2 Samuel 17:4
And the saying pleased Absalom well, and all the elders of Israel.
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2 Samuel 17:4. The saying pleased Absalom well, and all the elders of Israel — That such a wretch as Absalom should aim at his father’s throat is not strange. But that the body of the people, to whom David had been so great a blessing, should join with him in it, is amazing. But the finger of God was in it. Let not the best of parents, or the best of princes, think it strange if they are injured by those who should be their support and joy, when they (like David) have provoked God to turn against them.17:1-21 Here was a wonderful effect of Divine Providence blinding Absalom's mind and influencing his heart, that he could not rest in Ahithophel's counsel, and that he should desire Hushai's advice. But there is no contending with that God who can arm a man against himself, and destroy him by his own mistakes and passions. Ahithophel's former counsel was followed, for God intended to correct David; but his latter counsel was not followed, for God meant not to destroy him. He can overrule all counsels. Whatever wisdom or help any man employs or affords, the success is from God alone, who will not let his people perish.The man whom thou seekest - namely, David. Ahithophel means to say: "If I can only smite David, there will be no civil war, all the people will peaceably submit." CHAPTER 17

2Sa 17:1-14. Ahithophel's Counsel Overthrown by Hushai.

1-11. Moreover Ahithophel said unto Absalom—The recommendation to take prompt and decisive measures before the royalist forces could be collected and arranged, evinced the deep political sagacity of this councillor. The adoption of his advice would have extinguished the cause of David; and it affords a dreadful proof of the extremities to which the heartless prince was, to secure his ambitious objects, prepared to go, that the parricidal counsel "pleased Absalom well, and all the elders of Israel." It was happily overruled, however, by the address of Hushai, who saw the imminent danger to which it would expose the king and the royal cause. He dwelt upon the warlike character and military experience of the old king—represented him and his adherents as mighty men, who would fight with desperation; and who, most probably, secure in some stronghold, would be beyond reach, while the smallest loss of Absalom's men at the outset might be fatal to the success of the conspiracy. But his dexterity was chiefly displayed in that part of his counsel which recommended a general levy throughout the country; and that Absalom should take command of it in person—thereby flattering at once the pride and ambition of the usurper. The bait was caught by the vainglorious and wicked prince.

No text from Poole on this verse. And the saying pleased Absalom well, and all elders of Israel. That were of the privy council; for it was a well contrived scheme to surprise David his men by night, in the condition they were in; nothing like seizing an opportunity, and making quick dispatch in executing a villainous design; only it is strange that Absalom could so easily come into a scheme to take away the life of so indulgent a father, which is only to be accounted for by his ambition; but it is stranger still that the elders of Israel should be pleased with it, and agree to and determine upon the death of a prince, who had so many years ruled them with justice and equity, clemency and mercy; and fought their battles for them, and raised their nation to such a pitch of glory it never had before. And the saying pleased Absalom well, and all the elders of Israel.
4. the elders of Israel] Who were sitting in council with Absalom. For the various functions of the elders, see note on 1 Samuel 8:4.Verse 4. - All the elders of Israel. Their presence seems to show that Absalom professed to act in an orderly and constitutional manner, and with the advice of those in authority. It was possibly this wish to keep up appearances which made him command Hushai to be summoned, as he was one whose advice would certainly have been asked had matters gone on in their ordinary channel. So again in vers. 14, 15, Absalom acts only with the popular consent. Very probably the royal power was gradually superseding that of the tribal authorities, and this may have made David unpopular with many of the great nobles. Absalom would thus gain many adherents by associating "elders" and "men of Israel" with him in his councils. Ahithophel gave the following counsel: "Go to thy father's concubines, whom he hath left behind to keep the house (i.e., lie with them: for אל בּוא, compare 2 Samuel 3:7, etc.); so will all Israel hear that thou hast made thyself stinking with thy father, and the hands of all those who are with thee will strengthen themselves." This advice was sagacious enough. Lying with the king's concubines was an appropriation of the royal harem, and, as such, a complete usurpation of the throne (see at 2 Samuel 3:7), which would render any reconciliation between Absalom and his father utterly impossible, and therefore would of necessity instigate the followers of Absalom to maintain his cause with all the greater firmness. This was what Ahithophel hoped to attain through his advice. For unless the breach was too great to be healed, with the affection of David towards his sons, which might in reality be called weakness, it was always a possible thing that he should forgive Absalom; and in that case Ahithophel would be the one to suffer. But under the superintendence of God this advice of Ahithophel was to effect the fulfilment, without any such intention on his part, of the threat held over David in 2 Samuel 12:8.
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