Why did Ahithophel end his life?
When Ahithophel found that his counsel was rejected, he went home and hanged himself.
Ahithophel realized a delay in attacking David would allow David to regroup his forces and win back his throne. When this occurred, Ahithophel would be revealed as a traitor. He could not stand the thought of the punishment that would come upon him and the disgrace and ignominy that would come upon his family. In his state of depression he, like Judas Iscariot, committed suicide.
Ahithophel was bitter over David’s betrayal and sins against his family. He thought the king had gotten away with them and was living without consequences.
Because he had packed up and gone back to Giloh, he had no idea how God had already dealt with David. How Nathan had confronted him and David had broken so completely before God.
Because their friendship ended, Ahithophel had never seen David’s spiritual agony and remorse. He didn’t know of David’s forgiveness by God. He knew nothing about the week David fasted & spent on his face before God pleading for the life of his child while the palace staff feared he’d take his own life; he was so grief stricken.
If Ahithophel had witnessed any of this torment, David knew it may have cooled the fires of his hate. But Ahithophel stayed in Giloh, oblivious to David’s conviction & restoration to God. The flames of anger slowly burned down to become smoldering embers of bitterness that twisted the once great wise man into a little man bent on one thing: making David pay!
When he saw those plans slipping away, there was nothing left to live for and he killed himself.
Ahithophel had a great future set before him, but unforgiveness ruined his calling. The end of Ahithophel need not have been so tragic, if only he had forgiven David.
We must remember that the cause of God is always greater than the man who represents it, and no one can ever be justified in leaving his place of service because he has discovered sin in high places of responsibility. Ahithophel was one of the greatest men of his time, but he allowed memories of injustice to color his entire horizon.
Even though God forgave David, Ahithophel could not forgive him. The consequences for David were dire, but the end of Ahithophel was worse. It is often difficult to forgive quickly, but the faster we let go, the better for us.
Who do you have to forgive so that your future is not destroyed?
“When you forgive, you in no way change the past - but you sure do change the future” - Bernard Meltzer
Lord, I do realize that an unforgiving spirit can destroy my future. Help me to forgive. Amen