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Achitopel


Achitopel was an able and honoured counsellor of David, who joined the rebellion of Absalom. The King was much affected by this desertion. Hearing that the man on whose word he had been wont to rely as "on an oracle of God" was giving his advice to the enemy, he prayed the Lord to "infatuate the counsel of Achitopel." Some have seen in Psalms 54:13-15 and 40:10, reflections of David on this faithless friend. It was on the advice of Achitopel that Absalom took possession of his father's harem, thus cutting off all hope of reconciliation. Understanding the need of energetic measures, he urged that 12,000 men be sent from Jerusalem in pursuit of the King. He offered to lead them himself. Chusai, a secret friend of David, defeated his purpose. Thereupon he proudly withdrew to his town of Gilo, put his house in order, and strangled himself. (See II Kings, xv, 12; xvii, 23; I Par., xxvii, 33.) It would seem from a conjunction of II Kings, xxiii, 34, and xi, 3, that Achitopel was the grandfather of Bethsabee, and it has been suggested, as an explanation of his conduct towards David, that he had kept a secret grudge against the King for the way he had treated Bethsabee, and her first husband, the unfortunate Urias. This, or some motive of ambition, would be in keeping with the haughty character of Achitopel. Dryden has used this name in the title of his famous satire against the Protestant Party, "Absalom and Achitophel."

W.S. REILLY










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