Ahithophel continues his counsel, and he tells Absalom to let him choose twelve thousand men and pursue David tonight, while he is weary and discouraged. He says he will throw them into a panic and all the people will flee. All he needs to do is kill David and everyone else will “be at peace” and fall in line. It was very sound advice and no doubt would be successful. But Absalom calls for the advice of Hushai as well. Hushai compares David and his mighty men to an enraged bear “robbed of her cubs,” and says that even now warriors are ready to strike (verses 7-8). But mostly, he appeals to Absalom’s ego – it should be Absalom gathering all the people of Israel and leading the attack himself, and David would not have a chance.
Absalom and all the elders of Israel decided this was the course to take. Verse 14 says that “the Lord had ordained to defeat the good counsel of Ahithophel, so that the Lord might bring harm upon Absalom.” Ahithophel knew that once this decision was made, and his advice would not be followed, that time would now be on David’s side; and though David’s force was out-numbered (he was without much of the army – see verse 1), Absalom’s forces would be out-matched once these warriors had time to re-group and plan.
Hushai got word to Abiathar and Zadok, and they sent Ahimaaz and Jonathan to warn David and have him cross over the Jordan and re-gather his forces. Time was indeed now on David’s side – and Ahithophel got his house in order and killed himself (verse 23).
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers
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