Ahithophel was a native of Giloh in the hills of Judah. He was the father of Eliam (one of David’s mighty warriors) and the grandfather of Bathsheba (one of David’s wives).
He was also the personal advisor to David. His wise counsel was esteemed so much by both David and his son Absalom that it was as if Ahithophel received it straight from God. (2 Samuel 16:23)
When the time came that Absalom led a coup against his father, Ahithophel joined Absalom in the rebellion. Not only did he join Absalom, he became a ringleader of the rebellion.
After fleeing into the wilderness, David decided to use his loyal servant Hushai to thwart Absalom and, in particular, to undermine the sage advice he knew Ahithophel would be providing him. David said to Hushai:
If you go with me, you will be a burden to me. But if you return to the city and say to Absalom, ‘Your Majesty, I will be your servant; I was your father’s servant in the past, but now I will be your servant,’ then you can help me by frustrating Ahithophel’s advice.” 2 Samuel 15:32-34
Hushai did as he was told, and in time, his advice came to be trusted by Absalom as much as Ahithophel’s. So that when Ahithophel wisely advised him to send an army of 12,000 to hunt down and kill the weary and weak David, Absalom called Hushai to ask for a second opinion. And when Hushai recommended against Ahithophel’s plan, Absalom and the elders decided his advice was wiser than Ahithophel’s.
Realizing that his advice was not being followed, Ahithophel saddled a donkey, returned to his hometown, set his house in order and hanged himself. (2 Samuel 17:23)
In the end, Hushai’s loyalty proved a much greater asset to David than Ahithophel’s wise counsel. Likewise, loyalty is a quality you should seek out in a spouse, a friend, an ally or any important person in your life. Other things people provide you with are great for as long as they last, but a loyal person is someone you can depend on to do anything to help and support you.
And in the same way, be that loyal person to the people you care about. There’s nothing more precious that you can give them.