Ahithophel [Ăhĭth'ophĕl]—brother of folly. One of David’s privy counselors and father of one of David’s heroes, a Gilonite (2 Sam. 15:12-34; 16:15-23; 17).
There was no one who could hold a candle to Ahithophel in his day as an able and famous politician. His counsel “was as if a man had inquired at the oracle of God” (2 Sam. 16:23). Such counsel was a proverb in Israel in David’s time. Matthew Henry speaks of him as “a politic, thinking man and one that had a clear head, and a great compass of thought.” Perhaps David and Ahithophel had been friends from their boyhood up and are before us in Psalms such as Pss 41:9; 55:13, 14.
Ahithophel, the wise and trusted counselor, however, was found unfaithful because he also thought of himself, and not of David. Ahithophel joined Absalom and advised the prince to take his father’s harem (2 Sam. 15:12; 16:21). He advised pursuit of the fugitive monarch, but Hushai, another counselor, thwarted this move (2 Sam. 17:11)). Ahithophel was so disgusted over the collapse of his influence, for he could foresee that the insurrection against David was doomed to failure, that he went home a crestfallen man and set his affairs in order and hanged himself (2 Sam. 17:23).