The Quick Power Grab before the Opposition Can Organize Vs. Waiting to Build a National Consensus – What Can Revolutionaries Learn From Achitophel?

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Regarding the Rebellion of Avshalom (Absalom) Against King David, the Bible Testifies that a Quick Power Grab before the Opposition Can Organize is the More Effective Strategy.

Translation of II Shmuel / Samuel 16:23 – 17:14

16:23 In those days, the advice which Achitophel gave was as if a man inquired of the word of the L-rd; so was all the counsel of Achitophel both with David and with Avshalom.

 Chapter 17

1 Moreover Achitophel said unto Absalom: ‘Let me now pick twelve thousand men, and I will arise and pursue after David this night;

2 and I will come upon him while he is weary and weak-handed, and I will throw him into a panic; and when all the troops with him flee, I will smite the king alone.

3 And I will bring back all the people to you; when all shall have returned, [save] the man whom you seek, all the people will be in peace.’

4 And the matter was proper in the eyes of Avshalom and in the eyes of all the elders of Israel.

5 Then said Avshalom: “Summon Chushai the Arki as well, so we can hear the words of his mouth.”

6 And when Chushai came to Avshalom, Avshalom spoke to him, saying: ‘Achitophel has spoken in this way; shall we do after his saying? And if not, you must speak.’

7 And Chushai said unto Avshalom: ‘The counsel that Achitophel has given this time is not good.’

8 Chushai said moreover: ‘You know your father and his men, that they are mighty men, and they are embittered in their minds, as a bear robbed of her whelps in the field; and your father is a warrior, and will not lodge with the people.

9 Behold, he is hid now in some pit, or in some place; and it will come to pass, if any of them fall at the first attack, whoever hears of it will say: There is a plague of death among the people that follow Avshalom;

10 then even he that is valiant, whose heart is as the heart of a lion, will utterly melt; for all Israel know that your father is a mighty man, and they that are with him are valiant men.

11 But I counsel that all Israel be gathered together unto you, from Dan even to Beer-sheva, as the sand that is by the sea for multitude; and that you personally go to battle.

12 So shall we come upon him in one of the places where he shall be found, and we will set down against him as the dew falls upon the ground; and there will be nothing left of him and of all the men that are with him we will not leave so much as one.

13 Moreover, if he withdraws into a city, then all Israel will bring up ropes to that city, and we will draw it into the valley until there be not one small stone found there.’

14 And Avshalom and all the men of Israel said: ‘The counsel of Chushai the Arki is better than the counsel of Achitophel.’

For Hashem had ordained to annul the good counsel of Achitophel, in order that Hashem might bring harm to Avshalom.