April 17, 2006
Read 2 Samuel 17
Absalom follows advice of Hushai; David's troops battle Absalom and his followers; Absalom killed by Joab; David grieves bitterly
It often takes a crisis to reveal who our true friends are. Ahithophel, David's adviser, was invited by Absalom to join his conspiracy. And the conspiracy was strong; for the people increased (in numbers) continually with Absalom (II Samuel 15:12). David was old and feeble and it appeared that Absalom had successfully won the confidence of most of the key leaders of the nation. When Ahithophel decided to desert David and join with Absalom, he revealed his true character with the words "me" and "I." Let me now choose out twelve thousand men, and I will arise and pursue after David this night: And I will come upon him . . . I will smite (murder) the king only: And I will bring back all the people unto thee (17:1-3). At first, the saying pleased Absalom (17:4). Apparently, Absalom realized that he would be in a secondary position to Ahithophel. God did not forget David's prayer: O LORD . . . turn the counsel of Ahithophel into foolishness (15:31).
David had sent his friend Hushai to join Absalom. Undoubtedly, his coming appealed to Absalom's ego, for he now had gained his father's two top advisers. Ahithophel assumed Absalom would accept his plan; but it had offended Absalom as well as Amasa. This led them to consider the counsel of Hushai, who reminded Absalom that all Israel knoweth . . . thy father is a mighty man, and they which be with him are valiant (brave) men (17:10).
As Absalom considered the possibility of losing his first battle, he realized this could produce panic and the loss of his followers. Hushai advised that all Israel be generally gathered unto thee, from Dan even to Beersheba . . . and that thou go to battle in thine own person (17:11). This appealed to Absalom's ego and gave David and his men time to prepare for the battle that would lead to Absalom's defeat. The Bible clearly warns that pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall (Proverbs 16:18). Undoubtedly, Hushai's advice was an answer to David's prayer.
Pity the ignorant who are unaware of the "Unseen Presence" of God, who defends those who trust in Him (Hebrews 4:13; Psalm 40:17). For promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south. But God is the judge: He putteth down one, and setteth up another (Psalm 75:6-7)
17:8 chafed = angered; 17:11 generally = fully; 17:17 wench = maidservant; 17:25 host = army; 18:3 succour = assist by providing reinforcements from the city; 18:9 taken up = left hanging.
Through Mahanaim, a city of refuge where David went when he was fleeing from Absalom (II Samuel 17:27). Christ is our refuge. We . . . have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us . . . even Jesus (Hebrews 6:18-20).
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Memory Verse for the Week: II Samuel 22:31