``But to become monarch of England,'' said his Ahithophel
coolly, ``it is necessary not only that your Grace should endure the transgressions of these unprincipled marauders, but that you should afford them your protection, notwithstanding your laudable zeal for the laws they are in the habit of infringing.
The Hebrew Bible mentions suicide seven times, committed by a total of five individuals (Abimelech in Judges 9, Saul and his armor bearer in 1 Samuel 31/lChronicles 10, Ahithophel
in 2 Samuel 17, and Zimri in 1 Kings 16).
's suicide is the only one in the Bible in which the victim has time to arrange his affairs and give instructions to his household before he kills himself.
(13) Alexander Whyte, Bible Characters: Ahithophel
to Nehemiah (Edinburgh: Oliphant, Anderson & Ferrier, 1900) 119.
Collins' claim that honor and shame assume greater importance in Ben Sira's day, partly through Greek influence, may be correct, but the suicide of a disgraced Ahithophel
implies that a counsellor in David's era considered honor a matter of life and death.
Dryden based his work on an Old Testament incident recorded in II Samuel 13-19; these chapters relate the story of King David's favorite son Absalom and his false friend Achitophel (Ahithophel
), who persuades Absalom to revolt against his father.