2 Samuel 17 Common English Bible (CEB)
17 Then Ahithophel said to Absalom, “Let me pick twelve thousand men, and I will go after David tonight. 2 I will attack him while he is tired and weak, and I will throw him into a panic. All the troops with him will run off. I promise to kill the king alone, 3 and I will bring all the people back to you like a bride comes back to her husband.[a] It’s only one man’s life you are seeking; everyone else can be at peace.”
4 This plan seemed excellent to Absalom and the Israelite elders.
5 But Absalom said, “Call Hushai from Erek. Let’s hear what he has to say as well.” 6 When Hushai from Erek arrived, Absalom said to him, “This is what Ahithophel has advised. Should we follow it or not? What do you say?”
7 Hushai said to Absalom, “This time, the advice Ahithophel has given isn’t right. 8 You know that your father and his men are warriors,” he continued, “and they are as desperate as a wild bear robbed of her cubs. Your father is a seasoned fighter. He won’t spend the night with his troops. 9 Even now he has probably hidden himself in one of the caves or some other place. When some of the troops[b] fall in the first attack, whoever hears it will say, ‘The soldiers who follow Absalom have been defeated!’ 10 Then even the bravest soldier, whose heart is like a lion’s, will melt in fear because all Israel knows that your father is a warrior and that those who are with him are brave. 11 So I would advise that all the Israelites, from Dan to Beer-sheba—a group as countless as sand on the seashore—be summoned to join you, and that you yourself go into battle. 12 When we attack him wherever he might be, we will fall on him like dew that falls on the ground. No one will survive—not him and not one of the soldiers who are with him! 13 If he retreats into a city, all Israel will bring ropes to that city, and we will drag it into a valley until not even a pebble of it will be found.”
14 Then Absalom and everyone in Israel agreed, “The advice of Hushai from Erek is better than Ahithophel’s advice.” This was because the Lord had decided to counter Ahithophel’s good advice so that the Lord could bring disaster on Absalom.
Hushai warns David
15 Hushai told the priests Zadok and Abiathar, “Here is what Ahithophel advised Absalom and the Israelite elders, and here is what I advised. 16 Now send word immediately to David and tell him, ‘Don’t spend the night in the desert plains. You must cross over immediately. Otherwise, the king and all the troops who are with him will be swallowed up whole.’”
17 Jonathan and Ahimaaz were standing by at En-rogel. A female servant would come and report to them, and they would then travel and report to King David because they couldn’t risk being seen entering the city. 18 But a boy saw them and reported it to Absalom. So the two of them left immediately and came to a man’s house at Bahurim. He had a well in his courtyard, and they climbed down into it. 19 The man’s wife took a covering and spread it over the well’s opening, then scattered grain over it so no one would notice. 20 When Absalom’s servants came to the woman at the house they demanded, “Where are Ahimaaz and Jonathan?”
The woman told them, “They crossed over the stream.”[c] They looked for them but found nothing, so they returned to Jerusalem.
21 After they had left, Jonathan and Ahimaaz climbed out of the well. They went and reported to King David, “Get up! Cross the water immediately because Ahithophel has made plans against you!” 22 So David and all the troops who were with him got up and crossed the Jordan River. By daybreak there was no one left who hadn’t crossed the Jordan.
23 Meanwhile, once Ahithophel saw that his advice hadn’t been followed, he saddled his donkey and went home to his own town. He gave instructions to his household, then hanged himself and died. He was buried in his father’s tomb.
24 David had reached Mahanaim by the time Absalom and all the Israelites who were with him crossed the Jordan River. 25 Absalom had put Amasa in charge of the army instead of Joab. Amasa was the son of a man named Ithra, an Ishmaelite[d] who had married Abigail, who was Nahash’s daughter and the sister of Zeruiah, Joab’s mother. 26 Israel and Absalom camped in the territory of Gilead.
27 When David arrived in Mahanaim, Nahash’s son Shobi, who was from Rabbah of the Ammonites; Ammiel’s son Machir, who was from Lo-debar; and Barzillai the Gileadite from Rogelim 28 brought couches, basins, and pottery, along with wheat, barley, flour, roasted grain, beans, lentils, 29 honey, curds, sheep, and cheese from the herd so that David and the troops who were with him could eat. They said, “The troops have grown hungry, tired, and thirsty in the wilderness.”
2 Samuel 17 New International Version (NIV)
17 Ahithophel said to Absalom, “I would[a] choose twelve thousand men and set out tonight in pursuit of David. 2 I would attack him while he is weary and weak. I would strike him with terror, and then all the people with him will flee. I would strike down only the king 3 and bring all the people back to you. The death of the man you seek will mean the return of all; all the people will be unharmed.” 4 This plan seemed good to Absalom and to all the elders of Israel.
5 But Absalom said, “Summon also Hushai the Arkite, so we can hear what he has to say as well.” 6 When Hushai came to him, Absalom said, “Ahithophel has given this advice. Should we do what he says? If not, give us your opinion.”
7 Hushai replied to Absalom, “The advice Ahithophel has given is not good this time. 8 You know your father and his men; they are fighters, and as fierce as a wild bear robbed of her cubs. Besides, your father is an experienced fighter; he will not spend the night with the troops. 9 Even now, he is hidden in a cave or some other place. If he should attack your troops first,[b] whoever hears about it will say, ‘There has been a slaughter among the troops who follow Absalom.’ 10 Then even the bravest soldier, whose heart is like the heart of a lion, will melt with fear, for all Israel knows that your father is a fighter and that those with him are brave.
11 “So I advise you: Let all Israel, from Dan to Beersheba—as numerous as the sand on the seashore—be gathered to you, with you yourself leading them into battle. 12 Then we will attack him wherever he may be found, and we will fall on him as dew settles on the ground. Neither he nor any of his men will be left alive. 13 If he withdraws into a city, then all Israel will bring ropes to that city, and we will drag it down to the valley until not so much as a pebble is left.”
14 Absalom and all the men of Israel said, “The advice of Hushai the Arkite is better than that of Ahithophel.” For the Lord had determined to frustrate the good advice of Ahithophel in order to bring disaster on Absalom.
15 Hushai told Zadok and Abiathar, the priests, “Ahithophel has advised Absalom and the elders of Israel to do such and such, but I have advised them to do so and so. 16 Now send a message at once and tell David, ‘Do not spend the night at the fords in the wilderness; cross over without fail, or the king and all the people with him will be swallowed up.’”
17 Jonathan and Ahimaaz were staying at En Rogel. A female servant was to go and inform them, and they were to go and tell King David, for they could not risk being seen entering the city. 18 But a young man saw them and told Absalom. So the two of them left at once and went to the house of a man in Bahurim. He had a well in his courtyard, and they climbed down into it. 19 His wife took a covering and spread it out over the opening of the well and scattered grain over it. No one knew anything about it.
20 When Absalom’s men came to the woman at the house, they asked, “Where are Ahimaaz and Jonathan?”
The woman answered them, “They crossed over the brook.”[c] The men searched but found no one, so they returned to Jerusalem.
21 After they had gone, the two climbed out of the well and went to inform King David. They said to him, “Set out and cross the river at once; Ahithophel has advised such and such against you.” 22 So David and all the people with him set out and crossed the Jordan. By daybreak, no one was left who had not crossed the Jordan.
23 When Ahithophel saw that his advice had not been followed, he saddled his donkey and set out for his house in his hometown. He put his house in order and then hanged himself. So he died and was buried in his father’s tomb.
24 David went to Mahanaim, and Absalom crossed the Jordan with all the men of Israel. 25 Absalom had appointed Amasa over the army in place of Joab. Amasa was the son of Jether,[d] an Ishmaelite[e] who had married Abigail,[f] the daughter of Nahash and sister of Zeruiah the mother of Joab. 26 The Israelites and Absalom camped in the land of Gilead.
27 When David came to Mahanaim, Shobi son of Nahash from Rabbah of the Ammonites, and Makir son of Ammiel from Lo Debar, and Barzillai the Gileadite from Rogelim 28 brought bedding and bowls and articles of pottery. They also brought wheat and barley, flour and roasted grain, beans and lentils,[g] 29 honey and curds, sheep, and cheese from cows’ milk for David and his people to eat. For they said, “The people have become exhausted and hungry and thirsty in the wilderness.”