2 SAMUEL 16-18
Posted here is the sermon delivered by Br. Nitish Patel at Borivali Assembly on 22nd November 2017.
Passage of Reference: 2 Samuel 16-18
2 Samuel 16
1. ABSALOM MEETS WITH HIS ADVISORS (16:15-23)
15 ¶ And Absalom, and all the people the men of Israel, came to Jerusalem, and Ahithophel with him.
16 And it came to pass, when Hushai the Archite, David’s friend, was come unto Absalom, that Hushai said unto Absalom, God save the king, God save the king.
Though commentators have condemned Hushai for resorting to lies and deception, we must remember that it was David who commanded him to do this for him when he was ready to follow him into exile (2 Samuel 15:34).
17 And Absalom said to Hushai, Is this thy kindness to thy friend? why wentest thou not with thy friend?
18 And Hushai said unto Absalom, Nay; but whom the LORD, and this people, and all the men of Israel, choose, his will I be, and with him will I abide.
Hushai’s words can be mean loyalty to David too for David was the LORD’s choice and the people but he spoke in a way that made Absalom think he was bring loyal to him.
Absalom, like Haman (Esther 6:6), assumed Hushai referred to him, but Hushai could as easily have been describing David.13
13 For possible irony and double meaning in Hushai’s words, see Charles Conroy, Absalom Absalom!, Analecta Biblica (Rome: Biblical Institute Press, 1978), 114, and Joyce G. Baldwin, 1 & 2 Samuel, Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries (Leicester: InterVarsity, 1988), 264.
Davis, D. R. (2002). 2 Samuel: Out of Every Adversity (p. 206). Great Britain: Christian Focus Publications.
“So Haman came in. And the king said unto him, What shall be done unto the man whom the king delighteth to honour? Now Haman thought in his heart, To whom would the king delight to do honour more than to myself?” (Esther 6:6)
19 And again, whom should I serve? should I not serve in the presence of his son? as I have served in thy father’s presence, so will I be in thy presence.
20 Then said Absalom to Ahithophel, Give counsel among you what we shall do.
21 And Ahithophel said unto Absalom, Go in unto thy father’s concubines, which he hath left to keep the house; and all Israel shall hear that thou art abhorred of thy father: then shall the hands of all that are with thee be strong.
There are many Ahithophels today who encourage sexual immorality, multiple partners, marriage infidelity, divorce and remarriage.
By Absalom doing this, everyone would know that he and David were beyond reconciliation, thus strengthening the resolve of those with Absalom. It was bad enough to claim the throne by Absalom’s sexual relations with the king’s concubines, but that these women were his father’s concubines made Absalom’s actions all the more despicable.
(Moody Bible commentary (p. 467).
“Cursed be he that lieth with his father’s wife; because he uncovereth his father’s skirt. And all the people shall say, Amen.” (Deuteronomy 27:20)
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.
Nathan’s prophecy was fulfilled.
“Thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house, and I will take thy wives before thine eyes, and give them unto thy neighbour, and he shall lie with thy wives in the sight of this sun. For thou didst it secretly: but I will do this thing before all Israel, and before the sun.” (2 Samuel 12:11-12)
Absalom who was so angry that his brother Amnon had committed incest against his sister Tamar, now commits incest with his father’s wives. So much for his moral indignation!
Absalom was worse than Amnon.
On the very roof from where David had gazed upon and lusted after Bathsheba, Absalom rapes his father’s concubines.
Sin can never ultimately be hid. It will always be discovered.
Jesus made it clear that all hypocrisy will be publicly exposed.
“In the mean time, when there were gathered together an innumerable multitude of people, insomuch that they trode one upon another, he began to say unto his disciples first of all, Beware ye of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known. Therefore whatsoever ye have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light; and that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the housetops.” (Luke 12:1-3)
By doing this act, Absalom was showing that he had now seized the throne having taken his father’s concubines.
We see earlier the anger of Ishbosheth towards Abner when he took Saul’s concubine Rizpah.
“And Saul had a concubine, whose name was Rizpah, the daughter of Aiah: and Ishbosheth said to Abner, Wherefore hast thou gone in unto my father’s concubine?” (2 Samuel 3:7)
King Saul was angry with Adonijah for seeking the kingdom by craft.
“And king Solomon answered and said unto his mother, And why dost thou ask Abishag the Shunammite for Adonijah? ask for him the kingdom also; for he is mine elder brother; even for him, and for Abiathar the priest, and for Joab the son of Zeruiah.” (1 Kings 2:22)
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.
Many viewed Ahithophel’s guidance as if it came from God Himself.
This was Ahithophel’s cursed policy, which bespoke him rather an oracle of devil than of God. (Matthew Henry)
2 SAMUEL 17
1. HUSHAI DEFEATS AHITHOPEL’S ADVICE (17:1-14)
17:1 ¶ Moreover Ahithophel said unto Absalom, Let me now choose out twelve thousand men, and I will arise and pursue after David this night:
A SWIFT ATTACK
“Let me now … this night”
“Their feet are swift to shed blood.” (Romans 3:15)
For evil to succeed it must strike quickly and so it has been in Biblical history and secular history.
Ahithophel knew this strategy was the right one to defeat David but God has ordained for his counsel to be turned into foolishness.
The Pharisees demanded the immediate crucifixion of Christ (Mark 15:11-14).
Hitler and his blitzkrieg on Poland and France, ISIS in Iraq and their sudden conquests are more recent historic examples.
A SELF CENTRED ATTACK
In verses 1-3, Ahithophel spoke only of himself and used the words, “Let me now choose …. I will arise …. I will come upon him …. I will smite the king only … I will bring back…”
Ahithophel’s plan was the right one but it centred on himself not Absalom and this would be used by Hushai to overthrow the advice for it did not appeal to the vainglory of Absalom only the vainglory of Ahithophel.
His hatred for David can be seen and he personally sought vengeance upon the king for what he did to his granddaughter Bathsheba and her husband Uriah.
2 And I will come upon him while he is weary and weak handed, and will make him afraid: and all the people that are with him shall flee; and I will smite the king only:
A SURPRISE ATTACK
Ahithophel like Satan strikes the believer in their weakness. He did this with the attack upon Israel by Amalek.
“Remember what Amalek did unto thee by the way, when ye were come forth out of Egypt; How he met thee by the way, and smote the hindmost of thee, even all that were feeble behind thee, when thou wast faint and weary; and he feared not God.” (Deuteronomy 25:17-18)
The disciples slept when the multitude came to take Jesus.
“And when he rose up from prayer, and was come to his disciples, he found them sleeping for sorrow, And said unto them, Why sleep ye? rise and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. And while he yet spake, behold a multitude, and he that was called Judas, one of the twelve, went before them, and drew near unto Jesus to kiss him.” (Luke 22:45-47)
Let us beware when we are tired after serving the Lord lest Satan suddenly attack us and throw us into despair and our faith weakens.
Peter was tired and sleeping instead of praying with the Lord. When Judas arrived with the band of men, he was unprepared and ended up cutting off Malcus ear, being rebuked by Christ and denying his Lord three times around the fire. A simple cry of faith for help in his weakness would have preserved Peter but his self confidence led to his fall into sin.
“Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Matthew 26:41)
Satan picks a day to attack us.
“Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” (Ephesians 6:13)
3 And I will bring back all the people unto thee: the man whom thou seekest is as if all returned: so all the people shall be in peace.
4 And the saying pleased Absalom well, and all the elders of Israel.
It is very sad to see all the elders of Israel agreeing with Ahithophel to the murder of David who did so much for them. Most ungrateful and evil men despite their age and experience.
Elihu said, “Great men are not always wise: neither do the aged understand judgment.” (Job 32:9)
5 Then said Absalom, Call now Hushai the Archite also, and let us hear likewise what he saith.
Unlike David who completely trusted Ahithophel, Absalom with his inexperience in battle wanted to make sure he was doing the right thing.
Absalom was certainly not going to seek the will of God in this matter.
“The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts.” (Psalm 10:4)
6 And when Hushai was come to Absalom, Absalom spake unto him, saying, Ahithophel hath spoken after this manner: shall we do after his saying? if not; speak thou.
7 And Hushai said unto Absalom, The counsel that Ahithophel hath given is not good at this time.
The implication of Hushai’s words are that Ahithophel did give good advice before but not at this time.
When he says, literally, ‘No good, the counsel which Ahithophel has counseled.’ That’s gall. It is almost like saying the pope doesn’t know anything about Catholicism (Dale Ralph Davis 2 Samuel: Out of Every Adversity)
Hushai’s plan was to give David was much time as possible to escape and regroup his armies for battle. Once David could choose the place of battle, Absalom did not stand a chance. Anyone with a military knowledge would know that if you opponent has the choice of where to fight, you have the disadvantage.
8 For, said Hushai, thou knowest thy father and his men, that they be mighty men, and they be chafed in their minds, as a bear robbed of her whelps in the field: and thy father is a man of war, and will not lodge with the people.
HUSHAI ADVISES CAUTION
Hushai gently appealed to Absalom’s vanity at the very beginning: ‘You [emphatic in Hebrew] know your father and his men …’ (v. 8a), as if to say, Whatever short-sighted assessments others (read: Ahithophel) may make of the situation, you are not one to be duped, for you are fully aware of what you are facing.
Davis, D. R. (2002). 2 Samuel: Out of Every Adversity (p. 214). Great Britain: Christian Focus Publications.
Hushai makes Absalom believe that Absalom is smarter than Ahithophel. What does Ahithophel know better than David’s own son about David.
Hushai reminded Absalom of the military might and wisdom of his father of which he was well aware and knowing his own inexperience in battle, he listened to Hushai had to say.
Hushai uses a lot of pictures and metaphors to fire up the emotions and pride of Absalom. He is a master of words and uses the wisdom God has given him to outsmart the smartest man in the kingdom.
“a bear robbed of her whelps”
“the heart of a lion”
“as the dew falleth on the ground”
“from Dan even to Beersheba”
“all Israel bring ropes to that city, and we will draw it into the river”
9 Behold, he is hid now in some pit, or in some other place: and it will come to pass, when some of them be overthrown at the first, that whosoever heareth it will say, There is a slaughter among the people that follow Absalom.
Absalom was born after David’s suffering under King Saul but he would have been well acquainted with all of his father’s life and how he escaped many a time from Saul. David was an expert at hiding from his enemies and Absalom knew this.
Using a small army like Ahithophel wanted was fraught with the risk that they could be attacked by David’s men and any slaughter would cause the whole plan to fail and everyone desert Absalom.
Hushai makes much of the risks involved at this time.
10 And he also that is valiant, whose heart is as the heart of a lion, shall utterly melt: for all Israel knoweth that thy father is a mighty man, and they which be with him are valiant men.
Hushai said that David was like an angry bear and like a fierce lion. Absalom knew that his father could be angrier than a bear and more fierce than a lion for he slew both of these animals when they took a lamb out of his flock.
“And David said unto Saul, Thy servant kept his father’s sheep, and there came a lion, and a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock: And I went out after him, and smote him, and delivered it out of his mouth: and when he arose against me, I caught him by his beard, and smote him, and slew him.” (1 Samuel 17:34-35)
Hushai sought to put fear into Absalom’s heart so that he would take the less risky route to victory.
11 Therefore I counsel that all Israel be generally gathered unto thee, from Dan even to Beersheba, as the sand that is by the sea for multitude; and that thou go to battle in thine own person.
HUSHAI APPEALS TO ABSALOM’S VANITY
“But in all Israel there was none to be so much praised as Absalom for his beauty: from the sole of his foot even to the crown of his head there was no blemish in him. And when he polled his head, (for it was at every year’s end that he polled it: because the hair was heavy on him, therefore he polled it:) he weighed the hair of his head at two hundred shekels after the king’s weight.” (2 Samuel 14:25-26)
“And it came to pass after this, that Absalom prepared him chariots and horses, and fifty men to run before him.” (2 Samuel 15:1)
Absalom was a very proud and wicked man. Hushai’s plan was to appeal to the vanity of Absalom. He put Absalom in the centre and glory of everything which was Absalom’s philosophy in life anyway!
Instead of fifty men, have the whole nation at your feet was Hushai’s advice. His head was filled with proud thoughts of hundreds of thousands at his command as he led the battle.
“all Israel be generally gathered unto thee”
“go to battle in thine own person”
Hushai used the vainglory of Absalom to his own defeat. The LORD has said,
“Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.” (Proverbs 16:18)
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