2 Samuel 17:23

23 When Ahithophel saw that his counsel was not followed, he saddled his donkey and went off home to 1his own city. He 2set his house in order and 3hanged himself, and he died and was buried in the tomb of his father.

2 Samuel 17:23 Meaning and Commentary

2 Samuel 17:23

And when Ahithophel saw that his counsel was not followed,
&c.] But that of Hushai:

he saddled [his] ass;
or ordered it to be saddled:

and arose, and gat him home to his house, to his city;
which was Giloh in the tribe of Judah, ( 2 Samuel 15:12 ) ;

and put his household in order;
made his will, and disposed of his estates, see ( Isaiah 38:1 ) ; or "commanded his house" or "household" F20; gave orders and instructions, both relating to himself when dead, where and how he should be buried, and to his family, how they should behave to one another and among their neighbours, and towards their superiors; and particularly, the Jews say F21, he gave them this charge, not to rebel against the government of the house of David:

and hanged himself;
so to his other sins added that of suicide, which was done deliberately, as the preceding clause shows; this he did, partly because his proud spirit could not bear it that his counsel should be slighted, and that of another be preferred to it; and partly because he plainly foresaw that the cause of Absalom would be ruined by neglecting his counsel and following that of Hushai's, whereby he himself would fall into the hands of David, and be put to death by him as a traitor; and he chose to die by his own hand, and not his; and the rather, to prevent the confiscation of his goods and estates as a traitor, and his heirs being deprived of them; though some think he died of a disease, by strangling or suffocation in the throat, was choked through grief and trouble; so R. Elias observes F23, that some say that this disease came upon him through the greatness of his grief of mind and trouble of soul, because his counsel was not taken, and he died of strangling; and they say this, because they reckon it an absurdity for so wise and understanding a man as he was to hang himself; but the case seems very clear that he did kill himself; the Jews say F24 he was but thirty three years of age when he died; for being a bloody and deceitful man, he did not live out half his days, ( Psalms 55:23 ) ; which psalm was penned on his account; but one so young could hardly be a counsellor of David, and so famous for his wise counsel; and besides, if so young, could not be the grandfather of Bathsheba, as the Jews say:

and died, and was buried in the sepulchre of his father;
though he died an ignominious death, he had an honourable burial; it perhaps not being usual in those times to put any mark of infamy on those that killed themselves, by refusing them interment in the common burying places of their friends and neighbours.


F20 (wtyb la wuy) "praecepit ad domum suam", Montanus.
F21 T. Hieros. Sanhedrin, fol. 29. 1.
F23 In Tishbi, p. 129. & David de Pomis, Lexic. fol. 148. 2.
F24 T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 106. 2.

2 Samuel 17:23 In-Context

21 After they had gone, the men came up out of the well, and went and told King David. They said to David, "Arise, and go quickly over the water, for thus and so has Ahithophel counseled against you."
22 Then David arose, and all the people who were with him, and they crossed the Jordan. By daybreak not one was left who had not crossed the Jordan.
23 When Ahithophel saw that his counsel was not followed, he saddled his donkey and went off home to his own city. He set his house in order and hanged himself, and he died and was buried in the tomb of his father.
24 Then David came to Mahanaim. And Absalom crossed the Jordan with all the men of Israel.
25 Now Absalom had set Amasa over the army instead of Joab. Amasa was the son of a man named Ithra the Ishmaelite, who had married Abigal the daughter of Nahash, sister of Zeruiah, Joab's mother.

Cross References 3