Abiathar was the son of Ahimelech, High Priest at Nob, and the 4th descendant from Eli (1Sam. 23:6)… and the last of Eli’s line.
I. Abiathar Escapes Death
The only one of the priests to escape Saul’s massacre, Abiathar fled to David, taking the ephod and other supplies with him (cf. 23:6,9).
1Samuel 23:6-12; 30:7,8
Abiathar joined David, who was hiding in the cave of Adullam. Abiathar acted as David’s personal priest… God’s man with God’s man at just the right time.
1Chronicles 15:11; 27:33,34; 1Kings 2:26
When David finally got the throne of Judah, Abiathar was appointed High Priest and “the king’s counselor”.
II. Abiathar Escapes Death… Again
Abiathar was of great service to David, especially at the time of the rebellion of Absalom.
When Absalom rebelled against David, Abiathar was one of the priests who attempted to bring the Ark of the Covenant with David, but David sent them back to Jerusalem. While he remained there, he helped pass important info to David to help regain his power.
Zadok & Abiathar are found acting together as priests under Solomon.
Abiathar appears as a support of Adonijah, Solomon’s rival to the throne.
Abiathar’s story turns south, though, when we come to the end of David’s life… because he chose to support Adonijah rather than Solomon, whom David had selected to be the next king. After Solomon solidified his grip on the throne, he removed Abiathar as priest and banished him to Anathoth, a suburb of Jerusalem.
Abiathar’s removal from the priesthood fulfilled a longstanding prophecy about his great-great-grandfather Eli, who had failed to restrain the wickedness of his 2 sons (1Sam. 2:11-14; 14:3; 22:20).
David trusted Abiathar for many years. But, instead of a lifetime of gratitude toward God and loyalty toward David, Abiathar eventually conspired against David & Solomon, God’s choices to be kings. Then, he was shown tremendous mercy and lost only his priestly position as punishment for his disloyalty.
There are many times in our lives when we’re given 2nd chances and experience great mercy.
Maybe you’ve been given another chance. In fact, you KNOW you’ve been given another chance… just like I have. Many additional chances. What has been your reaction/attitude toward those many second chances?
Like Abiathar, we might be tempted to neglect our gratitude to God and to others for their graciousness.
Make it a point – today! – to remember the many second chances you have received, and thanks the One/ones responsible.
Abiathar’s story reminds us we should never get complacent. A great life lived for God can be stained by a mistake at the end. We never reach a stage in life where we can just “coast”… or we’ll stumble just like Abiathar did. Make sure you finish strong!
* Life is a marathon, not a sprint… and a lifetime of good can be ruined by failing to finish strong.
You can read Abiathar’s story in 1Samuel 22,23,30; 1Chronicles 15,27; 1Kings 1,2,4; 2Samuel 15