2 Samuel 16:15-17:29: Who are you listening to?
Absalom is king in Jerusalem. With him are two wise advisors who formerly served David—Ahithophel and Hushai. Unknown to Absalom, Hushai is acting as a spy and saboteur for David. Ahithophel’s first advice to Absalom is to shame David by publicly sleeping with his concubines. Absalom does this on the roof of the palace, the very place where David first saw Bathsheba. This act fulfills Nathan’s prophecy of David’s punishment (see 2 Samuel 12:11-12).
The question then facing Absalom was whether to pursue David immediately, or to consolidate his power before finding David. Ahithophel advises immediate pursuit, while Hushai reminds Absalom of the strength of David’s fighters and so suggests marshaling his forces before attacking. The Lord (who is in control throughout this story) moves Absalom to reject the wise advice of Ahitophel and to accept the delay Hushai suggested. This allows Hushai to get a message to David warning him to flee the country while there is time. David does and is assisted by several foreigners. Meanwhile, Ahithophel is so distraught because his counsel was ignored that he hangs himself, thus depriving Absalom of a wise advisor.
God of wisdom, give us the courage to listen to wise advice.
DR. GARY HOLLOWAY
Gary Holloway is Executive Director of the World Convention. Holding degrees from Freed-Hardeman, Harding, The University of Texas, and Emory University, he has written or edited thirty books, including (with Douglas Foster) Renewing God’s World: A Concise Global History of the Stone-Campbell Movement from ACU Press. He is married to Deb Rogers Holloway.