2 Sam 15.1-37 now tells us the story of how Absalom will plot against the king and undermines him. As we have said before, he will be a picture of the False Messiah. Absalom provided for himself a chariot and horses, and fifty men as runners before him. He may have gotten these from his grandfather Talmai, the king of Geshur (east of the Jordan). Absalom’s name means “father of peace (Avshalom) but he really isn’t, his heart is cold (Matt 24.5).
Absalom would rise early (shows diligence) and stand beside the way to the gate of the king’s palace and when any person had a suit to bring before the king, Absalom would call to them and say, “From what city are you?” And he would say, “Your servant is from one of the tribes of Israel” showing he was not from a city of another nation. Then Absalom would say to him, “See, your claims are good and right, but no one listens to you on the part of the king.” He would also say, “Oh that one would appoint me judge in the land, then every man who has a suit or cause could come to me, and I would give him justice.” He is trying to take the kingdom by seduction.
And it happened when a man came near to prostrate himself before him, he would put out his hand and take hold of him and kiss him. He is also trying to delude them. This is the way Absalom dealt with all Israel who would come to the king for judgment; so Absalom stole away the hearts of the men of Israel, by flattery. The majority of Israel was swayed then, and majority will be swayed in the future by the flattery of the False Messiah (Dan 11.32). He will also question the judgments of the king in the Torah, and he is called “lawless” which means “Torah-less.” The False Messiah will tell the people what they want to hear, like Absalom, saying “you are free from the law” or “you are not under the law.”
Now it came about that Absalom asked his father for permission to go to Hebron to fulfill a vow. He made the vow in Geshur to serve the Lord if he brought him back to Jerusalem. He was given permission and went to Hebron. But Absalom sent spies throughout the land saying, “As soon as you hear the sound of the trumpet, then you say, ‘Absalom reigns in Hebron.'” He took two hundred men with him to Hebron and they did not know what was happening. But the people would see him and think they backed Absalom. It will be the same thing with the leaders who appoint the False Messiah in Rev 17.12-13.
Then Absalom sent for Ahitophel the Gilonite, David’s counselor, from his city in Giloh (“exile”). The conspiracy is strong and the people increased continually with Absalom. Now, the story of Ahitophel is an important one and it is a study about the roots of bitterness and what can happen to a person who is bitter. So, we are going to take a look at this concept and it will cover 2 Sam 11.1 to 2 Sam 17.23.
Ahitophel (“brother of ruin”) was the grandfather of Bathsheba and the father of Eliam. Eliam and Uriah the Hittite were part of the “Givorim” (“mighty men”) of David (2 Sam 23.34, 39). Ahitophel became very bitter over the death of Uriah and the whole affair with Bathsheba. Eliam, Bathsheba’s father, remained faithful to David even after the Bathsheba incident, but Ahitophel didn’t. Eliam stood by David even after he murdered his son-in-law and disgraced his daughter because he knew that God was with David. He had to stand against his own father to support David.
We can learn about an unforgiving spirit from this story and how it can lead to destruction. There are a lot of times we feel justified and hold on to our bitterness and anger, and we won’t let go of whatever it is. We can choose to let it go or hold on to bitterness. But we cannot afford to be bitter even if we are in the right and they are truly guilty. We can let it go, but it won’t be easy and we will struggle with it. But how do we let it go?
What was the message in Jeremiah? The people needed to surrender and come out from behind the walls of Jerusalem to live. They had to surrender to Nebuchadnezzar who was called the “King of Kings.” In this he is a picture of Yehovah. The people had to believe the Lord and come out because resistance meant death. We will see in this story that Ahitophel would not let go of his bitterness and hatred of David, and it ended with the death of Ahitophel. As for those who followed Absalom, they were cut to pieces in the Forest of Ephraim.
We learn in 2 Sam 15.13-18 that the heart of the people was with Absalom. David knows this and he flees because there was going to be a massacre. So, David and his household fled and they move east and stop at the last house. His servants (“Avadim” or warriors) pass on beside him. It also says the Cherethites, Pelethites, and the Gittites with 600 men who had joined him pass on before the king.
These troops were a part of what is called the “Sea Peoples” and they were related to the Philistines and they became Jews because they believed in the God of Israel. The Gittites were from Gath of the Philistines who had just joined the day before (v 20). These troops were part of the bodyguard of David.
We have other terms that are used and their meanings are missed for their military meanings. We have gone over these before, but we want to go over them again. When you see “young men” they are what is called the “Ne’arim” and they are elite troops. The “Givorim” are the mighty men and they performed some unbelievable exploits in Battle. Eliam and Uriah were a part of this group. Then we will have the professional army and officers under Joab, and we will also have the militia led by Amasa.
The leader of the Gittites was a man called Ittai. David asked him why he was leaving with him, since he had just joined (v 20). Ittai was what is called a “Nokri” (“foreigner”) and an exile. David wanted him to go home and not get mixed up in all this, but Ittai would hear none of it. He knew David was God’s man and he said wherever David went, he would go. So David said, “Go and pass over” (the Kidron Valley). So Ittai and his men went on. We will learn in 2 Sam 18.2 that Ittai will command one-third of the army under David. David also passed over the Kidron Valley (like Yeshua did in John 18.1 after his arrest) and they were making their way to the wilderness, including the Valley of Sukkot to the northeast. David is quite familiar with this area when he was fleeing from Saul and he knew the terrain. This will be an advantage against Absalom in any upcoming battle, and David is choosing the place to fight. In our spiritual warfare, you never want the enemy to choose the place for battle because it will always be to their advantage. Prophetically, we know that Israel will be fleeing from the False Messiah in Rev 12.14 and Isa 16 to this very same wilderness. This is the same area where Jews fled from the Romans in 70 A.D. and 135 A.D.
The High Priest Zadok came and all the Levites with him, and they brought the Ark of the Covenant. However, David told them to return it to the city. It would be safer there and besides, if God brought David back he would “show me both it (Ark) and his habitation (the Mishkan/Temple).” David wasn’t assuming anything and he did not want the Ark outside the city. He also said that it may be that the Lord says, “I have no delight in you” and will do to David whatever he wants. So, he was not taking any unnecessary risks or being presumptuous. David knows that the Lord is dealing with him, but he also trusted in Yehovah and put his future into God’s hands.
He asked Zadok, “Are you not a seer?” This means he was either a prophet or a knowing man and he wanted Zadok to see the wisdom in this. He wants them to go back and David will wait at the fords of the Jabbok River for word about the conspiracy, the numbers involved and Absalom’s plans. This information could prove to be valuable to David. So Zadok, Abiathar and the Ark returned to Jerusalem and remained there.
Starting in 2 Sam 15.30 we have a very prophetic event and we will pick up with that in Part 14.