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Wednesday, May 11, 2016

A Bitter Ending (2 Samuel 17:23)

 "When Ahithophel saw that his advice had not been followed, he saddled his donkey and set out for his house in his hometown. He put his house in order and then hanged himself. So he died and was buried in his father's tomb."

Why would Ahithophel, one of David’s valued advisors, commit suicide? Why would he betray King David during the revolt of Absalom (2 Sam. 15:17) and become the latter’s chief counselor? 2 Samuel 11:3; 23:34 provide an answer. Bathsheba, David’s wife, was Ahithophel's granddaughter. Her father was Eliam, son of Ahithophel. King David did not anticipate the scars that would be left by his adultery and the murder of Uriah. One of those scars was Ahithophel, who lost a son-in-law and a grandchild due to David's sin.

How do you live with such betrayal by your king? Obviously Ahithophel did not. When the opportunity presented itself, Ahithophel repaid David for his betrayal by betraying the betrayer. Not only did he experience David's betrayal but he also experienced the rejection of his wise counsel, striking at the heart of who Ahithophel was.

Ahithophel betrayed his king because he never dealt with the underlying sin of bitterness. God may have forgiven David but Ahithophel had not. This bitterness cost him his respect, his audience, and ultimately his life.

Questions for today's Chronological Bible reading:
Psalm 28, 39, 41, 42, 43

As you read these Psalms think about the context in which they were written. David is fleeing from his own son. It appears that his son will prevail and that David's kingdom has come to an end.
  • How does David express his hope in the Lord?
  • How does he regard the wicked?
  • How does David express and address his despair (42:5, 11; 43:5)?
2 Samuel 16:16-17:23
  • What does Ahithophel's advice to Absalom tell you about his feelings about David? about Israel?
  • How does Ahithophel's counsel differ from that of Hushai?
Turning truth into prayer:
Ask the Lord to reveal any bitterness you may have hidden in the inner recesses of your heart and give you the grace to forgive those with whom you have unresolved issues.