2 Samuel 17:23
When Ahithophel saw that his advice had not been followed, he saddled his donkey and set out for his house in his hometown. He put his affairs in order and hanged himself. So he died and was buried in his father's tomb.
God Overthrows the Evil Wisdom of the Worldly Wise2 Samuel 17:23
SuicideG. Wood 2 Samuel 17:23
The Suicide of AhithopelB. Dale 2 Samuel 17:23
Hushai's Advice PreferredC. Ness.2 Samuel 17:7-23
The Best CounsellorsManton, Thomas2 Samuel 17:7-23

2 Samuel 17:23. - (GILOH.)
Displeased with the decision of the council (ver. 14), Ahithophel left the city and returned to his own house, whence he had been summoned the day before (2 Samuel 15:12). While Ahimaaz and Jonathan hurried eastward toward the Jordan with their message (the decision of the council being as yet unknown publicly, or its reversal feared), the renowned counsellor rode southward toward Giloh, brooding over what might have been (ver. 2) and what would be; the shadows of night thickening around him (1 Samuel 28:1-10); and the same night (or soon afterwards) "his lamp was put out in darkness" (Proverbs 13:9). "With the deliberate cynicism of a man who had lost all faith, he committed that rare crime in Israel, suicide" (Edersheim). "He was probably not the first man who hanged himself, but he bears the unenviable distinction of being the first whose hanging himself is recorded; and society would have little reason to complain if all who have since sentenced themselves to this doom were as worthy of it as this father of self-suspenders." (Kitto). "So perished the great Machiavelli of that age, the very wisest of the very wise men of this world!" (Delany). We have here -

I. A DISAPPOINTED POLITICIAN. Like many other eminent politicians, he was destitute of religious principles; set his heart upon the world, and had "his portion in this life" (Psalm 17:14); was proud of his own wisdom, ambitious of wealth, fame, honour, and power, and hostile to godliness and godly men; the leading mind of the ungodly party in Israel. "He had no regard either to the ways of God or the laws of God. Providence made no part of his plan. He considered with great sagacity how he was to act; but he never considered how God would act; and therefore all his wise designs must have been very defective. The rich man said, 'I shall want room for my stores,' etc. But the Gospel calls him a fool, for not considering that God might call him out of the world that night, and that then all his schemes of happiness and prosperity would die with him. Such is he who is wise without God; and such was this Ahithophel" (Jones of Nayland). We now see him under the influence of:

1. Wounded pride, frustrated ambition, and, probably, ungratified malice (ver. 1). The rejection of his counsel was regarded by him as a personal affront, and a fatal blow to his position and prospects; for "he had been impelled by nothing else than a mad ambition, so that life itself became insupportable when the attainment of the position he had hankered after proved insufficient to satisfy his desires" (Ewald). He would be revenged on Absalom himself, by leaving him to pursue his own course.

2. Unavoidable fear of the disgrace, infamy, and punishment that awaited him. For, by the adoption of Hushai's counsel, he foresaw that all was lost, and that David would live and reign. Although he had the "Roman" courage (or rather, cowardice and impatience) to face death, he had not courage enough to face disaster.

"He's not valiant that dares die;
But he that boldly bears calamity."

3. Bitter remorse, desperation, and despair. "Perhaps he now began to see for the first time that, as he had been against God, God was against him, and, according to the prayer of David, was turning his counsel into foolishness. Under this calamity, what had he to support him? Nothing but that policy of a wicked man which never supported anybody long. In the trouble of a righteous man there is hope; but in the trouble of the wicked there is none. And, for a man like him, there is no refuge but in despair" (Psalm 7:15, 16).

II. A DELIBERATE CRIME. "And put his household in order," etc.; i.e. "he settled his affairs, he made his will, as a person of sound mind and memory; as he would have done if death had been coming upon him in a natural way." He did not commit the deed in an outburst of passion, but with deliberation and forethought. Suicide is often due to insanity, and without blame (except in so far as it is induced by previous misconduct); but in his case there is no indication of it; nor was there the same justification or the same extenuation of guilt as in other cases (Judges 16:30; 1 Samuel 31:4, 5). Whatever may have been the measure of his culpability, suicide is a crime:

1. Against a man himself; a violation of the law of self-preservation written upon his nature.

2. Against society. "Nor can any case be put which is not concluded under sin by the peculiar injury or general mischief" (Paley, 'Sermons').

3. Against God, who has "fixed his canon 'gainst self-slaughter" (Exodus 20:13); who has committed life to men as a trust; and whose will in relation to it is intimated in various ways. "In every society where the Christian and old Pythagorean idea of life, as a talent and a trust, is unknown or forgotten, and where its value is measured by enjoyment, suicide will be likely to become common" (Thirlwall, 'Letters to a Friend'). It is "a complication of ingratitude, contempt of the Lord's gift of life, defiance, impatience, pride, rebellion, and infidelity" (Scott; Wardlaw, 'Sys. Theol.'). "What a mixture do we find here of wisdom and madness!" (Hall). "Thus he displayed the miserable infatuation of worldly policy" (Wordsworth). Under the light which the gospel sheds upon the present and the future, the act of the self-destroyer is rendered peculiarly criminal and awful.

III. A DREADFUL RETRIBUTION. (2 Samuel 12:10-12.) The course of sin on which he had entered was attended (as it ever is in others) by most baneful effects on himself, and ended in destruction; the culmination at once of his sin and of his punishment. He became:

1. His own tormentor; rushing against impassable barriers, and bringing upon himself irreparable misery.

2. His own tempter; being urged onward by inward impulses to further transgression.

3. His own executioner; inflicting with his own hand the extreme penalty of the law; a retribution more dreadful than when inflicted. by the direct stroke of Heaven (2 Samuel 6:6-8) or the hands of other men (2 Samuel 4:12; 2 Samuel 18:7, 14). "The wages of sin is death" (Proverbs 14:32). "Thus it falleth out that wicked counsel doth chiefly redound to the hurt of the author thereof" (Wilier). Like Judas, Ahithophel went to "his own place" (Acts 1:25).

IV. AN ADMONITORY END; the consideration of which should lead to:

1. The conviction of the enormous evil of suicide; which may exert a preserving influence in an hour of temptation.

2. The abhorrence of the principles which induce its commission, and the avoiding of every sinful way. The sinner is a self-destroyer (Hosea 13:9).

3. The cherishing, with renewed earnestness, of the opposite principles of humility, faith, patience, godliness, uprightness, charity, etc. "If the affections are violently set upon anything in this world, whether fame, wealth, or pleasure, and are disappointed, then life becomes insupportable. Therefore, the moral is this: 'Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.'" - D.

And when Ahithophel saw that his counsel was not followed.
As in Ahithophel's ease, the most subtle counsels of evil men are often most unexpectedly overthrown. It was so with the men who plotted against Daniel, Jeremiah, and Mordecai. So the Armada was overthrown in the days of Queen Elizabeth, though it had been planned in the most deliberate and sagacious manner. So the invasion of England by Napoleon the First came to nought, though a most consummate tactician was directing it.

Abiathar, Abigail, Absalom, Ahimaaz, Ahithophel, Amasa, Ammiel, Ammonites, Arkite, Barzillai, Dan, David, Hushai, Ithra, Jesse, Jether, Joab, Jonathan, Machir, Nahash, Shobi, Zadok, Zeruiah
Bahurim, Beersheba, Dan, En-rogel, Gilead, Jerusalem, Jordan River, Lo-debar, Mahanaim, Rabbah, Rogelim
Advice, Ahithophel, Buried, Counsel, Died, Donkey, Father's, Followed, Got, Hanged, Home, Hometown, Order, Saddled, Tomb
1. Ahithophel's counsel is overthrown by Hushai's
15. Secret intelligence is sent unto David
23. Ahithophel hangs himself
25. Amasa is made captain
27. David at Mahanaim is furnished with provisions

Dictionary of Bible Themes
2 Samuel 17:23

     4633   donkey
     5067   suicide
     5241   burial
     5331   hanging
     5340   house
     5485   punishment, legal aspects
     9050   tombs
     9614   hope, results of absence

2 Samuel 17:21-23

     5779   advice

"The King Kissed Barzillai. " 2 Sam. xix. 39
And no wonder, for David could appreciate a real man when he saw him, and so does David's Lord. I.--LOYALTY IS PRECIOUS TO THE KING OF KINGS. In the days when the son of Jesse had but few friends, it was a precious thing to be treated in the style Barzillai and his neighbours entertained him (see 2 Sam. xvii. 27-29). They were rich farmers, and had land which brought forth with abundance, so were able to act with princely hospitality to the fugitive monarch. But plenty may live with avarice, and
Thomas Champness—Broken Bread

The Nations of the South-East
Israel was cut in two by the Jordan. The districts east of the Jordan were those that had first been conquered; it was from thence that the followers of Joshua had gone forth to possess themselves of Canaan. But this division of the territory was a source of weakness. The interests of the tribes on the two sides of the river were never quite the same; at times indeed they were violently antagonistic. When the disruption of the monarchy came after the death of Solomon, Judah was the stronger for the
Archibald Sayce—Early Israel and the Surrounding Nations

BY REV. GEORGE MILLIGAN, M.A., D.D. "There is nothing," says Socrates to Cephalus in the Republic, "I like better than conversing with aged men. For I regard them as travellers who have gone a journey which I too may have to go, and of whom it is right to learn the character of the way, whether it is rugged or difficult, or smooth and easy" (p. 328 E.). It is to such an aged traveller that we are introduced in the person of Barzillai the Gileadite. And though he is one of the lesser-known characters
George Milligan—Men of the Bible; Some Lesser-Known

In addition to the psalms already considered, which are devoted to the devout contemplation of nature, and stand in close connection with David's early days, there still remains one universally admitted to be his. The twenty-ninth psalm, like both the preceding, has to do with the glory of God as revealed in the heavens, and with earth only as the recipient of skyey influences; but while these breathed the profoundest tranquillity, as they watched the silent splendour of the sun, and the peace of
Alexander Maclaren—The Life of David

David and Jonathan's Son
'And David said, is there yet any that is left of the house of Saul, that I may shew him kindness for Jonathan's sake? 2. And there was of the house of Saul a servant whose name was Ziba. And when they had called him unto David, the king said unto him, Art thou Ziba? And he said, Thy servant is he. 3. And the king said, Is there not yet any of the house of Saul, that I may shew the kindness of God unto him? And Ziba said unto the king, Jonathan hath yet a son, which is lame on his feet. 4. And the
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

Mr. John Bunyan's Dying Sayings.
OF SIN. Sin is the great block and bar to our happiness, the procurer of all miseries to man, both here and hereafter: take away sin and nothing can hurt us: for death, temporal, spiritual, and eternal, is the wages of it. Sin, and man for sin, is the object of the wrath of God. How dreadful, therefore, must his case be who continues in sin! For who can bear or grapple with the wrath of God? No sin against God can be little, because it is against the great God of heaven and earth; but if the sinner
John Bunyan—The Works of John Bunyan Volumes 1-3

Letter xxxvi (Circa A. D. 1131) to the Same Hildebert, who had not yet Acknowledged the Lord Innocent as Pope.
To the Same Hildebert, Who Had Not Yet Acknowledged the Lord Innocent as Pope. He exhorts him to recognise Innocent, now an exile in France, owing to the schism of Peter Leonis, as the rightful Pontiff. To the great prelate, most exalted in renown, Hildebert, by the grace of God Archbishop of Tours, Bernard, called Abbot of Clairvaux, sends greeting, and prays that he may walk in the Spirit, and spiritually discern all things. 1. To address you in the words of the prophet, Consolation is hid from
Saint Bernard of Clairvaux—Some Letters of Saint Bernard, Abbot of Clairvaux

King of Kings and Lord of Lords
And He hath on His vesture and on His thigh a name written, K ING OF K INGS AND L ORD OF L ORDS T he description of the administration and glory of the Redeemer's Kingdom, in defiance of all opposition, concludes the second part of Messiah Oratorio. Three different passages from the book of Revelation are selected to form a grand chorus, of which Handel's title in this verse is the close --a title which has been sometimes vainly usurped by proud worms of this earth. Eastern monarchs, in particular,
John Newton—Messiah Vol. 2

Tiglath-Pileser iii. And the Organisation of the Assyrian Empire from 745 to 722 B. C.
TIGLATH-PILESER III. AND THE ORGANISATION OF THE ASSYRIAN EMPIRE FROM 745 to 722 B.C. FAILURE OF URARTU AND RE-CONQUEST Of SYRIA--EGYPT AGAIN UNITED UNDER ETHIOPIAN AUSPICES--PIONKHI--THE DOWNFALL OF DAMASCUS, OF BABYLON, AND OF ISRAEL. Assyria and its neighbours at the accession of Tiglath-pileser III.: progress of the Aramaeans in the basin of the Middle Tigris--Urartu and its expansion into the north of Syria--Damascus and Israel--Vengeance of Israel on Damascus--Jeroboam II.--Civilisation
G. Maspero—History Of Egypt, Chaldaea, Syria, Babylonia, and Assyria, V 7

Alike from the literary and the historical point of view, the book[1] of Samuel stands midway between the book of Judges and the book of Kings. As we have already seen, the Deuteronomic book of Judges in all probability ran into Samuel and ended in ch. xii.; while the story of David, begun in Samuel, embraces the first two chapters of the first book of Kings. The book of Samuel is not very happily named, as much of it is devoted to Saul and the greater part to David; yet it is not altogether inappropriate,
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament

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