Absalom Tries to Steal the Crown
Absalom was the most handsome man in all of Israel. He was especially proud of his long, thick hair. He was also very shrewd at getting whatever he wanted—and what he wanted was to be king! To impress people, he hired a chariot and horses and fifty men to run ahead of him. With this entourage, he would park outside the gate of the city and greet everyone who came by. If he noticed that someone was on the way in to see the king about a problem, he would ask, “What city are you from?” If they were from one of the northern tribes, he would say, “I understand your problem. It’s too bad the king doesn’t have time for you. If I were the king, I’d make sure you got justice.” Soon he had stolen the hearts of all the people from the northern tribes of Israel. After four years in Jerusalem, Absalom went to Hebron pretending to fulfill a vow. He invited two hundred guests from Jerusalem who innocently accompanied him, not realizing that they were part of a plot. Included was Ahithophel, David’s wisest counselor. While there, Absalom sent secret messengers to all the northern tribes announcing that he would soon be made king. The northerners presumed that all the people from Jerusalem were at Hebron to crown Absalom, so they came too. It didn’t take long for Absalom to convince everyone there to serve him—including Ahithophel! When David heard what was happening, he knew it was too late. His life was in danger. So he gathered his family members and servants and quickly left Jerusalem. Everyone wept as David left the palace. Several hundred men joined him on his way out of town. Some Levites brought the Ark of God, but David told them to return it to the Tabernacle. “If I find favor in God’s eyes, He will bring me back to see it again,” he insisted. When the king reached the top of the Mount of Olives, Hushai, one of his most faithful advisors, met him. David talked him into joining Absalom’s camp as a spy. “Maybe you can frustrate him by convincing him not to follow Ahithophel’s wise advice. Plus you can inform me about his strategies.” Hushai agreed to become an undercover agent. David was barely out of the palace when Absalom moved in. Ahithophel immediately asked for permission to take 12,000 men and chase after David while he was still weak and tired from his long journey out of town. He promised to kill only the king and bring everyone else back to serve Absalom. The proposal sounded good, but Absalom asked Hushai for advice as well. Hushai said, “Oh no! Don’t do that. You know your father and his men are fierce warriors. Right now they are like wild bears robbed of their cubs. They will hide in caves and ambush you. Instead, you should gather a great army from all over Israel and personally lead them into battle. David won’t be able escape such a massive army.” Absalom liked Hushai’s advice, so he began to muster his troops. When Ahithophel heard that his wise counsel had been completely ignored, he knew Absalom would not last long. He became so distraught that he went home and hanged himself.
Have you ever felt that God’s good plans were about to be ruined and there was nothing anyone could do about it? Although things can seem pretty bleak, nothing and nobody can ever stop God from fulfilling His plans. David was the king God had anointed. And David would remain the king until God chose to remove him.