2 Samuel 16:15–23
Meanwhile Absalom and all the people, the men of Israel, came to Jerusalem; and Ahithophel was with him. And so it was, when Hushai the Archite, David’s friend, came to Absalom, that Hushai said to Absalom, “Long live the king! Long live the king!”
So Absalom said to Hushai, “Is this your loyalty to your friend? Why did you not go with your friend?”
And Hushai said to Absalom, “No, but whom the LORD and this people and all the men of Israel choose, his I will be, and with him I will remain. Furthermore, whom should I serve? Should I not serve in the presence of his son? As I have served in your father’s presence, so will I be in your presence.”
Then Absalom said to Ahithophel, “Give advice as to what we should do.”
And Ahithophel said to Absalom, “Go in to your father’s concubines, whom he has left to keep the house; and all Israel will hear that you are abhorred by your father. Then the hands of all who are with you will be strong.” So they pitched a tent for Absalom on the top of the house, and Absalom went in to his father’s concubines in the sight of all Israel.
Now the advice of Ahithophel, which he gave in those days, was as if one had inquired at the oracle of God. So was all the advice of Ahithophel both with David and with Absalom.
Absalom’s questioning to Hushai is caustic. He’s more than just suspicious; he’s accusing Hushai of being disloyal. Hushai’s response cleverly diffuses the situation, but notice the hidden ambiguity.
Absalom thinks Hushai is pledging loyalty to him, but Hushai doesn’t actually say that. He pledges loyalty to “whom the LORD and this people and all the men of Israel choose.” Hushai is less ambiguous in the other things he says, but there are still double meanings.
It’s all deception with a pinch of sarcasm.
Then Absalom turns to Ahithophel for advice. His response is to tell Absalom, “Go in to your father’s concubines.” This will fulfill one of Nathan’s prophecies:
Thus says the Lord: ‘Behold, I will raise up adversity against you from your own house; and I will take your wives before your eyes and give them to your neighbor, and he shall lie with your wives in the sight of this sun. — 2 Samuel 12:11
While Ahithophel is known for wisdom, and that reputation is presumably earned, this advice borders on plagiarism. There is no evidence that Nathan’s prophecy was somehow kept secret. It probably wasn’t widely known, but if anyone knows about it, Ahithophel would be one of the ones who did.
Plus, in countless ways, this is terrible advice. He’s recommending unethical behavior for the purpose of offending David. His prediction of how the public will react to this is quite a stretch.
There’s something wrong with this guy. Later events will illuminate that.
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These weekday DEEPs are written by Mike Slay. Saturdays' by Matt Richardson. Subscribe here: https://www.ailbe.org/resources/community
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Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.