1Ahithophel said to Absalom, “Let me choose twelve thousand men, and I will set out in pursuit of David tonight. 2I will attack him while he is weary and discouraged,#17:2 Lit and weak of hands throw him into a panic, and all the people with him will scatter. I will strike down only the king#1Kg 22:31 3and bring all the people back to you. When everyone returns except the man you’re looking for, all#17:3 LXX reads to you as a bride returns to her husband. You seek the life of only one man, and all the people will be at peace.” 4This proposal seemed right to Absalom and all the elders of Israel.
5Then Absalom said, “Summon Hushai the Archite also. Let’s hear what he has to say as well.”
6So Hushai came to Absalom, and Absalom told him, “Ahithophel offered this proposal. Should we carry out his proposal? If not, what do you say?”
7Hushai replied to Absalom, “The advice Ahithophel has given this time is not good.” 8Hushai continued, “You know your father and his men. They are warriors and are desperate like a wild bear robbed of her cubs.#Pr 17:12; Hs 13:8 Your father is an experienced soldier who won’t spend the night with the people. 9He’s probably already hiding in one of the caves#17:9 Or pits, or ravines or some other place. If some of our troops fall#17:9 Lit And it will be when a falling on them at first, someone is sure to hear and say, ‘There’s been a slaughter among the people who follow Absalom.’ 10Then, even a brave man with the heart of a lion#Am 3:8 will lose heart#17:10 Lit melt because all Israel knows that your father and the valiant men with him are warriors. 11Instead, I advise that all Israel from Dan to Beer-sheba — as numerous as the sand by the sea#Gn 22:17 — be gathered to you and that you personally go into battle. 12Then we will attack David wherever we find him, and we will descend on him like dew on the ground. Not even one will be left—neither he nor any of the men with him. 13If he retreats to some city, all Israel will bring ropes to that city, and we will drag its stones#17:13 Lit drag it into the valley until not even a pebble can be found there.” 14Since the Lord had decreed#Pr 21:30; 1Co 1:19 that Ahithophel’s good advice be undermined#2Sm 15:31–34 in order to bring about Absalom’s ruin, Absalom and all the men of Israel said, “The advice of Hushai the Archite is better than Ahithophel’s advice.”
David Informed of Absalom’s Plans
15Hushai then told the priests Zadok and Abiathar, “This is what#17:15 Lit “Like this and like this Ahithophel advised Absalom and the elders of Israel, and this is what#17:15 Lit and like this and like this I advised. 16Now send someone quickly and tell David, ‘Don’t spend the night at the wilderness ford,#17:16 Some Hb mss; MT reads plains but be sure to cross over the Jordan,#17:16 the Jordan supplied for clarity#2Sm 15:28 or the king and all the people with him will be devoured.’”
17Jonathan and Ahimaaz were staying at En-rogel, where a servant girl would come and pass along information to them. They in turn would go and inform King David, because they dared not be seen entering the city. 18However, a young man did see them and informed Absalom. So the two left quickly and came to the house of a man in Bahurim. He had a well in his courtyard, and they climbed down into it. 19Then his wife took the cover, placed it over the mouth of the well, and scattered grain on it so nobody would know anything.
20Absalom’s servants came to the woman at the house and asked, “Where are Ahimaaz and Jonathan?”
“They passed by toward the water,”#17:20 Or brook; Hb obscure the woman replied to them. The men searched but did not find them, so they returned to Jerusalem.
21After they had gone, Ahimaaz and Jonathan climbed out of the well and went and informed King David. They told him, “Get up and immediately ford the river, for Ahithophel has given this advice against you.” 22So David and all the people with him got up and crossed the Jordan. By daybreak, there was no one who had not crossed the Jordan.
23When Ahithophel realized that his advice had not been followed, he saddled his donkey and set out for his house in his hometown. He set his house in order and hanged himself.#Mt 27:5 So he died and was buried in his father’s tomb.
24David had arrived at Mahanaim by the time Absalom crossed the Jordan with all the men of Israel. 25Now Absalom had appointed Amasa#2Sm 19:13; 20:9–12; 1Kg 2:5,32 over the army in Joab’s place. Amasa was the son of a man named Ithra#17:25 Or Jether the Israelite;#17:25 Some LXX mss read Ishmaelite#1Ch 2:13–17 Ithra had married Abigail daughter of Nahash.#17:25 Some LXX mss read Jesse Abigail was a sister to Zeruiah, Joab’s mother. 26And Israel and Absalom camped in the land of Gilead. 27When David came to Mahanaim, Shobi son of Nahash#2Sm 10:1–2 from Rabbah#2Sm 12:26–29 of the Ammonites, Machir son of Ammiel from Lo-debar,#2Sm 9:4 and Barzillai the Gileadite from Rogelim#2Sm 19:31–32; 1Kg 2:7; Ezr 2:61 28brought beds, basins,#17:28 LXX reads brought 10 embroidered beds with double coverings, 10 vessels and pottery items. They also brought wheat, barley, flour, roasted grain, beans, lentils,#17:28 LXX, Syr; MT adds roasted grain 29honey, curds, sheep, goats, and cheese#17:29 Hb obscure from the herd for David and the people with him to eat. They had reasoned, “The people must be hungry, exhausted, and thirsty in the wilderness.”