Useful Bible Studies > 2 Samuel Commentary > chapter 17

Ahithophel advises Absalom to kill David at once

2 Samuel 17:1-5

Absalom had made himself king of Israel, and he had taken Jerusalem, the capital city, without a battle. David and a few thousand of his supporters had escaped. That night, they camped in the valley of the river Jordan, about 20 miles (30 kilometres) from Jerusalem.

Ahithophel was Absalom’s chief adviser. Formerly, he had advised David, and he was famous for his wisdom. David had prayed that God would provide a way to defeat Ahithophel’s advice (15:31). Otherwise, Ahithophel’s evil plans would make Absalom even more powerful and wicked (16:20-21).

In this situation, Ahithophel’s advice to Absalom was that he should not delay. On the previous night, Absalom’s 12,000 soldiers had marched the 20 miles (30 kilometres) from Hebron to Jerusalem. Tonight, Absalom must send them out again. David and his supporters were tired and weak after their sudden escape from Jerusalem (16:14). They had not had time to make plans to defend themselves. Absalom’s men would surprise them with a sudden attack.

It would not even be necessary to fight a proper battle. The task for Absalom’s men was to kill just one man: King David. When David was dead, Absalom’s control over Israel would be complete. Even David’s supporters would accept Absalom’s rule. The soldiers now with David would join Absalom’s army. Israel would become a strong nation, with Absalom as its king.

It was an impressive plan. Absalom and all his other advisers approved of it. However, Hushai, David’s friend, had also offered his advice to Absalom. It interested Absalom to hear what Hushai’s opinion was of this plan.

Next part: Absalom asks Hushai for his opinion about Ahithophel's advice (2 Samuel 17:6-8)


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