Useful Bible Studies > 2 Samuel Commentary > chapter 16

Ahithophel’s great wisdom

2 Samuel 16:23

The Bible makes an extraordinary statement about the advice that Ahithophel gave. It says that, in the opinion of both David and Absalom, Ahithophel’s advice was like the word of God. In other words, to ask Ahithophel for advice was like when someone asks God to direct him.

Absalom was an evil man. It does not surprise us that such a great adviser as Ahithophel impressed Absalom so much. Absalom trusted his advice even when that advice was very wicked (16:20-22).

However, David, a very holy man, also considered Ahithophel’s advice to be like the word of God. David often inquired of God, and he trusted God’s messages completely (5:17-25). So we ask why he respected Ahithophel so much.

One possible answer is that Ahithophel’s wisdom was not merely human wisdom. Solomon, the son of Ahithophel’s grand-daughter, received his great wisdom as a special gift from God (1 Kings 3:11-12). As a very holy man, David would very much want to have an adviser who received his wisdom from God.

Perhaps Ahithophel too had formerly been a holy man. However, his advice to Absalom, although it was very clever, was wrong and evil. Still, even in that situation Ahithophel’s advice matched God’s word to David (12:11-12). Ahithophel seems to have turned away from God because of his anger at what David did to his grand-daughter, Bathsheba (11:2-5).

Next part: Ahithophel advises Absalom to kill David at once (2 Samuel 17:1-5)


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© 2023, Keith Simons.