Absalom is goaded on by the seemingly expert advice of Ahithophel, David’s ex-adviser. Ahithophel is brave, decisive, and totally persuasive, even when he coolly counsels the death of the king. And Absalom falls for it all (vv.1-4). But he wants one other opinion, and Hushai is suddenly forced to think on his feet. He’s boxed into a corner, as speaking against the opinion of Absalom and his new right-hand man is highly dangerous. His advice is a masterstroke in seeking to avert bloodshed (vv.7-14). And the king buys it (v.14). Notice, too, that God’s hand is against Absalom, steering his choice of advice for his own eventual downfall. Both the king’s and the would-be king’s hearts are in the Lord’s hand (v.15, see Prov. 21.1).
Hushai quickly gets word to David’s men, since he doesn’t know if Absalom will take his advice or not. There are close calls recorded, but David and his men manage to escape Absalom (vv.17-22). Ahithophel realises that he’s never going to grab power with Absalom, now that his plan has been rejected, so with military efficiency he goes home and takes his life (v.23). David’s men are safe, for now, and grateful for every kindness they receive (vv.24-29).
This chapter is a slice of the affairs of men, their ambitions, risks, danger, decisions and outcomes. A slice of your life or mine might look far less exciting, but the main elements are all there. True in their lives and ours is the hand of God. He guides even corrupt advisers, works out His purposes, and protects His children. In a world like ours, we really need to be sure of this. Life is hard for us all, and our best hopes are often broken. Our good news is that God in Christ loves us, and knows the very number of hairs on our heads. More than that, He has promised to bring us safely to glory. Trust Him.
A Prayer to Pray
Heavenly Father, as David knew and said, You are my shield and my glory, and the One who lifts up my head. May Your Spirit press these truths into my hearts on sad and difficult days. Be my peace, and my strength. Amen.