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The Counsel of Ahithophel - Pastor Stacey Shiflett

The Counsel of Ahithophel

2 Samuel 16:20-23

Intro: Give the story of Ahithophel. What we know about Ahithophel is found in just these few chapters.

1. He is introduced to us in 2 Samuel 15:12 as one of David’s counsellors.

· 2 Samuel 15:12 And Absalom sent for Ahithophel the Gilonite, David’s counsellor, from his city, even from Giloh, while he offered sacrifices. And the conspiracy was strong; for the people increased continually with Absalom.

2. He turns on David and joins himself to Absalom. (2 Samuel 15:31).

· 2 Samuel 15:31 And one told David, saying, Ahithophel is among the conspirators with Absalom. And David said, O LORD, I pray thee, turn the counsel of Ahithophel into foolishness.

3. David sends Hushai into Absalom’s camp to be a spy, and to subvert the counsel of Ahithophel.

· 2 Samuel 15:34 But if thou return to the city, and say unto Absalom, I will be thy servant, O king; as I have been thy father’s servant hitherto, so will I now also be thy servant: then mayest thou for me defeat the counsel of Ahithophel.

4. Ahithophel enters Jerusalem with Absalom.

· 2 Samuel 16:15 And Absalom, and all the people the men of Israel, came to Jerusalem, and Ahithophel with him.

5. This is the first time we find Absalom asking Ahithophel for counsel.

· 2 Samuel 16:20 Then said Absalom to Ahithophel, Give counsel among you what we shall do.

6. Ahithophel counsels David to go into his father’s concubines.

(We’ll come back to that in greater detail.)

7. Ahithophel then counsels Absalom in chapter 17:1 to send him out with an army of 12,000 men.

Before taking the counsel, Absalom asked Hushai for counsel.

Absalom chose to do what Hushai said rather than take Ahithophel’s counsel.

As a result, Ahithophel went home and committed suicide.

As I read this story, I noticed quite a few elements that are a common occurrence today.

The phrase “the counsel of Ahithophel” is found 5 times.

Ahithophel is alive and well today.

They come in many different shapes and sizes.

They come as friends, peers, social media influencers, you name it.

The devil will always put an Ahithophel in the path of every rebel to insure their utter destruction.

Absalom was the son of David that rebelled against him and tried to usurp the throne.

He schemed and plotted and undermined his father in chapter 15:1-6.

He sowed discord and patronized the people until he stole their hearts.

Satan will make sure that there is always an Ahithophel for every Absalom.

See – Absalom was trying to destroy David. The devil was trying to destroy Absalom.

There is nothing new under the sun Solomon tells us in Ecclesiastes.

Satan still uses the same tactics today that he used thousands of years ago.

Throughout this story, we find some key components that are still going strong today.

I. The Opportunity of his Counsel

There are two men introduced to us in chapter 15.

Two main characters that play an important role in this story, never mentioned until chapter 15.

1. The first one is Ahithophel.

· 2 Samuel 15:12 And Absalom sent for Ahithophel the Gilonite, David’s counsellor, from his city, even from Giloh, while he offered sacrifices. And the conspiracy was strong; for the people increased continually with Absalom.

When Ahithophel is introduced to us in chapter, he is introduced as a counsellor to David.

This means he was part of David’s inner circle.

As a counsellor and an advisor, he was aware of the fact that God had anointed David to be king.

He was in Giloh. The name means “exile”.

I don’t know if he had been sent away by David or what the story is.

The only thing we can know is that David’s kingdom is in jeopardy and one of his counsellors is away.

Absalom sent for him, meaning Absalom knew Ahithophel’s role in David’s life.

We believe we can assume several things about Ahithophel.

He knew that David was the rightful king. (2 Samuel 5)

He had to know that Absalom and David were having problems. (two years without speaking 14:28)

He may or may not have been aware of David’s kingdom being overthrown prior to verse 12.S

But it is clear that he soon did learn of it.

In fact, in the same verse that Ahithophel is introduced, the Bible says the conspiracy was strong.

· 2 Samuel 15:12 And Absalom sent for Ahithophel the Gilonite, David’s counsellor, from his city, even from Giloh, while he offered sacrifices. And the conspiracy was strong; for the people increased continually with Absalom.

He had to have learned about it immediately after being sent for by Absalom.

He turned on David and betrayed him.

David wrote about this betrayal in Psalm 55.

· 12 For it was not an enemy that reproached me; then I could have borne it: neither was it he that hated me that did magnify himself against me; then I would have hid myself from him:

· 13 But it was thou, a man mine equal, my guide, and mine acquaintance.

· 14 We took sweet counsel together, and walked unto the house of God in company.

2. The second character is Hushai the Archite. (vs. 32)

He too was a friend of David.

He is called that in several places. See 15:37 and 16:16.

Absalom even called him David’s friend in 16:17

He desired to go with David, and David sent him on a mission to thwart the counsel of Ahithophel. (15:34)

He worked his way into Absalom’s trust and was able to give him counsel that led to his defeat.

Ahithophel had the opportunity to do the right thing, but he chose to side with the rebels.

He had the opportunity to advice and counsel Absalom to do right.

He chose to turn against God’s man – God’s anointed, and give counsel to the enemy.

He literally went from David’s counsellor to conspirator.

I don’t know much about this man, but he was messed up.

It is highly possible that he was bitter toward David.

NOTE: The Bible tells us that Ahithophel was the grandfather of Bathsheba.

His son, Eliam was Bathsheba’s father.

No doubt the whole scandal of Bathsheba, Uriah and the baby that died had a huge impact on Ahithophel.

II. The Obscenity of his Counsel – vs. 21

Of all the counsel that we find recorded in the Bible, this is some of the worst.

As I read this chapter, and these verses, it became clear to me that something was terribly wrong.

A. It was Sensual in its AppealGo into thy father’s concubines

David took his wives with him when he left Jerusalem. (15:16)

He left 10 concubines to keep the house.

When Absalom asked Ahithophel for counsel, it is very revealing what the nature of that advice was.

· He didn’t counsel Absalom to take over the military forces.

· He didn’t counsel him to confiscate the king’s weapons and chariots and horses.

· He didn’t counsel him to secure the king’s treasury.

· He didn’t counsel him to occupy the king’s property and houses.

Any of these actions would have significantly strengthened Absalom’s position.

But instead, Ahithophel’s counsel was of a sexual nature.

Of course, Absalom had no problem with that counsel.

It suited him just fine.

· James 3:15 This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish.

One of the common characteristics of Satan’s tactics is to appeal to the sensual nature of man.

Almost every time someone walks away from truth and righteousness, it is to pursue the sensual.


· 18 How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts.

· 19 These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit.

B. It was Shameless in its Audacity – “…and all Israel shall hear…”

It would have been bad enough if he’d done it in private.

It would have been abominable if he’d fed his fleshly desires alone and in secret.

But that wasn’t good enough.

The whole idea was for all of Israel to hear.

So, Absalom defiled the concubines of his father on the top of the house.

NOTE: It is highly possible that this was the very place that David spied Bathsheba bathing next door. (11:2)

Ahithophel very possibly had an ax to grind with David.

David had defiled his granddaughter on that rooftop.

Now he was going to see that David’s concubines were defiled in that very same place.

The whole idea was to make a point.

The satisfying of the sensual appetite was secondary; the main objective was to let everyone know.

I am convinced that what we are seeing on social media by a lot of people is very similar in this audacity.

They share pictures and post things that are beyond the pale.

They are not content to do wrong; they want everybody to know it.

They are doing the same thing Absalom did in verse 22:

· 2 Samuel 16:22 So they spread Absalom a tent upon the top of the house; and Absalom went in unto his father’s concubines in the sight of all Israel.

They spread it all over the internet in the sight of the whole world.

C. It was Scripted in its Announcement – “…that thou art abhorred of thy father…”

The whole purpose for this deplorable action was to make Absalom a victim.

The psychological warfare being waged against the people is clear.

If you are a wicked rebel, and you play your cards right, everybody will feel sorry for you; not condemn you.

They will sympathize with you for being abhorred by your father.

You can go in unto your father’s concubines, and your father will be the bad guy.

You can betray your father, you can steal his concubines in front of everybody, and you’ll be the hero.

The truth was, David did not abhor Absalom.

David clearly didn’t want to hurt Absalom. He told Joab and Abishai in 2 Sam. 18:5 to deal gently with Absalom.

It is obvious from David’s reaction to Absalom’s death that he did not abhor him.

In 18:29, his first concern was “Is the young man Absalom safe?”

Verse 33 is clearly not the crying of a man that abhorred his son.

· 2 Samuel 18:33 And the king was much moved, and went up to the chamber over the gate, and wept: and as he went, thus he said, O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! would God I had died for thee, O Absalom, my son, my son!

· 2 Samuel 19:4 But the king covered his face, and the king cried with a loud voice, O my son Absalom, O Absalom, my son, my son!

D. It was Strategic in its Agenda

Ahithophel had an ulterior motive; a secret agenda.

The plan was for the report to reach the ears of the people of Israel, they would turn against David, and strengthen Absalom and his men.

The whole exercise was to undermine the trust and loyalty to David.

It was to shift the advantage away from God’s anointed and bolster the ranks of the traitors.

The more the lies were perpetrated, the stronger they became in their rebellion and in their conspiracy.

For Absalom to increase in strength, the entire nation had to hear.

And if Absalom was strengthened, so was Ahithophel.

E. It was Scriptural in its Appearance

· 2 Samuel 16:23 And the counsel of Ahithophel, which he counselled in those days, was as if a man had enquired at the oracle of God: so was all the counsel of Ahithophel both with David and with Absalom.

The passage is very clear – the counsel of Ahithophel was as if a man had enquired at the oracle of God.

I never cease to be amazed at how bold and how confident people are that listen to Ahithophel.

Its almost as if they heard it straight from God.

III. The Outcome of his Counsel

Ahithophel’s counsel was self-serving.

It was no doubt motivated by bitterness.

It was cloaked with hidden agendas.

He used Absalom as a pawn in his own private battle with David.

He found fertile soil in the heart of a rebel.

Absalom took Ahithophel’s counsel at the end of chapter 16.

But God intervened.

Hushai stepped in and God used him to defeat the counsel of Ahithophel.

· 2 Samuel 17:14 And Absalom and all the men of Israel said, The counsel of Hushai the Archite is better than the counsel of Ahithophel. For the LORD had appointed to defeat the good counsel of Ahithophel, to the intent that the LORD might bring evil upon Absalom.

The story ends tragically. Both for Absalom as well as Ahithophel.

Ahithophel committed suicide in chapter 17:23.

Absalom was murdered in chapter 18:15.

And David was restored to the throne in chapter 19.

Absalom’s rebellion, and Ahithophel’s treason was short-lived.

· They had their fun.

· They fed their flesh.

· They spread their lies.

· They slandered God’s anointed.

But it didn’t last.

Conclusion: Learn now to recognize the Counsel of Ahithophel. It is everywhere!

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