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17 Ahithophel also said to Absalom, “Let me choose twelve thousand men so that I may arise and pursue David tonight. I will overtake him while he is weary and weak and strike him with terror; all of the people who are with him will flee. Then I will strike only the king, and I will return all of the people to you. When all return except the man whom you are seeking, all of the people will be at peace.” The advice pleased Absalom and all of the elders of Israel.

So Absalom said, “Summon Hushai the Arkite so that we may hear what he has to say as well.” When Hushai came to Absalom, Absalom said to him, “This is what Ahithophel had advised. Should we do this thing? If not, you should tell us.”

Hushai said to Absalom, “At this time, the advice that Ahithophel has given is not good.” Moreover, Hushai said, “You know that your father and his men are warriors, and they have been provoked like a bear robbed of her cubs. Your father is a veteran of warfare. He will not spend the night with the people. Even now, he has hidden himself in a ravine or some other place, and when one of them falls in the first attack, whoever hears will say, ‘It was a defeat for the people who follow Absalom.’ 10 Then even the valiant one, whose heart is like that of a lion, will completely despair, for all of Israel knows that your father is a warrior, and those who are with him are brave.

11 “Therefore my advice is for all of Israel, from Dan to Beersheba, to be completely gathered to you like the multitude of the sand along the shoreline and for you to go to battle in person. 12 We will come upon him in one of the places where he may be found, and we will fall upon him like the dew upon the ground. Neither he nor any of the men who are with him will remain, not a single one. 13 If he withdraws into a city, then all of Israel will bring ropes to that city. We will raze it until it is a valley, until there cannot be found there even a pebble.”

14 Then Absalom and all of the men of Israel said, “The advice of Hushai the Arkite is better than the advice of Ahithophel.” For the Lord had decided to undermine the prudent advice of Ahithophel, so that the Lord might bring calamity to Absalom.

Hushai Warns David to Escape

15 Then Hushai said to Zadok and Abiathar the priests, “Ahithophel advised Absalom and the elders of Israel to do one thing, but I advised them to do another thing. 16 Now quickly send someone to report to David, ‘Do not spend the night at the fords of the wilderness, but instead cross over. Otherwise, the king and all of the people who are with him will be swallowed up.’ ”

17 Now Jonathan and Ahimaaz were waiting at En Rogel. A servant girl would go report to them, and they would go report to King David, because they could not be seen entering the city. 18 But a young man saw them and reported this to Absalom. So the two of them went quickly and came to the house of a man in Bahurim. He had a well in his courtyard, and they went down into it. 19 The wife took a covering and spread it over the opening of the well. Then she scattered grain over it so that nothing could be discerned.

20 The servants of Absalom came to the woman at the house and said, “Where are Ahimaaz and Jonathan?”

She said, “They crossed over the brook of water.” When they searched, they could not find them. So they returned to Jerusalem.

21 After they left, they came up from the well, went, and reported to King David. They said to David, “Arise and quickly cross over the water because thus has Ahithophel advised against you.” 22 So David and all of the people who were with him arose and crossed over the Jordan. By daybreak, there was not one left who had not crossed over the Jordan.

23 When Ahithophel realized that his advice was not followed, he saddled his donkey and returned to his house in his own city. He gave instruction to his household, then he hanged himself and died; he was interred in the tomb of his father.

Absalom’s Death

24 David came to Mahanaim as Absalom crossed the Jordan, he and every Israelite with him. 25 Now Absalom had placed Amasa over the army in the place of Joab. Now Amasa was the son of a man named Jether the Ishmaelite, who went in to Abigail the daughter of Nahash and sister of Zeruiah, the mother of Joab. 26 Israel and Absalom camped in the land of Gilead.

27 When David came to Mahanaim, Shobi the son of Nahash from Rabbah of the Ammonites, Makir the son of Ammiel from Lo Debar, and Barzillai the Gileadite from Rogelim 28 brought bedding, metal bowls, ceramic vessels, wheat, barley, flour, roasted grain, beans, lentils, 29 honey, curds, sheep, and cheese from the livestock for David and the people who were with him to eat and use. For they said, “The people are hungry, exhausted, and thirsting in the wilderness.”