Fausset's Bible Dictionary 
(See Absalom .) Of Giloh, in the hill country of Judah. David's counselor, to whose treachery he touchingly alludes Psalms 41:9; Psalms 55:12-14; Psalms 55:20-21. His name means brother of foolishness, but his oracular wisdom was proverbial. David's prayer "turned his counsel" indeed into what his name indicated, "foolishness" ( 2 Samuel 15:31; Job 5:12-13; 1 Corinthians 1:20). Ahithophel was the mainspring of the rebellion. Absalom calculated on his adhesion from the first ( 2 Samuel 15:12); the history does not directly say why, but incidentally it comes out: he was father of Eliam (or by transposition Ammiel, 1 Chronicles 3:5), the father of Bathsheba ( 2 Samuel 11:3; 2 Samuel 23:34; 2 Samuel 23:39).
Uriah the Hittite and Eliam, being both of the king's guard (consisting of 37 officers), were intimate, and Uriah married the daughter of his brother officer. How natural Ahithophel's sense of wrong toward David, the murderer of his grandson by marriage and the corrupter of his granddaughter! The evident undesignedness of this coincidence confirms the veracity of the history. The people's loyalty too was naturally shaken toward one whose moral character they had ceased to respect. Ahithophel's proposal himself to pursue David that night with 12,000 men, and smite the king only, indicates the same personal hostility to David, deep sagacity and boldness. He failed from no want of shrewdness on his part, but from the folly of Absalom. His awful end shows that worldly wisdom apart from faith in God turns into suicidal madness ( Isaiah 29:14). He was the type of Judas in his treachery and in his end. (See Judas .)
People's Dictionary of the Bible 
Ahithophel ( A-Hĭth'O-Fĕl ), Brother Of Folly. A native of Giloh, a city of Judah, David's trusted counsellor, 1 Chronicles 27:33-34, who was induced to join the party of Absalom. 2 Samuel 15:12; 2 Samuel 15:31; 2 Samuel 15:34 His advice was intended to make the breach irreparable betwixt the father and the son; and, had his counsel immediately to pursue David been followed, it is possible that the king would have been cut off before he reached the Jordan. But by God's providence Hushai's counterplan was preferred by Absalom; and Ahithophel, foreseeing the defeat of the rebellion, retired to his own city and hanged himself. 2 Samuel 16:15; 2 Samuel 17:23. Some have endeavored to account for Ahithophel's treason by the supposition that, as it seems likely he was Bath-sheba's grandfather, he wished to revenge on David the evil done to her. But this is not reasonable. The success of Absalom would probably have been fatal to Bath-sheba; it would certainly have barred Solomon, Ahithophel's great-grandson, from the throne. Perhaps there may be a reference in Psalms 41:9; Psalms 55:12-14, to Ahithophel, and possibly through him to a yet worse traitor, Judas.
Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible 
AHITHOPHEL . David’s counsellor ( 2 Samuel 15:12 , 1 Chronicles 27:33 ), whose advice was deemed infallible ( 2 Samuel 16:23 ). Being Bathsheba’s grandfather, he had been alienated by David’s criminal conduct ( 2 Samuel 11:3 , 2 Samuel 23:34 ), and readily joined Absalom ( 2 Samuel 15:12 ). Ahithophel advised the prince to take possession of the royal harem, thus declaring his father’s deposition, and begged for a body of men with whom he might at once overtake and destroy the fugitive monarch ( 2 Samuel 17:1-3 ). Hushai thwarted this move ( 2 Samuel 17:11 ). Disgusted at the collapse of his influence, and foreseeing that this lack of enterprise meant the failure of the insurrection, Ahithophel withdrew, set his affairs in order, and hanged himself ( 2 Samuel 17:23 ).
Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary 
a native of Giloh, who, after having been David's counsellor, joined in the rebellion of Absalom, and assisted him with his advice. Hushai, the friend of David, was employed to counteract the counsels of Ahithophel, and to deprive Absalom, under a pretence of serving him, of the advantage that was likely to result from the measures which he proposed. One of these measures was calculated to render David irreconcilable, and was immediately adopted; and the other to secure, or to slay him. Before the last counsel was followed, Hushai's advice was desired; and he recommended their assembling together the whole force of Israel, putting Absalom at their head, and overwhelming David by their number. The treacherous counsel of Hushai was preferred to that of Ahithophel; with which the latter being disgusted he hastened to his house at Giloh, where he put an end to his life. He probably foresaw Absalom's defeat, and dreaded the punishment which would be inflicted on himself as a traitor, when David was resettled on the throne, A.M. 2981. B.C. 1023.
2 Samuel 15:17 .
Smith's Bible Dictionary 
Ahith'ophel. (Brother Of Foolishness). A native of Giloh, was a privy councilor of David, whose wisdom was highly esteemed, though his name had an exactly opposite signification. 2 Samuel 16:23. (B.C. 1055-1023). He was the grandfather of Bathsheba. Compare 2 Samuel 11:3 with 2 Samuel 23:34.
Ahithophel joined the conspiracy of Absalom against David, and persuaded him to take possession of the royal harem, 2 Samuel 16:21, and recommended an immediate pursuit of David. His advice was wise; but Hushai advised otherwise. When Ahithophel saw that Hushai's advice prevailed, he despaired of success, and returning to his own home "put his household in order and hanged himself." 2 Samuel 17:1-23.
Morrish Bible Dictionary 
A Gilonite, grandfather of Bathsheba, and a very wise counsellor of David, of whom it is said that all his counsel was "as if a man had inquired at the oracle of God." He joined in the rebellion of Absalom, and advised him to go in publicly to David's concubines, and to let him make an immediate attack on David. The latter counsel not being followed, and a preference being given to the advice of Hushai, who was acting for David, Ahithophel returned to his house, set his household in order, and hanged himself. 2 Samuel 15:12-34; 2 Samuel 16:15-23; 2 Samuel 17:1-23; 2 Samuel 23:34 . He has generally been taken as foreshadowing Judas of the N.T.: cf. Psalm 41:9; Psalm 55:12 .
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary 
A native of Giloh, originally one of David's most intimate and valued friends; but upon the defection and rebellion of Absalom, he espoused the cause of that prince, and became one of David's bitterest enemies. Being disappointed that Absalom did not follow his sagacious advice, and foreseeing the issue of the rebellion, he hanged himself, 2 Samuel 15:12 17:1-29 Psalm 55:12-14 . Ahithophel seems to have been the grandfather of Bathsheba. 2 Samuel 23:34 , compared with 2 Samuel 11:3 .
Holman Bible Dictionary 
2 Samuel 15:12 2 Samuel 15:31 2 Samuel 16:15-23 2 Samuel 16:23 2 Samuel 17:1 2 Samuel 17:14 2 Samuel 17:23 2 Samuel 11:3 2 Samuel 23:34
Easton's Bible Dictionary 
Psalm 41:9 55:12-14 2 Samuel 15:12 2 Samuel 15:31-37 2 Samuel 17:1-23 Psalm 41:9
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia 
a - hith´o - fel ( אחיתפל , 'ăḥı̄thōphel , "brother of foolishness," perhaps): The real leader of the Absalom rebellion against David. He is described as "the king's counselor," in a context connected with events some of which are dated in the fortieth year of David ( 1 Chronicles 27:33 , 1 Chronicles 27:34; compare 1 Chronicles 26:31 ). Concerning him and his part in the rebellion we have rather full information ( 2 Samuel 15:12 ).
Some hold that he was the grandfather of Bathsheba, and make much of this in forming their estimates of him. Does the evidence sustain this view? In the latter half of the list of David's mighty men, not among the older veterans with whom the list begins, appears "Eliam the son of Ahithophel the Gilonite" ( 2 Samuel 23:34 ), the corresponding name in the other copy of the list being "Ahijah the Pelonite" ( 1 Chronicles 11:36 ). It is assumed that this is the same Eliam who was father to Bath-sheba ( 2 Samuel 11:3 ). Apparently the Chronicler testifies ( 1 Chronicles 3:5 ) that the mother of Solomon was "Bath-shua the daughter of Ammiel." Bathshua may easily be a variant of Bathsheba, and the names Eliam and Ammiel are made up of the same parts, only in reversed order. It is not strange that men have inferred that the son of Ahithophel was the father of Bathsheba. But the inference is really not a probable one. The record does not make the impression that Ahithophel was an older man than David. The recorded events of David's life after his misconduct with Bathsheba cannot have occupied less than about twenty years; that is, he cannot have been at the time older than about fifty years. That Ahithophel had then a married grand-daughter is less probable than that there were in Israel two Eliams. Further, Ahithophel was not the sort of man to conspire against the interests of his grand-daughter and her son, however he may, earlier, have resented the conduct of David toward her. Ahithophel's motive in the rebellion was doubtless ambition for personal power, though he very likely shared with many of his countrymen in the conviction that it was unjust to push aside an older son by elevating a younger son to the throne.
Ahithophel has a reputation for marvelous practical sagacity ( 2 Samuel 16:23 ). He did not show this in joining the conspiracy but it is in evidence in his management of the affair. According to the record the hearts of the people, in spite of the much fault they had to find, were all the time with David. Absalom's only chance of success was by the method of surprise and stampede. There must be a crisis in which everybody would join Absalom because everybody thought that everybody else had done so. Such a state of public sentiment could last only a very few days; but if, in those few days, David could be put out of the way, Absalom might hold the throne in virtue of his personal popularity and in default of a rival. The first part of the program was carried out with wonderful success; when it came to the second part, Ahithophel's practical wisdom was blocked by Hushai's adroit appeal to Absalom's personal vanity. Ahithophel saw with absolute clearness that Absalom had sacrificed his one opportunity, and he committed suicide to avoid participation in the shameful defeat which he saw could not be averted.
Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature 
(Hebrew Achitho'phel, אֲחַיתֹפֶל , Brother Of Insipidity, i e. Foolish; Sept. Ἀχιτόφελ , Josephus Ἀχιτόφελος ) , the singular name of a man renowned for political sagacity among the Jews, who regarded his counsels as oracles ( 2 Samuel 16:23). He was of the council of David ( 1 Chronicles 27:33-34), and his son Eliam (q.v.) was one of David's body-guard ( 2 Samuel 23:34). He was at Giloh, his native place, at the time of the revolt of Absalom, by whom he was summoned to Jerusalem; and it shows the strength. of Absalom's cause in Israel that a man so capable of foreseeing results, and estimating the probabilities of success, took his side in so daring an attempt ( 2 Samuel 15:12). He probably hoped to wield a greater sway under the vain prince than he had done under David, against whom it is also possible that he entertained a secret malice on account of his granddaughter Bathsheba ( 2 Samuel 11:3, comp. with 2 Samuel 23:34).
The news of his defection appears to have occasioned David more alarm than any other single incident in the rebellion. He earnestly prayed God to turn the sage counsel of Ahithophel "to foolishness" (probably alluding to his name); and being immediately after joined by his old friend Hushai, he induced him to go over to Absalom with the express view that he might be instrumental in defeating the counsels of this dangerous person ( 2 Samuel 15:31-37). Psalms 55 is supposed to contain ( Psalms 55:12-14) a further expression of David's feelings at this treachery of one whom he had so completely trusted, and whom he calls "My companion, my guide, and my familiar friend" — a passage which our Savior applies to his own case in such a manner as to indicate that Ahithophel was in some sense a type of Judas ( John 13:18); at least their conduct and their end were similar (see Steuber, Achitophel sibi loqueo gulam fractus, Rint. 1741; Lindsay, Lect. 2, 199; Crit. Sac. Thes. Nov. 1, 676; Jones, Works, 7, 102). The detestable advice which Ahithophel gave Absalom to appropriate his father's harem committed him absolutely to the cause of the young prince, since after that he could hope for no reconcilement with David ( 2 Samuel 16:20-23). His proposal as to the conduct of the war undoubtedly indicated the best course that could have been taken under the circumstances; and so it seemed to the council until Hushai interposed with his plausible advice, the object of which was to gain time to enable David to collect his resources. (See Absalom).
When Ahithophel saw that his counsel was rejected for that of Hushai, the far-seeing man gave up the cause of Absalom for lost (comp. Josephus, Ant, 7, 9, 8); and he forthwith saddled his ass, returned to his home at Giloh, deliberately settled his affairs, and then hanged himself. and was buried in the sepulcher of his fathers (2 Samuel 17), B.C. cir. 1023. (Niemeyer's Charak. 4, 327 sq.; Ewald, Isr. Gesch., 2, 642.) (See David).
Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature 
Ahith´ophel (brother of foolishness), the very singular name of a man who, in the time of David, was renowned throughout all Israel for his worldly wisdom. He is, in fact, the only man mentioned in the Scriptures as having acquired a reputation for political sagacity among the Jews; and they regarded his counsels as oracles ( 2 Samuel 16:23). He was of the council of David; but was at Giloh, his native place, at the time of Absalom's revolt, whence he was summoned to Jerusalem; and it shows the strength of Absalom's cause in Israel that a man so capable of foreseeing results, and of estimating the probabilities of success, took his side in so daring an attempt ( 2 Samuel 15:12). The news of this defection appears to have occasioned David more alarm than any other single incident in the rebellion. He earnestly prayed God to turn the sage counsel of Ahithophel 'to foolishness' (probably alluding to his name); and being immediately after joined by his old friend Hushai, he induced him to go over to Absalom with the express view that he might be instrumental in defeating the counsels of this dangerous person ( 2 Samuel 15:31-37). Psalms 55 is supposed to contain ( Psalms 55:12-14) a further expression of David's feelings at this treachery of one whom he had so completely trusted, and whom he calls, 'My companion, my guide, and my familiar friend.' The detestable advice which Ahithophel gave Absalom to appropriate his father's harem, committed him absolutely to the cause of the young prince, since after that he could hope for no reconcilement with David ( 2 Samuel 16:20-23). His proposal as to the conduct of the war undoubtedly indicated the best course that could have been taken under the circumstances; and so it seemed to the council, until Hushai interposed with his plausible advice, the object of which was to gain time to enable David to collect his resources [ABSALOM]. When Ahithophel saw that his counsel was rejected for that of Hushai, the farseeing man gave up the cause of Absalom for lost; and he forthwith saddled his ass, returned to his home at Giloh, deliberately settled his affairs, and then hanged himself, and was buried in the sepulchre of his fathers, B.C. 1023 (2 Samuel 17). This is the only case of suicide which the Old Testament records, unless the last acts of Samson and Saul may be regarded as such.
- ↑ Ahithophel from Fausset's Bible Dictionary
- ↑ Ahithophel from People's Dictionary of the Bible
- ↑ Ahithophel from Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible
- ↑ Ahithophel from Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary
- ↑ Ahithophel from Smith's Bible Dictionary
- ↑ Ahithophel from Morrish Bible Dictionary
- ↑ Ahithophel from American Tract Society Bible Dictionary
- ↑ Ahithophel from Holman Bible Dictionary
- ↑ Ahithophel from Easton's Bible Dictionary
- ↑ Ahithophel from International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
- ↑ Ahithophel from Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature
- ↑ Ahithophel from Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature