This morning I was puzzled by the actions of Ahithophel. If you remember, he was David’s most trusted advisor when David ruled his kingdom. Ahithophel’s counsel was so highly regarded, it was as thought his words came directly from God (2 Sam.16:23)! But, he is the same man who became a traitor to David when he helped to lead the revolt by David’s son Absalom! In fact, notice what his counsel was to Absalom as David and his men fled for their lives in 2 Sam. 17:1-3,
“Moreover, Ahithophel said to Absalom, ‘Let me choose twelve thousand men, and I will arise and pursue David tonight. I will come upon him while he is weary and discouraged and throw him into a panic, and all the people who are with him will flee. I will strike down only the king, and I will bring all the people back to you as a bride comes home to her husband. You seek the life of only one man, and all the people will be at peace.’”
What had gone so wrong between David and Ahithophel that he hated David to the point that he joined the rebellion and volunteered to be the one to kill the king?
Unfortunately, the text does not answer this question directly. Was he one of those guys who just wanted to be connected to the new man in power? I don’t think so. As I contemplated this question I found two verses that I think give great clarity as to what went wrong between David and Ahithophel and why he wanted David’s head. Notice what it says in the following two verses,
“And David sent and inquired about the woman. And one said, ‘Is not this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?’” (2 Sam. 11:3)
“Eliam the son of Ahithophel of Gilo.” (2 Sam. 23:34)
Eliam was the son of Ahithophel and Bathsheba was Eliam’s daughter which means Ahithophel was the grandfather of Bathsheba! WOW! Now this whole story makes sense!
What went wrong between David and Ahithophel? David’s sin against his granddaughter and the killing of her husband! Ahithophel was waiting for a chance to make David pay and supporting Absalom gave him that opportunity.
The more I have thought about this the more these facts fit the story. Why was David secretly trying to figure out what to do with the the pregnancy of Bathsheba? I think it could be because he was trying to hide this information from Ahithophel! At the time, I don’t think he was worried about Uriah (obviously because he had him killed), or what the people of the nation would think of him. I think it is very possible that he was afraid of how Ahithophel would react to his actions. It appears then that Ahithophel was enraged at what David had done to his family and he wanted to make David pay.
Father, your Word has amazing truth in it. The story of Ahithophel is not something to be read without trying to put ourselves in that setting to understand what was going on. Ahithophel was a real person with real feelings. He was enraged at what David had done to his granddaughter and her husband. He wanted to get even! His anger was out of control.
This story also shows the foolishness of sin and how self-centered our will is. At any cost, David wanted his way with Bathsheba. At any cost Ahithophel wanted revenge. Father, help me to see the foolishness of sin and make me aware of my self-centeredness so that I remain under your leadership and do not try to have my way at any cost.
Following Jesus with you,