Useful Bible Studies > 2 Samuel Commentary > chapter 16

Absalom sleeps with the concubines of David, his father

2 Samuel 16:20-22

Absalom’s chief adviser was Ahithophel. It seems that Absalom often asked several people for advice. However, he expected Ahithophel to give his advice, and the other advisers to agree with Ahithophel. Ahithophel’s advice seemed as wise as a message from God, in the opinion of Absalom (16:23). For that reason, Ahithophel saw that he had the power to persuade Absalom to do some very evil things.

In particular, Ahithophel wanted to do something that would bring shame upon David. That was because, in Ahithophel’s opinion, David had brought great shame to Ahithophel’s family. In chapter 11, David took Ahithophel’s grand-daughter, Bathsheba, from her husband (11:3, 23:34). David slept with her, and she had his baby.

Ahithophel saw that David had left 10 of his concubines to look after the palace (15:16). These women were maids whom David had accepted as wives of lower rank. They should have been safe in the women’s part of the palace.

Absalom was a young man with great energy and ambition. It was not hard for Ahithophel to persuade him to sleep with these women. Absalom would benefit from this cruel act, Ahithophel said. At the present time, everyone liked Absalom – but they did not hate David. However, if Absalom offended David in this way, they would have to make their choice. They would have to support Absalom against David, because Absalom was already in complete control of their country.

Absalom carried out this act in public, in a tent on the roof of the palace. God had said that this would happen (12:11-12). It happened in the same place where David first saw Bathsheba (11:2-3).

Next part: Ahithophel's great wisdom (2 Samuel 16:23)


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