II Samuel 16:15-17:14 Conflicting Words.
When Absalom entered Jerusalem, and Ahithophel with him, Hushai convinced him that he would now be his counsellor. Nevertheless, Absalom turned to Ahithophel for advice. The latter was worldly wise, for his advice to Absalom was to have sex with his father’s concubines, whom David had left to take care of the house. Ahithophel’s reasoning was that this would make him abhorred by his father, but it would strengthen those with him (v. 21). Absalom proceeded to follow this advice, and by pitching his tent on the top of the house, all could see what he was doing (v. 22). We are told that Ahithophel’s advice was regarded by many, including David and Absalom, “as if one had inquired at the oracle of God” (v. 23). In other words they regarded his advice above the law-word of the covenant. The latter strictly forbids a man to have sex with any woman whom his father has had sex with, and it being a capital crime, death was ultimately allowed for as a punishment (Lev. 20:11). Moreover, he advised Absalom that he would pursue David, and when he supposed that the men with him would flee he would kill, that is assassinate, only his father, and so with inheriting the kingdom he would presumably inherit all the people with David (17:1-3). “And the saying pleased Absalom and all the elders of Israel” (v. 4).
However, Absalom eventually also turned to Hushai for advice, but sadly not until after he had committed the grievous sin of having sex with his father’s concubines (vv. 5-6). Clearly he did not think this to be as serious, or as a threat to his own person, so he only turned to Hushai when Ahithophel’s advice posed a perceived potential threat to his person. As to war, Hushai sought to thwart Ahithophel’s advice, reminding Absalom that his father was a mighty man of war, that he and the men with him would not be so easily defeated (vv. 7-10). Instead, he advises him to gather all Israel and to lead the battle himself. Hushai appealed to Absalom’s arrogant pride, so that he, and all the men of Israel with him, chose his advice for war over that of Ahithophel. However, this was but the means which the LORD God used for Absalom’s destruction. “For the LORD had purposed to defeat the good advice of Ahithophel, to the intent that the LORD might bring disaster on Absalom” (v. 14). Absalom’s greater war was with God. He had spurned the law-word of the LORD of the covenant, and now cursing would fall upon him and those with him. In his arrogant presumptive pride, Absalom assumed that victory was only a matter of his own strength and man-made wisdom.