Surely by now he is hiding in a cave or some other location. If some of your troops fall first, whoever hears of it will say, 'There has been a slaughter among the troops who follow Absalom.'
2 Samuel 17:1-14. - (JERUSALEM.)2 Samuel 16:20); and took possession of the harem, "the first decided act of sovereignty" (subsequently he was also solemnly anointed, 2 Samuel 19:10, probably by Zadok and Abiathar). "Absalom's next step was to endeavour his father's destruction, in the conviction that his own throne would never be secure so long as he lived. The son had no relentings. He had knowingly subjected himself to the inevitable necessity of taking his father's life, and he only desired to learn how that object might be most effectually secured. A council was held on this question, and it is the first cabinet council to which history admits us. It was doubtless conducted in the same form as other royal councils; and, from the instance before us, it appears that the members who had anything to suggest, or rather such as the king called upon for their opinion, described the course they thought best suited to the circumstances" (Kitto, 'Daily Bible Illust.'). It was the turning point of the revolt (Psalm 92:7-9); and in it we see -
I. A RENOWNED COUNSELLOR urging promptitude with oracular wisdom. "And Ahithophel said," etc. (vers. 1-5; 2 Samuel 15:31); "this night" (2 Samuel 16:14; vers. 2, 16); instant action being, in his view, necessary to the accomplishment of the death of David and the success of the revolution. His counsel was the result of an unerring judgment, expressed with the utmost confidence, and thoroughly adapted (ver. 14, "good counsel") to effect its end. It was worthy of his great reputation. Extraordinary human wisdom is sometimes:
1. Employed against the servants of God and against his kingdom, of which they are the most conspicuous representatives. "This wisdom descendeth not from above," etc. (James 3:15).
2. Stimulated, in its exercise, by personal hatred toward them. "I will smite the king only" (perhaps exulting in the prospect of inflicting vengeance with his own hand).
3. Fraught with deadly peril to them (ver. 4). David himself, as he came "wearied and weak handed" to the plain of the Jordan and rested there, knew not yet his imminent danger and "marvellous escape" (1 Samuel 23:24-28). "But a higher power than the wisdom of the renowned Gilonite guided events." The Lord is the Defence of his people; and his promise concerning his Church is that "the gates (counsels) of Hades shall not prevail against it."
II. A RIVAL ORATOR advising delay with plausible arguments. "And Hushai said," etc. (vers. 7-13). "He was not a member of the council; but he had been well received by Absalom, whose greater treachery against his father made him give ready credence to the pretended treachery of his father's friend. It was at Absalom's suggestion that he was called in, and, being informed of the course Ahithophel had advised, he saw at once the danger that this course threatened to David; and, in fulfilment of his mission to defeat this man's counsel, he advanced divers reasons against it, all tending to delay" (Kitto). "It would not only ward off David's present danger, but would also, as Tacitus observes, give ill men time to repent, and the good to unite" (Delany). His counsel was the result of a profound acquaintance with human nature, and given with a persuasive eloquence equal to his wisdom. Advice favourable to God's servants:
1. Is often given in unlikely places, among their adversaries and by persons unsuspected of sympathy with them (Acts 5:38).
2. Derives its power from the selfish dispositions of the ungodly themselves: their fears (vers. 8-10) and their vainglory (vers. 11-14). Hushai's speech was "full of a certain kind of boasting which pleased the younger men" (Clericus).
3. Succeeds far beyond what might have been naturally expected, in making wisdom appear foolishness (vers. 4, 14).
III. AN INFATUATED USURPER adopting a policy fatal to his own designs. His decision was the result of:
1. His misjudgment of the effect of delay upon the nation; for he did not consider that "only the discontented part of the people formed the kernel of the insurrection, that no small portion still remained true to David, and that another part, now for the moment fallen away, would return after the first fit of revolution had passed" (Erdmann).
2. His over confidence in his power and success.
3. His love of personal display (his ruling passion). "The new made king gave the preference to a proposal which promised him, at any rate for a few days, the enjoyment of complete repose and the gratifications of his high position" (Ewald).
4. But herein the sacred historian indicates (what so often appears in the Books of Samuel) the overruling providence of God (1 Samuel 2:1-10; 1 Samuel 9:1-25; 1 Samuel 31:7-10; 2 Samuel 1:19) which:
(1) Pervades all thoughts and actions of men; all places and events. In the council chamber of Absalom, where there seemed to be nothing but godless ambition, political wisdom, and "the strife of tongues," there was an unseen presence, observing, directing, controlling all. "The king's heart," etc. (Proverbs 21:1).
(2) Employs (without approving) the cunning craftiness of some men to check and punish that of others.
(3) "Permits evil to work out its own consequences, and the wicked to entangle themselves in their own snares, that he may reveal his justice and holiness in the self-condemnation and self-destruction of the power of evil" (ver. 23; 2 Samuel 18:7, 14). "When God is contriving misfortunes for man, he first deprives him of his reason" (Euripides). - D.
And Hushai said unto Absalom.
I. Hushai's grand design was first to INVALIDATE THE PERILOUS COUNSEL ACHITOPHEL HAD GIVEN, before he gave his own opinion he hereupon discovers the danger of Achitophel's advice from three topics.
1. The first is taken from the valour of David, which he amplifies by a similitude of a bear robbed of her whelps.
2. The second argument m taken from the policy and prudence of David, as the first is from his courage and valour.
3. His third argument or topic is a periculoso from the dangerous consequences of this expedition of Achitophel's. (ver. 9, 10.)
II. When Hushai had thus invalidated Achitophel's counsel, THEN HE PRODUCETH AND INTRODUCETH HIS OWN TO Absalom, and partly contrary and partly congruous and consentaneous to that of Achitophel's. (vers. 11, 12, 13.)
1. Hushai's counsel was contrary to that of Achitophel's in three respects.(1) In respect of time; not in the night as he hath advised, seeing night-works are not only hazardous, but also no way glorious works, we scorn to steal a victory in the dark, let us fight David in clear-daylight that the sun may behold the valour and victory of our invincible army.(2) The second respect is, Let not so small an handful as twelve thousand (according to his advice) be employed, but a mighty host made up of all Israel, from Dan to Beersheba, &c.(3) And the third respect is, Thou thyself shalt go general of this numerous army, for thy presence will put life into thy soldiers, to fight lustily in the fight of their King, who bath power to punish or reward them according to their merit or demerit; beside the glory of the victory (which now Achitophel seeks to have to himself) shall be wholly thine by thy going in person to the battle.
2. Mark, it was congruous as to the effect, the same in the end with that Achitophel now had advised, to wit, the destruction of David, and of his despicable company, saying, David shall not be able to defend himself neither.(1) In the open field, for we will fall upon him there, as the dew falleth upon the field, so largely, so suddenly, and so irresistibly upon all sides, as the drops of dew are innumerable: Nor(2) Shall he be safe in, a fortified city, for we will bring ropes to it and draw it (and David in it) into the river, &c., so drown him, and all his, &c. Hushai's whole oration was wholly accommodated to the ambitious humour of a vain-glorious prince, all along stuffed with the bombast of hyperbolical flourishes, both to fill up its own emptiness, and to puff up Absalom's proud mind with heading and leading a mighty army, &c. Hushai in his thrasonical expressions puts himself into the number of the actors of this tragedy, saying [So shall we come upon him, &c.] as if he had said [I will be one of the first of them,] that he might not seem to come short of Achitophel, who had offered Absalom his service both as a counsellor, and as a commander, and [We will not. leave so much as one, &c.] This is opposed to Achitophel's promise (v. 2.) that in no point he might seem to fall behind him, so is he the sooner believed. Whatever Hushai with all his florid flatteries pretended, yet his main design intended was, that David might gain more time to increase his army, and to prepare for the battle, and that the present paroxism or heat of the people being cooled by such delays (as Absalom's raising so vast an army did necessarily require) many of David's subjects might at last bethink themselves of returning to their right allegiance, and thereby upon better consideration join to strengthen the Father's forces against his unnatural rebellious son. In all these harangues both of Acbitophel and of Hushai, there is not one word of counselling Absalom to ask counsel of God, God was not in all their thoughts. (Psalm 10:4.) Indeed Hushai purposely put Absalom upon trusting in an arm of flesh (a numberless number of soldiers) which he knew would bring a curse upon him (Jeremiah 17:5), and therefore he pusheth him forward to be present in the fight to fetch in his own fall, &c. This counsel of Hushai was better approved of by Absalom and his courtieers than that of Achitophel, because the Lord purposed it should be foiled and defeated (ver. 13, 14.)
III. HOW GREAT IS THE POWER OF FAITHFUL PRAYER; David had prayed, Lord, turn Achitophel's counsel into folly. Achitophel's counsel is rejected as foolish counsel, David's prayer of faith and fervency was answered over and over again; for
1. Achitophel's counsel was folly itself (2 Samuel 16:21.)
2. 'Tis here refused as such; and
3. he died as a fool (ver. 28.)
IV. ACHITOPHEL'S COUNSEL WAS INFRINGED HERE BY A DOUBLE MEANS,
1. by human help, namely, by Hushai's prudence and policy, humouring an ambitious bigot to his own destruction, well knowing that his insolent temper would best be flushed up with flourishing flatteries, and
2. by a Divine hand, God giving Absalom up to believe lies, and so hasten his own end.
( T. Manton..)
PeopleAbiathar, Abigail, Absalom, Ahimaaz, Ahithophel, Amasa, Ammiel, Ammonites, Arkite, Barzillai, Dan, David, Hushai, Ithra, Jesse, Jether, Joab, Jonathan, Machir, Nahash, Shobi, Zadok, Zeruiah
PlacesBahurim, Beersheba, Dan, En-rogel, Gilead, Jerusalem, Jordan River, Lo-debar, Mahanaim, Rabbah, Rogelim
TopicsAbsalom, Ab'salom, Absalom's, Attack, Behold, Cave, Caves, Certainly, Commencement, Cover, Destruction, Fall, Fallen, Falling, Falls, Follow, Hearer, Heareth, Hearing, Hears, Hid, Hidden, Hole, Overcome, Overthrown, Pass, Pit, Pits, Places, Secret, Slaughter, Troops
Outline1. 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 Themes2 Samuel 17:9
Library"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
David and Jonathan's Son
Mr. John Bunyan's Dying Sayings.
Letter xxxvi (Circa A. D. 1131) to the Same Hildebert, who had not yet Acknowledged the Lord Innocent as Pope.
King of Kings and Lord of Lords
Tiglath-Pileser iii. And the Organisation of the Assyrian Empire from 745 to 722 B. C.
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