Posted: February 23, 2016 in Chapter 68, When the Wolf Howls
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Dagger for When the Wolf Howls

© by Ross Cochrane

Chapter 68

“But it is not enough simply to humiliate David and destroy his reputation.” said Ahithophel, “We must also destroy him!”

Absalom said, “Go on.”

There is only one way to destroy David now,” said Ahithophel. I know David’s tactics. If we give him any time to think, he will devise a plan to win back his kingdom. Let me choose 12,000 men and I will pursue David tonight. He will still be exhausted from his rapid retreat out of Jerusalem. If we attack him while he is least expecting it we will decimate his army. Most of the people with him will flee for their lives in the confusion. Those who remain will be scattered. Before he can regather his army I will strike him down. Then we can return with the people he has taken with him. They will refuse to return unless he is dead. They will accept you as king if he is dead because you are his son. Then and only then will there be peace. 

The elders thought that this plan was good. Absalom agreed except he would have liked to have been there to see David die. Just as he took delight in watching his brother die, so too he saw in his mind the death of his father. Still, something didn’t appear right about this. It seemed too simple. He said, Your plan is good but I want to hear what Hushai the Archite has to say. Bring him back to me and explain your plan to him. 

Ahithophel felt confident about this request and left immediately to bring Hushai to Absalom. Along the way, he spoke to Hushai and told him to affirm his plan. Hushai listened carefully and came before Absalom.

Ahithophel has a plan to decimate the army of my father. Absalom said. Once more the plan was outlined to Hushai and Absalom said, What are your thoughts? Do you agree?

The room was silent as Hushai looked at Ahithophel and then back to Absalom. In that brief moment, he prayed fervently that the Lord would help him to thwart the counsel of Ahithophel, and give him the right words to say that would bring disaster on Absalom. He was not used to public speaking but his deep resonant voice rang in each person’s ears as if it had been amplified by the Spirit of God himself. He said, “With due respect to Ahithophel, this time, I can’t agree with his advice.” 

Ahithophel’s eyes narrowed and he frowned as Hushai continued speaking directly to Absalom. You know your father and his men. They are as fierce and mighty as a bear robbed of her cubs. Your father is an expert in strategic warfare. He knows that country like the back of his hand. He won’t spend the night with the people. He has most likely hidden in a cave or in some other place suitable for an ambush. 

This is not a good way to begin your campaign; with little organisation and only 12,000 men. The whole of Israel will say that you sent these men to their slaughter. After that, it won’t matter how valiant your soldiers are. They will lose heart completely. 

Your father has a reputation for being a mighty man and those who are with him are very experienced and valiant warriors. This action will only increase his reputation and make you weak in the sight of all Israel.

My counsel is to take time to gather all the men of Israel from Dan as far as Beersheba so that you have an army which will be like the sand of the sea. They will be so abundant that you will not fail to reach your objective. Then I would suggest that you personally lead them into battle. When you find your father, you will decimate his army so completely that not one of them will remain alive. If a city opens its gates to him, then we will drag that city into the valley until not one stone is left standing. By this time, Hushai’s voice had reached a crescendo and his argument had been very convincing. He could see that Absalom was in agreement, but both he and Ahithophel were ushered out of the room before the decision was made.

Ahithophel said to Hushai on the way out, If your advice is taken then this day you have betrayed Israel! Hushai remained silent. It was amusing to him that a traitor to king David would accuse him of betrayal. He prayed fervently as he then made his way undetected by Absalom’s spies to his first rendezvous with the priests Zadok and Abiathar.

Absalom was convinced and came to the point. He said, The counsel of Hushai the Archite is better than Ahithophel’s counsel. The elders were in agreement. Absalom would continue his celebrations while Hushai’s plans were being put into operation. It would take some days to gather his full army.

Absalom looked out at Jerusalem. It was on this same roof that David had once looked upon Bathsheba. That afternoon and in the days to come, as the wine flowed and the celebrations became raucous, David’s concubines were brought into Absalom presence. Each of them had been used like slaves serving Absalom’s men at the tables. In his drunkenness and thirst for more power over David, he brought each of them forcefully onto his rooftop balcony and sexually abused them. He wielded his dagger and threatened them with death until they were too afraid to resist. News of Absalom’s perversion spread quickly as his army was gathered from every corner of Israel. Hushai could do nothing. He thought, In broad daylight he brings shame to the family of Davidbut most of all he is bringing shame upon himself.

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