This is the second and concluding part of the two-part series on the counsel of Ahithophel. I heartily urge you to read Part 1 before reading this, as that’ll help you to understand better.
In 2 Samuel 17:23 we are told that “... when Ahithophel saw that his counsel was not followed, he saddled his ass, and arose, and gat him home to his house, to his city, and put his household in order, and hanged himself, and died, and was buried in the sepulchre of his father.”
One would wonder if a man as insightful and foresightful as Ahithophel could not see that it was vain fighting against the Lord’s anointed. Given how David outwitted King Saul and dealt with his other enemies, would it not have been easy for Ahithophel to predict such an epilogue? Or maybe he was thinking that without him, David was finished seeing that he was the master strategist.
I think It was Euripides or other ancient Greek writers that used the saying, Quos Deus cult perdere, prima dementat (whom the gods want to destroy they first make mad). In 2 Samuel 17:14, we see that “… God had ordained to thwart the good advice of Ahithophel so that the Lord could bring disaster upon Absalom.”
Ahithophel contracted the infection of madness; maybe mad with pride or vengeance, or with whatever Absalom had promised him, that he failed to properly decipher the signals; the God of heaven wanted to disgrace his ability and finally dislodge the usurper Absalom.
Epilogue: lessons from the story of Ahithophel
There are many lessons we can learn from the story of Ahithophel but I’ll limit myself to only a few. You may add yours in the comment section as we learn together:
*Revenge can be a drive that nothing can stop, not even decades-old friendship nor loyalty to established authority.
*A vengeful man can act calm for years until he gets the opportunity to strike. Opportunity is a true revealer of intentions. Absalom wanted the throne but for Ahithophel, it was something more personal.
*An evil ambitious man has no limits as to what he will do to achieve his goals, no matter how odious the act may appear. He will act on evil counsels just to reach the peak.
*Ahithophel felt that the entire world revolved around him and his counsels. Without him, David was nothing and without him, Absalom won’t get to the throne, he thought. Maybe he wasn’t used to his counsels been discarded for other views. It’s not always about you – stop taking things personally.
*It is always the enemy within that tells the enemy without how to get in and when to strike. It is the rat inside that tells the rat outside that there’s fish in the house and there’s a hole at the backdoor for entrance. We see that with Delilah against Samson. And with Judas against Jesus. Ravening wolves in sheep’s clothing!
*In spite of the betrayal by Ahithophel, we still see someone like Hushai who remained faithful to David despite the hopeless situation. In the midst of disappointments and hurt from trusted friends, please look around for Hushai. You’ll always find him standing by you and willing to put his life in jeopardy to see you rise again.
*Prayers work. The prayers of David defeated the counsel of Ahithophel. But he also acted by sending Hushai into the enemies camp. Prayers plus divine strategies, that’s a good combination.
*David understood that Hushai would be more helpful being with Absalom than staying with him. They both planned it, and Hushai left to contradict the pernicious counsel of Ahithophel. Know your team and understand when to deploy each for a specific function.
*When God is at work, even the counsel of wise men is set at nought, and a contrary counsel is preferred. God blinds the wicked so that even wise counsels are not followed through.
*Ahithophel understood that if the plan of Hushai was carried out, David would escape. And if David survived, it’ll be difficult for his head to remain on his shoulders for long. So, he preferred to terminate his existence on earth prematurely. The same way Judas terminated his after betraying Jesus for thirty pieces of silver. Who knows if they asked for forgiveness from God before committing suicide. Such is the end of betrayers.
*Even the wisdom of the wise shall not deliver them when they come against the children of God. Any counsel against the righteous will fail irrespective of who the counsellor is.
*The Bible records that Ahithophel quickly ran home to narrate all he had done to his family. And when he died, his family members gave him a befitting burial in the sepulchre of his father. Something tells me his family was aware from the onset of his treacherous acts or at least were briefed on his ways when the rebellion began. And just like in many cases, behind an evil man is an evil family.
*When we begin to think that our wisdom is ours and we can use them how we want and for whatever purpose we wish, then our counsels are bound to fail.
*Ahithophel turned from being an Oracle of God to an Oracle of satan. To frustrate his counsel, Hushai had to tap into the Source of all wisdom. And quite frankly, the perspective of Hushai seemed very reasonable, although it was a ploy to save David.
*God sometimes leaves the gifts He has given to us even when we backslide from our godly state. So, functioning in our gifts doesn’t guarantee that we are still in God’s will. Only holiness and obedience before God and peace with men guarantee eternal abode with God, not the display of gifts.
*What a wasted life! What a sad way to end the story of a man who was full of wisdom, tact and insight! The preferred counsellor of David was humiliated. In Proverbs 11:4b, we learn that the deviousness of crooks brings them to ruin.
*Ahithophel actually means “Brother of ruin” or “folly.” This is a sharp contrast to the man who is regarded as an Oracle of God. You see, when you come to God, He changes your name from Jacob to Israel. But when you wax strong and forget Him as Jeshurun did, He reminds you that your name was Ahithophel when He first picked you.
Kindly add your inferences and make sure to share with friends and acquaintances if you found this article helpful.
God bless you and see you tomorrow with another dose of inspiration.
Scriptural references – 2 Samuel 13 – 17.