou hast killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and hast taken his wife to be thy wife, and hast slain him with the sword of the children of Ammon. 10 Now therefore the sword shall never depart from thine house; because thou hast despised me, and hast taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be thy wife. 11 Thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house, and I will take thy wives before thine eyes, and give them unto thy neighbour, and he shall lie with thy wives in the sight of this sun. 12 For thou didst it secretly: but I will do this thing before all Israel, and before the sun.

Galatians 6:7 - Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.

I Corinthians 11:30-32 - (30) For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. (31) For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. (32) But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.

Absalom, following Ahithophel's ungodly advice, has just committed a despicable act intended to drive a wedge between him and his father David forever; and Ahithophel gives additional advice to Absalom.

We see -

VI. AHITHOPHEL'S ADDITIONAL ADVICE - 17:1-4

II Samuel 17:1-4 - (1) Moreover Ahithophel said unto Absalom, Let me now choose out twelve thousand men, and I will arise and pursue after David this night: (2) And I will come upon him while he is weary and weak handed, and will make him afraid: and all the people that are with him shall flee; and I will smite the king only: (3) And I will bring back all the people unto thee: the man whom thou seekest is as if all returned: so all the people shall be in peace. (4) And the saying pleased Absalom well, and all the elders of Israel.

Actually, it appears that this counsel was good. It boils down to this: we had better go after David while he is fleeing before he gets organized. If we can get to him before he can get organized, we have a chance at winning. Once he gets organized, however, it will be all over for us.

VII. HUSHAI'S ADVICE - 17:5-13

Remember that Hushai is in Jerusalem for the purpose of counteracting the advice of Ahithophel who was also advising Absalom.

II Samuel 17:5-13 - (5) Then said Absalom, Call now Hushai the Archite also, and let us hear likewise what he saith. (6) And when Hushai was come to Absalom, Absalom spake unto him, saying, Ahithophel hath spoken after this manner: shall we do after his saying? if not; speak thou. (7) And Hushai said unto Absalom, The counsel that Ahithophel hath given is not good at this time. (8) For, said Hushai, thou knowest thy father and his men, that they be mighty men, and they be chafed [i.e. angry, enraged] in their minds, as a bear robbed of her whelps [i.e. of her cubs] in the field: and thy father is a man of war, and will not lodge with the people. (9) Behold, he is hid now in some pit, or in some other place: and it will come to pass, when some of them [i.e. some of the twelve thousand men whom Ahithophel volunteered to lead] be overthrown at the first, that whosoever heareth it will say, There is a slaughter among the people that follow Absalom. (10) And he also that is valiant [i.e. a brave soldier who is supportive of Absalom], whose heart is as the heart of a lion [i.e. no matter how brave he is], shall utterly melt [suggesting will melt with fear]: for all Israel knoweth that thy father is a mighty man, and they which be with him are valiant men. (11) Therefore I counsel that all Israel be generally gathered unto thee, from Dan even to Beersheba, as the sand that is by the sea for multitude; and that thou go to battle in thine own person. (12) So shall we come upon him in some place where he shall be found, and we will light upon him as the dew falleth on the ground: and of him and of all the men that are with him there shall not be left so much as one. (13) Moreover, if he be gotten into a city, then shall all Israel bring ropes to that city, and we will draw it into the river, until there be not one small stone found there.

God gave Hushai the Archite the opportunity to give his counsel.

Ahithophel had already advised Absalom to go after David immediately.

Hushai also believed, like Ahithophel, that David's best hope for surviving this attempted takeover of his kingdom was to buy enough time to enable David to get away safely and to get organized.

Hushai, therefore, to counteract Ahithophel's advice, recommended that Absalom delay his pursuit of David until Absalom could get everyone from the entire nation of Israel organized to pursue David. In the process, several assumptions were made. One big assumption was that the entire nation would join him in rebelling against David. Another big assumption was that God would enable him to be successful in his efforts.

VIII. AHITHOPHEL'S ADVICE IS DEFEATED - 17:14

II Samuel 17:14 - And Absalom and all the men of Israel said, The counsel [i.e. advice] of Hushai the Archite is better than the counsel [i.e. advice] of Ahithophel. For the Lord had appointed to defeat the good counsel [i.e. the good advice] of Ahithophel, to the intent that the Lord might bring evil upon Absalom.

Isn't it interesting that God would use Absalom to punish David and would then bring evil upon Absalom for the things Absalom did. This is not an uncommon pattern. God often used someone as an instrument of chastisement upon His people and then punishes the one who afflicted the chastisement because of what he did. It goes to show that the instrument was permitted to do what he did and was not forced against his will to do it. In other words, Absalom chose to do what he did; and God used it to accomplish something which would be good in the life of David. At the same time, Absalom of his own determination and deliberate choice was guilty of doing wrong to God's servant David, and God would punish him for it. Absalom was not an innocent victim in this thing. He was not some pawn in God's hand who had no other choice in this matter. Absalom could have done what was right. He was not forced against his will to murder Amnon. He was not forced against his will to steal the hearts of the people, and he was not forced against his will to rebel against his father.

IX. HUSHAI'S WARNING TO DAVID - 17:15-22

II Samuel 17:15-22 - (15) Then said Hushai unto Zadok and to Abiathar the priests, Thus and thus did Ahithophel counsel [i.e. advise] Absalom and the elders of Israel; and thus and thus have I counselled [i.e. advised]. (16) Now therefore send quickly, and tell David, saying, Lodge not this night in the plains of the wilderness, but speedily pass over; lest the king be swallowed up, and all the people that are with him [i.e. be swallowed up by Absalom's forces]. (17) Now Jonathan [the son of Abiathar, the priest] and Ahimaaz [the son of Zadok, the priest] stayed by Enrogel; for they might not be seen to come into the city: and a wench [i.e. Do you know what a wench is? She is a female servant] went and told them; and they went and told king David. (18) Nevertheless a lad [i.e. a young man] saw them, and told Absalom: but they went both of them away quickly, and came to a man's house in Bahurim, which had a well in his court; whither they went down [i.e. they went down into the well]. (19) And the woman took and spread a covering over the well's mouth, and spread ground corn thereon [i.e. spread ground grain on it]; and the thing was not known. (20) And when Absalom's servants came to the woman to the house, they said, Where is Ahimaaz and Jonathan? And the woman said unto them, They be gone over the brook of water. And when they had sought and could not find them, they returned to Jerusalem. (21) And it came to pass, after they were departed, that they came up out of the well, and went and told king David, and said unto David, Arise, and pass quickly over the water: for thus hath Ahithophel counselled against you. (22) Then David arose, and all the people that were with him, and they passed over Jordan: by the morning light there lacked not one of them that was not gone over Jordan.

Evasive action became necessary for Ahimaaz and Jonathan. They might have been killed. God does not expect us to be foolish in the way we do things. This was war. If you were to have to go to war some day, you would be well advised to keep your head down when the enemy is shooting at you.

X. AHITHOPHEL'S SUICIDE - 17:23

II Samuel 17:23 - And when Ahithophel saw that his counsel was not followed, he saddled his ass [i.e. his donkey], and arose, and gat him home [i.e. went home] to his house, to his city, and put his household in order, and hanged himself, and died, and was buried in the sepulchre of his father.

It would seem that he understood that the takeover attempt was already doomed to failure because of failure to go after David immediately before he could get organized. He also undoubtedly understood that, when David would emerge victorious from this attempted coup, he would be executed for his role in the rebellion. If you were David, what would you do when you eventually returned triumphantly to Jerusalem? If I were David, I would make certain Ahithophel never had another opportunity to do this again. If I were David, I would also make certain that no one else would want to think about rebelling in the near future.

CONCLUSION:

The situation was never out of God's control. It might have looked very difficult for David, but God would deliver him. God was going to bring this thing to a closure and fairly soon, no matter how bleak it looked.

We need to be living for the Lord in accordance with the Word of God. We need to be trusting Him in the midst of whatever circumstances we encounter along the way. Let's not run ahead, and let's not lag behind.

Let's learn from David's bad example with Bathsheba and Uriah and stay out of sin so that we do not bring problems upon our selves as David did.