But you can thwart the counsel of Ahithophel for me if you return to the city and say to Absalom: 'I will be your servant, my king; in the past I was your father's servant, but now I will be your servant.'
2 Samuel 15:32-37. - (THE TOP OF MOUNT OLIVET.)References: Joshua 16:2; 2 Samuel 16:16-19; 2 Samuel 17:5-15; 1 Chronicles 27:33; 1 Kings 4:16.) Like Uriah and Ittai, he may have been of Gentile origin and a proselyte; was far advanced in life (ver. 33), "the king's friend" or confidential adviser, and doubtless, in disposition, more congenial with David than the cool and calculating Ahithophel. "In him David saw the first gleam of hope. For warlike purposes he was useless; but of political stratagem he was master. The moment before the tidings had come of the treason of Ahithophel. To frustrate his designs, he was sent back just in time to meet Absalom arriving from Hebron" (Stanley). Notice:
1. His opportune presence; in answer to prayer (ver. 31); at a time of need, when others were unfaithful, trouble oppressed, and danger threatened. A faithful friend is one of Heaven's best gifts. "When friends come to us just at the moment when we want them, and for a purpose which no one else could accomplish as well as they, and for a time which is precisely conterminous with our necessity, it is hard not to look on them as much sent from God as the angels who met Jacob at Mahanaim, or who stood by the open tomb to tell Mary of Christ" (Thorold, 'On the Use of Friends').
"When true friends meet in adverse hour,
2. His genuine sympathy; voluntarily and appropriately expressed; and adapted to cheer and strengthen. "There are eight chief uses in the gift of friendship - viz. counsel, defence, appreciation, correction, society, intercession, aid, sympathy" (2 Samuel 7:1, 2; 1 Samuel 18:1-4).
3. His tested loyalty. Would he prove his fidelity, not by going into exile (ver. 21), but by returning to Jerusalem, professing allegiance to Absalom, endeavouring to frustrate the counsel of Ahithophel, and communicating secretly with David? "The boldness and originality of this step revealed the remarkable genius which, on former occasions, as in the contest with Goliath, had devised methods so original yet simple for the attainment of its object" (Blaikie). This deceptive policy is recorded, but not commended; it was not contrary to the ideas which prevailed among Eastern nations at the time on the subject of veracity; it has been since practised by Christian monarchs, statesmen, and warriors, toward their enemies, in perilous emergencies, as a justifiable stratagem; and often approved, like a skilful choice of weapons in conflict with an enemy, or like a clever move in a game of chess. It ought not, therefore, to be censured in David with undue severity; and "we must not think that the king's religion was a hypocrisy because it did not bear at once the fruit of the spotless honour and unswerving truth that mark the highest forms of Christian goodness" (Plumptre). But such duplicity cannot be justified on the ground of necessity; or that those against whom it is practised may have (like Absalom) "forfeited all the rights of society" (Delany); or that the end which is aimed at is good. In the light of revelation it must be condemned (Leviticus 19:11). "And in this respect we have (in David) a contrast with the Divine Antitype, the Son of David, who in all his sorrows and sufferings retained his holiness, purity, and truth unsullied and undefiled" (Wordsworth).
4. His ready service. (Ver. 37.) He at once complied with the wishes of the king, and evidently without any conception that what he was about to do was morally wrong. "We can hardly excuse his thrusting himself even upon a traitor's confidence in order to play the traitor; though the picture is characteristic of the East; and this is one of many drawbacks which remind us that the Bible embodies an experience and a tone of sentiment which are not always perfect models for the franker races of the West. At least let us remember, though a friend may ask many things of us, he should not ask us to sacrifice the truth and the right; for these are not ours to give him" (R. Williams).
5. His daring courage. Should his treachery be discovered, he might have to pay the penalty with his head.
6. His skilful and prompt activity. (2 Samuel 16:16; 2 Samuel 17:7, 15.)
7. His complete success. (2 Samuel 17:14.) "In justifying the ways of God to men, and admiring the issues of his will, we are in no case obliged to approve actions which have nothing but their success to commend them" (Kitto, 'Cyc.'). - D.
Hushai the Archite came to meet him.
I. WHERE THEY MET. The top of Olivet, where David was worshipping. The use David made of his first halt. When we moan and lament, and go about seeking sympathy in our sorrows, we seldom get it. But God sends comfort to the trusting, accepting heart. Worship is the right way to receive chastisement. (Job 1:20; 2 Samuel 12:19, 20.) So angels came to Bethel and Mahanaim. (Genesis 31:54; Genesis 32:1, 2.) Horses and chariots of fire at Dothan (2 Kings 6:13-18.) Jonathan at Ziph. (1 Samuel 23:15; Acts 9:17,.) Angels in Gethsemane. When a soul in sorrow can worship there is no sting left. David might have been looking down on his forsaken capital now possessed by his enemies, but instead he looked up to his covenant God. What is the highest worship? Conformity to God's will, the worship of Jesus Himself. (Luke 22:42, 43.)
II. TRUE SYMPATHY FROM HUSHAI.
1. It goes to meet sorrow and suffering that it may bless and comfort. Apply this in two cases.(1) Our ordinary friends. Is not our love very often selfish? It does not go to meet, launch out, anticipate. A wholesome thing to ask ourselves, "Is anyone better or happier for me? Is Jesus more glorified to-day?"(2) In divine friendship. We too often shut our eyes to the sin and sorrow around us; afraid to look on it because we don't feel able to cope with it. Go to meet Jesus in it; He is the sorrow-bearer. Go reverently and sympathizingly, and ask what you can do to help Him. There was perfect understanding between David and his friend. Hushai didn't mind what seemed a repulse. We want to help our friends and Jesus, in our own way. Our sympathy becomes therefore importunate and misplaced. The tried friend perhaps does not want us, but wants our prayers or our influence. And with regard to our Lord, our hearts may cry out for His visible presence, "Let me be with Thee where thou art"; but if Jesus has work for us to do in a rebellious world, then must we stay there till He comes back.
III. A MARK OF TRUE FRIENDSHIP. To live, and speak, and judge, and act for God in an ungodly world. It is a harder thing than dying, but it profits the cause. Some day we shall welcome back the King. Another feature of it. (Verses 35, 36.) Be the King's remembrancer. Report everything to Him. Use others in this work. Teach young disciples to "tell Jesus." (Matthew 14:12.)(3) Jesus notices such. Antipas. (Revelation 2:13.) The unknown of Sardis. (Revelation 3:4.)
(R. E. Faulkner.)
I. THE MEETING. There is in the account of this meeting an illustration of how SOMETIMES WE MAY FIND UNEXPECTEDLY USEFUL GUIDANCE. Hushai might have been a useful guide, but Absalom Is bent on evil, and Ahithophel helps him in his wickedness. Hushai only seeks to defeat the evil counsel of the latter. This he attempts for David's sake, as well as Absalom's. Absalom could, if he had been true, have had a most valuable counsellor in Hushai, but, under the circumstances, all Hushai can do is to endeavour to help David, or to give him time to escape, by counselling delay on the part of Absalom. Life is like a many-tracked common or heath; so many paths run side by side or cross each other at different angles. We pass numberless wanderers like ourselves, but here and there we meet casually with some one who is most useful, because he chances to know the direction of the paths, and a word at a perplexing juncture is invaluable. For such guidance we are thankful. Absalom had in Hushai one who would have done his best to counsel him for good, but his heart was set on evil, so that Hushai's influence was unavailing.
II. A WARNING also came to the rebellious son in that, meeting. If David yesterday was followed, loved, and trusted, and is to-day forsaken and hunted, so might he be served when the flush of success has faded. Absalom needed the warning just then, for he was contemplating most dastardly crimes. Just as Hushai meets him unexpectedly, so retribution may meet him also, at the point where he seems to have reached the full extent of his expectation of success. There is indeed that which a French writer calls force cachee, or hidden power, checking us often at the very moment of success wrongly gained. It is not always noticed, but sometimes it comes, startling us with its suddenness. Ahab goes down to seize the vineyard of Naboth, and at the door Elijah meets him with the sentence, "In the place where dogs licked the blood of Naboth, shall dogs lick thy blood, even thine" The courtiers who wrought against Daniel were themselves doomed to the death they designed for him. If in secular history we discover the operation of this force cachee, how much more in sacred. There the working of the law is laid down thus: "The wicked shall fall by his own naughtiness;" the ungodly falls into the net he spreads for his neighbour's feet. Absalom in meeting wish Hushai comes in contact with one who will lead him into the pit be had dug for his father and king. There was a Divine hand in this, and in the after consultation, when the advice of Ahithophel failed, and that of Hushai was taken. God worked through words.
PeopleAbiathar, Absalom, Ahimaaz, Ahithophel, Aram, Arkite, Cherethites, David, Gittites, Hushai, Israelites, Ittai, Jonathan, Kerethites, Levites, Pelethites, Zadok
PlacesAram, Gath, Geshur, Giloh, Hebron, Jerusalem, Kidron, Mount of Olives
TopicsAble, Absalom, Ab'salom, Advice, Ahithophel, Ahith'ophel, Ahithophel's, Counsel, Defeat, Designs, Effect, Father's, Frustrating, Hast, Hitherto, Mayest, O, Past, Return, Servant, Thwart, Town, Turn, Void, Wilt, Yours
Outline1. Absalom, by fair speeches and courtesies, steals the hearts of Israel.
7. By pretense of a vow, he obtains leave to go to Hebron
10. He makes there a great conspiracy
13. David upon the news flees from Jerusalem
19. Ittai will leave him
24. Zadok and Abiathar are sent back with the ark
30. David and his company go up mount Olivet weeping,
31. He curses Ahithophel's counsel
32. Hushai is sent back with instructions
Dictionary of Bible Themes2 Samuel 15:31-34
LibraryA Loyal Vow
'And the king's servants said unto the king, Behold, thy servants are ready to do whatsoever my lord the king shall appoint.'--2 SAMUEL xv. 15. We stand here at the darkest hour of King David's life. Bowed down by the consciousness of his past sin, and recognising in the rebellion of his favourite son the divine chastisement, his early courage and buoyant daring seem to have ebbed from him wholly. He is forsaken by the mass of his subjects, he is preparing to abandon Jerusalem, and to flee as an …
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture
Ittai of Gath
Pardoned Sin Punished
Loyal to the Core
The Will of God
A Light to Lighten the Gentiles
The Daily Walk with Others (iii. ).
And V the Kingdom Undivided and the Kingdom Divided
That Whereas the City of Jerusalem had Been Five Times Taken Formerly, this was the Second Time of Its Desolation. A Brief Account of Its History.
King of Kings and Lord of Lords
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