Heart of the Story: When Chronicles listed King David’s royal court, Ahithopel was his chief counselor. Yet, Ahithopel conspired to overthrow King David.
Back Story: Ahithopel was the grandfather of Bathsheba. While Bathsheba’s husband Uriah was off with David’s army fighting the Ammonites, David saw Bathsheba, brought her to his palace, and had sex with her. Bathsheba became pregnant by David. To cover his sin. King David called Uriah home. David believed that Uriah would go to his wife and have sex with her. Unfortunately for David, Uriah did not go to his wife. To cover his shame, King David had Uriah killed in battle. Subsequently, David married Bathsheba. When David married Bathsheba, he was about 38 years of age.
Story Line: Absalom, David’s eldest son, rebelled against David when David was in his very early 60s (about 979 BC). Seemingly, Absalom had the support of most of the tribes of Israel. Fleeing Jerusalem, David learned that his chief counselor, Ahithopel, sided with Absalom and was part of the rebellion. David prayed that God would thwart Ahithopel’s advice to Absalom. In addition King David sent his trusted friend Hushai back to Jerusalem and Absalom’s court to negate Ahiphopel’s advice to Absalom. David retreated east of the Jordan River with a small group of loyal fighting men.
Shortly after King Absalom took control of Jerusalem, he asked Ahithopel what should be done about David. Ahithopel advised Absalom to give him 12000 fighting men to set out immediately after David. The soldiers under Ahithopel would attack David while he was weary and weak. He and the soldiers would strike David and the people with him would flee. He would kill David. After killing David, Ahithopel would bring all of the individuals who left Jerusalem with David would be returned.
Fortunately or unfortunately, King Absalom and the elder of Israel with him rejected Ahithopel’s plan for one that delayed pursuit of David. Ahithopel knew that by delaying pursuit, David would have time to consolidate his fighting force and regain the kingdom. When Ahithopel saw that his advice was not followed, he went home, put his house in order, and hanged himself. He felt that David would regain his kingdom and eventually David would kill him.
Pondering Relationships: It was not until I realized that Ahithopel was Bathsheba’s grandfather that I understood why he was part of Absalom’s rebellion against King David. Ahithopel saw how David took Bathsheba and coerced her into having sex with him. Ahithopel knew David had Bathsheba’s husband killed so David could cover his shame and marry Bathsheba. Ahithopel knew that David was far from pure and that David took advantage of his power. Like Absalom, who saw David do nothing when Crown Prince Amnon raped his beautiful sister, Ahithopel nursed his anger. Ahithopel and Absalom were conspirators against David because they both resented David’s actions.
Reflection: Nursed anger can cause bad decisions. What should you be doing with your anger?
To learn more obscure Bible characters, visit my website http://www.CarolynRothMinistry.com and purchase Lesser Known Bible Characters, Using their relationships to restore ours.
Copyright July 12, 2016; Carolyn A. Roth