Tiny words make a difference.

Take the story of Ahitophel and Hushai.

Both were advisors to King David of Israel back in BC days (or BCE days if you are into that type of calendar). 

Here is the line from I Chronicles 27:33 in the Hebrew Scriptures. 

Ahithophel was the king’s counselor. Hushai the Archite was the king’s friend.

Sounds innocent enough.  But here’s the rest of the story.

Ahithophel was a vocation type of guy.  He was wise and strategic.  When he saw that David’s son, Absalom was planning a coup, he joined Absalom.  His calling was advising the rich and famous.  He followed the wave, served as an advisor to Absalom, and was called a “yaats” (Hebrew transliteration that leaves lots to be desired).

Hushai was a “rea” (another Hebrew transliteration that leaves lots to be desired).  He was a friend type of guy.  He was wise and strategic.  When he saw that David’s son, Absalom was planning a coup, he clung more tenaciously to David.  He volunteered to be a spy, serve as an advisor to Absalom, and give disinformation to Absalom.

Hushai won in winning over Absalom and saved David’s life (as well as leading to Absalom’s losing a battle with his father and losing his life as well).  Hushai is noted as a “rea” – a friendly counselor.

Ahithophel lost in winning over Absalom’s heart and he committed suicide.  In his usual way of doing things, “When Ahithophel realized that his advice had not been followed, he saddled his donkey, went to his hometown, set his affairs in order, and hanged himself. He died there and was buried in the family tomb.”  (II Samuel 17:23).  Ahithophel is merely mentioned as a “yaats” – a counselor/advisor.