And a messenger came to David, saying, “The hearts of the men of Israel have gone after Absalom.” Then David said to all his servants who were with him at Jerusalem, “Arise, and let us flee, or else there will be no escape from Absalom. Go quickly, lest he overtake us quickly and bring down ruin on us and strike the city with the edge of the sword.” 2 Samuel 15:13-14 ESV
David transformation from majestic king to haunted refugee is sudden and unexpected. Through his manipulation and charisma, Absalom was able to convince his followers that he would be a better king than David. Men flocked to Absalom and David was forced to flee Jerusalem before him or face death.
But David went up the ascent of the Mount of Olives, weeping as he went, barefoot and with his head covered. And it was told David, “Ahithophel is among the conspirators with Absalom.” And David said, “O LORD, please turn the counsel of Ahithophel into foolishness.” 2 Samuel 15: 30a, 31 ESV
David weeping ascent of the Mount of Olives seems to foreshadow the time when another King would weep there when faced with the rejection of His own people. Many of David’s close friends had deserted him, including his trusted councilor, Ahithophel. David knew that if the LORD did not intervene, Ahithophel’s wisdom would lead to Absalom’s victory. However, God had not forsaken David and Hushai was still on David’s side. David sent him to Jerusalem to attempt to counter Ahithophel.
“But my [Hushai’s] counsel is that all Israel be gathered to you, from Dan to Beersheba, as the sand by the sea for multitude, and that you go to battle in person.” 2 Samuel 17:11 ESV
Ahithophel advises Absalom to send him with twelve thousand men to overtake and destroy David. However, instead of just following Ahithophel’s advice, Absalom also asks Hushai what he should do. Hushai counters that David and his men are enraged and mighty warriors. He instead suggests that Absalom should gather a large army and deal with David himself.
Here is where we come to one of Absalom’s deadliest flaws, his vanity. David and his men were weak and tired. If Absalom had just sent Ahithophel, David would have been killed and Absalom’s throne secured. Hushai plan appealed to Absalom’s vanity. Instead of a twelve-thousand-men strike headed by an advisor, he suggested a magnificent force helmed by Absalom him to wipe out David and his mighty men. This plan buys David time, as gathering a great army would take a while. Ahithophel’s wise council is ignored by Absalom, who prefers Hushai’s plan instead. God protected David from harm through Hushai and Absalom’s own vanity would be his downfall.
In you, O LORD, do I take refuge; let me never be put to shame! In your righteousness deliver me and rescue me; incline your ear to me, and save me! Psalm 71:1-2 ESV
Dear God, please protect and provide for me just like You protected and provided for David. Thank You for being a place in which I can take refuge. Please protect and guide me. In Your Holy Name, Amen.