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17 Moreover Ahithophel said to Absalom, “Let me now choose 12,000 men, and I will arise and pursue David tonight. I will attack him while he is weary and weak-handed, and terrify him so that all the people that are with him will flee. Then I will strike down the king when he is alone. Then I will bring all the people back to you—when all will have returned except the man you are seeking, then all the people will be at peace.”

Now the plan seemed right in the eyes of Absalom and all the elders of Israel. Then Absalom said, “Call now Hushai the Archite also. Let’s hear what he has to say as well.” When Hushai came to Absalom, Absalom spoke to him saying, “This is what Ahithophel has advised. Should we follow his counsel? If not, you will speak.”

So Hushai said to Absalom, “This time the counsel that Ahithophel has given is not good.” Hushai then added, “You know your father and his men. They are mighty men, and they are embittered in their souls like a bear robbed of her cubs in the wild. Your father is an expert in warfare, and won’t spend the night with the troops. Even now, he must be hiding in one of the caves or in some other place. So if he were to fall on them at first, whoever hears of it would say, ‘There’s a slaughter among the people following Absalom!’ 10 Then even one who is valiant, whose heart is like the heart of a lion, will utterly melt away—for all Israel knows that your father is a mighty warrior and those who are with him are valiant men. 11 Instead, I counsel that all Israel be gathered altogether to you—from Dan to Beersheba, as abundant as the sand by the sea—and that you personally go into the battle. 12 Then we will come upon him in one of the places where he can be found and we’ll fall upon him as dew falls on the ground. None will be left of all the men who are with him—not even one. 13 Moreover if he withdraws into a city, then all Israel will bring ropes to that city and drag it into the valley until not even one small stone will be found there.”

14 Then Absalom and all the men of Israel said, “The counsel of Hushai the Archite is better than the counsel of Ahithophel.” For Adonai had ordained to thwart Ahithophel’s good counsel, so that Adonai might bring evil upon Absalom.

15 Then Hushai said to Zadok and Abiathar the kohanim, “This and that is what Ahithophel counseled Absalom and the elders of Israel, and this and that is what I advised. 16 Now therefore send word quickly and tell David saying, ‘Don’t spend the night at the fords in the wilderness but by all means, cross over or else the king and all the people with him may be swallowed up.’” 17 Now Jonathan and Ahimaaz were staying at En-rogel, and a maidservant used to go and pass information along to them. Then they would go and inform King David for they could not be seen entering the city.

18 But a lad did see them and informed Absalom. So the two of them left quickly and arrived at the house of a man in Bahurim. He had a well in his courtyard; so they went down into it. 19 Then the woman took the cover and spread it over the well’s mouth and scattered grain on top of it so that nothing was noticeable. 20 When Absalom’s servants came to the woman at the house and said, “Where are Ahimaaz and Jonathan?” the woman said to them, “They crossed over the brook of water.” When they had searched and could not find them, they returned to Jerusalem.

21 After they had departed, they came up from the well, then went and informed King David, telling David, “Get up and cross over the water immediately, for thus has Ahithophel counseled against you.” 22 Then David arose, and all the people who were with him, and they crossed over the Jordan. By morning light, not even one of them was left who had not crossed the Jordan.

23 Now when Ahithophel saw that his counsel was not followed, he saddled his donkey, arose, went to his home in his hometown set his house in order, and hanged himself. So he died and was buried in his father’s tomb.

24 David had reached Mahanaim by the time Absalom crossed the Jordan, he and all the men of Israel with him. 25 Now Absalom had set Amasa over the army instead of Joab. (Now Amasa was son of a man whose name was Ithra the Israelite[a], who had gone to Abigal daughter of Nahash, sister to Zeruiah Joab’s mother.) 26 Israel and Absalom camped in the land of Gilead.

27 Now when David reached Mahanaim, Shobi son of Nahash of Rabbah of the children of Ammon, Machir son of Ammiel of Lo-debar and Barzillai the Gileadite of Rogelim 28 brought beds, basins, clay pots, wheat, barley, flour, roasted grain, beans, lentils, parched seeds, 29 honey, curd, sheep and cheese from the herd for David and for the people who were with him to eat. For they said, “The people must be hungry, weary and thirsty in the wilderness.”


  1. 2 Samuel 17:25 1 Chronicles 2:17 says Jether was an “Ishmaelite,” while 2 Samuel 17:25 states he was an “Israelite.” The “Ishmaelite” reading is preferred. 2 Samuel makes a point of his being grafted in to the Israelite community, thus the reference.