And Absalom and all the men of Israel said, The counsel of Hushai the Archite is better than the counsel of Ahithophel. For the LORD had appointed to defeat the good counsel of Ahithophel, to the intent that the LORD might bring evil upon Absalom (2 Samuel 17:14)
The LORD does not just sit back and watch when his children get into trouble. Even though he was displeased with David’s sin, the LORD did not let Absalom come in and take over his kingdom. The LORD intervened in the situation and made an intentional effort to defeat or frustrate the advice that Absalom received from Ahithophel. The name Ahithophel means brother of folly (302). Ahithophel had teamed up with Absalom to create an unlawful alliance against David (2 Samuel 15:12). As one of David’s trusted advisors, Ahithophel knew David’s tactics and could undermine his efforts to escape Absalom’s reach.
Absalom’s decision to listen to Hushai’s advice instead of Ahithophel’s made it possible for David to find out what Absalom was planning to do. During the interim while Absalom was gathering together the army, David and the people with him, crossed over the Jordan and got assistance from David’s allies. Therefore, David was strengthened and prepared to face Absalom by the time Absalom caught up with him.
Although God is good, it is possible for him to bring evil on someone that does not trust him. Absalom’s effort to take over as king was not ordained by God. Therefore, it was necessary for God to stop him. In order for the LORD to make things right, he directed Hushai to give Absalom counsel that was the opposite of what he should actually do. It was Absalom’s own choice to listen to Hushai that enabled the LORD to bring evil on him.
If Absalom had sought the LORD’s direction instead of relying on the counsel of men, things might have turned out differently. Ahithophel’s plan would have worked if Absalom had followed it, so there was a chance that Absalom could have been successful in taking over as king. The problem was that Absalom wasn’t concerned with who he listened to, all he wanted was for someone to tell him what to do.
The difference between David and Absalom was that David knew he had direct access to God. As the anointed king of Israel, David had a personal relationship with God. David had counselors, but he did not rely on them to tell him what to do. In the chain of command it was God, then David, and then everyone else. David knew who to listen to.