Then Absalom and all the men of Israel said, “Hushai’s advice is better than Ahitophel’s.” For the Lord had determined to defeat the counsel of Ahitophel, which really was the better plan, so that he could bring disaster on Absalom!
(2 Samuel 17:14)
Ahithophel had been King David’s wise and trusted advisor (2 Samuel 16:23). Later, his betrayal was instrumental in stirring up a bigger revolt (2 Samuel 15:12). Now he proposed a strategy that would solidify Absalom’s rule.
When Absalom followed Hushai’s advice instead, Ahithophel foresaw the consequences: David would have time to recover and strategize. Under those conditions, Ahithophel knew David would defeat them. Once that happened, Ahithophel knew he would die a traitor’s death. So, in his calculated way, Ahithophel went home, organized his affairs, and hanged himself (2 Samuel 17:23). The old proverb was true for Ahithophel, “There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death” (Proverbs 14:12).
Ahithophel made decisions for the sake of power. He allied with whomever he thought would rule. He was guided by self-interest without thought to sacrificing for a greater good. He saw an opportunity with Absalom and took it. But God was with David, his anointed king of Israel.
Often, our own values aren’t much different from Ahithophel’s. But we must search out God’s plans and priorities and let them guide our decisions.