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  • Print publication year: 2004
  • Online publication date: June 2014

11 - Ahitophel to Absalom


To my lord Absalom,

Should you come to read this letter it will mean that I have doubly failed! That would indeed be a bitter irony, though one I will hardly be in a position to appreciate. Granted, no one has yet returned from Sheol to bear witness to our level of awareness after death, but I will abide by the conventional wisdom on such matters. (It is nevertheless a subject I might well have wished to investigate had events turned out otherwise.) But I digress. If when I am dead you are still alive to read this, my lord, despite my prediction of your inevitable defeat because you failed to follow my advice, then all my vaunted wisdom is indeed no more than folly. Though the wise man has his eyes in his head and the fool walks in darkness, yet one fate comes to all of them!

But I suspect you will never get to read this and I will prove to have been correct, at least in my final prediction. Without my guidance you have little hope of outmanoeuvring, let alone defeating, your father. For all his follies, no one can fault David's military skills. And with Hushai insinuating himself into your counsel I see no hope.

To be honest, you were not my ideal choice to take on David. Like all of his offspring you have a kind of vulgar appeal, which served my purposes.