2 Samuel 17

Talks for Growing Christians

Absalom Rejects Ahithophel’s Counsel; David Prepares for Battle

2 Samuel 17

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Lesson Number 17

Background Notes

Doctrinal Point(s)

  1. God has ways to thwart the counsel of the wicked.
  2. God has ways to prepare the path of the righteous.

Practical Application

  1. Don’t stop praying because God has ordained everything.


  1. Who was in Jerusalem, giving counsel to Absalom?
  2. What was Ahithophel’s counsel? What was Hushai’s counsel?
  3. How did Ahithophel respond when his counsel was rejected?
  4. How did Hushai send warning to David?
  5. How did God further provide for David?


  1. Ahithophel, who had betrayed David, was ready to counsel Absalom on the best way to defeat David and eliminate any possibility of his return to the throne. Hushai, David’s faithful spy, was also in Jerusalem ready to counsel Absalom and buy time for David, as well as send David word of Absalom’s plans.
  2. Ahithophel counseled Absalom to immediately pursue David and defeat him and his company while they were still exhausted. Hushai reminded Absalom that David was a man of war and could easily outwit a superior force in the Judean Wilderness, which was like his own backyard. Instead, Absalom should wait until he could gather a vast army force from all Israel and surround David, so there would be no possibility of escape.
  3. He went home and hanged himself.
  4. Hushai told Zadok and Abiathar the priests. The priests told a female servant. She told Jonathon and Ahimaaz, the priests’ sons. These boys traveled to tell King David.
  5. The Lord gave time, rest, supplies, and a fortified city for David and his faithful company to plan and prepare for the coming battle.


  1. Although Ahithophel’s advice was obviously superior, God used Hushai to thwart the counsel of this wicked man. Read Psalm 64. Discuss how this psalm was lived out in 2 Samuel 17.
  2. Discuss whether David can be called a righteous man. He certainly was not righteous in all his doings, and the events in this chapter are a direct consequence for his sins of adultery and murder. But David had confessed his sin and his heart was now right before the Lord. Can you think of other biblical examples of people who committed unrighteous deeds, but later were considered righteous?


  1. In His sovereign will, God has ordained everything. But we are still called to pray – because God answers prayer!

Key Verses

  • “For the LORD had purposed to defeat the good advice of Ahithophel, to the intent that the LORD might bring disaster on Absalom.” 2 Samuel 17:14
  • “Then Hushai said to Zadok and Abiathar the priests, ‘Thus and so Ahithophel advised Absalom and the elders of Israel, and thus and so I have advised.’” 2 Samuel 17:15

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