Yesterday, we learned of Hushai, who remained loyal to David, and Ahithophel, who defected to Absalom, whose counsel was esteemed as if one consulted the word of God. In chapter 17 these counselors play a defining role as Hushai and Ahithophel jockey for Absalom’s ear.
At the outset, Ahithophel recommends that he himself command a force to overtake and destroy David while he is on the run. This idea seemed great to Absalom but Hushai, whom David had instructed to play the spy, counters. “Wait,” he tells Absalom, until all Israel has rallied to you, then go out yourself and strike a decisive blow.
Pay attention to the author’s observation that the LORD had ordained to defeat the good counsel of Ahithophel, so that the LORD might bring harm upon Absalom. Once again we see deception – one intended to bring destruction – not just engineered by men but being used as an instrument by the LORD. The LORD has, in this instance, revealed His preference of David over Absalom, and He’s willing to manipulate Absalom’s heart – just as He manipulated Pharaoh – to fulfill His purposes.
This advice – along with his advance warning to David – gives David’s forces crucial time to escape across the Jordan and regroup. The coup ‘d’état explodes into civil war, as forces loyal to Absalom engage David’s army, and the loss was great on that day. And though David had ordered his commanders to “deal gently for my sake with the young man Absalom,” the king’s son faces a humiliating, violent end.
It’s always important to pay attention to where the author focuses his time. Nearly half of chapter 18 is committed to describing how David learned of Absalom’s death. The detail here is tenfold greater than that used to describe the battle where thousands died. It might be appropriate to slowly grasp that image of David, sitting between the two gates, earnestly wondering “Is it well with the young man Absalom?”
Our verse for this week is John 14:6: “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
2 Samuel chapters 17 and 18. Now let’s read it!
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.