Bible Commentaries

2 Samuel 17

Verses 1-29

Ahithophel counseled immediate war-like activity. As David had not gone far, and could not have gathered round him any large number of men, let a company be sent to capture him, and that immediately. Judging from the human standpoint, had Absalom followed this advice, his rebellion might have been successful. But it is never safe to judge from the human standpoint, or to reckon without God.

Absalom turned to Hushai, who counseled delay and gathering a large army. Hushai's counsel was intended to give David time to gather men around him. The advice ministered to Absalom's vanity. It would be far more spectacular to lead an army in person, and gain a great victory, than to send a small company to capture his father. Absalom's vanity ensured his ruin. How disastrous to his own cause was Absalom's decision is manifest by the action of Ahithophel. He saw the utter folly of what was being done, and, hastening from Jerusalem, came to his own city, set his affairs in order, and ended his life.