“When Ahithophel realized that his advice had not been followed
he went and hanged himself.”
(2 Samuel 17:23)
David had his share of deserters. Many people under his command were disloyal. His strong men,
the sons of Zeruiah, who were his loyal body guards and the very same men who guarded him in the caves
of Adullam, were too aggressive for him to control. Two out of three died violent deaths which can be linked
to their disobedience.
And there was another, Ahithophel, who’s story is a bit more dramatic. It’s inconclusive, but he may have
been the father of Eliam who was Bathsheba’s father; or, based on II Samuel 15, maybe her grandfather.
At any rate, he was a senior citizen. Ahithophel found favor with God who gave him exceptional wisdom and
knowledge. But he got caught withholding his special insight from King David when David needed it the most,
and in turn, was slated to be hung until dead.
This is how it went down. During King David’s reign, David had his share of disagreeable encounters with
Ahithophel. Shortly after his officially becoming royalty, David apparently overlooked Ahithophel when
appointing judges and other officials. Subsequently when King David sought the advice of Ahithophel,
the latter mockingly suggested to David that he had better ask someone else. This led to Ahithophel’s own
peril because a law had already been set in stone that any man who knew a remedy and concealed it must
commit suicide. Only then did Ahithophel offer any advice, but he still kept most of it to himself and David
knew it and didn’t follow the advice. So Ahithophel, in anticipation of the inevitable, went and committed
suicide before he was formally ordered to.
The moral of the story, if indeed there is one, might be that when God favor’s you with a special gift, you
need to develop and use it to your best ability without withholding any of it. Or, let’s see, if we follow
precedent, maybe these folks had the right idea. If you’re not using God’s gift you’re as
good as dead anyway.