Hushai’s Counsel

17 Furthermore, Ahithophel said to Absalom, “Please let me choose 12,000 men that I may arise and pursue David tonight. (A)I will come upon him while he is weary and [a]exhausted and terrify him, so that all the people who are with him will flee. Then (B)I will strike down the king alone, and I will bring back all the people to you. [b]The return of everyone depends on the man you seek; then all the people will be at (C)peace.” So the [c]plan pleased Absalom and all the elders of Israel.

Then Absalom said, “Now call (D)Hushai the Archite also, and let us hear what [d]he has to say.” When Hushai had come to Absalom, Absalom said to [e]him, “Ahithophel has spoken [f]thus. Shall we [g]carry out his plan? If not, you speak.” So Hushai said to Absalom, “(E)This time the advice that Ahithophel has [h]given is not good.” Moreover, Hushai said, “You know your father and his men, that they are mighty men and they are [i]fierce, (F)like a bear robbed of her cubs in the field. And your father is an [j]expert in warfare, and will not spend the night with the people. Behold, he has now hidden himself in one of the [k]caves or in another place; and it will be [l]when he falls on them at the first attack, that whoever hears it will say, ‘There has been a slaughter among the people who follow Absalom.’ 10 And even the one who is valiant, whose heart is like the heart of a lion, (G)will completely [m]lose heart; for all Israel knows that your father is a mighty man and those who are with him are valiant men. 11 But I counsel that all Israel be surely gathered to you, (H)from Dan even to Beersheba, (I)as the sand that is by the sea in abundance, and that [n]you personally go into battle. 12 So we shall come to him in one of the places where he can be found, and we will [o]fall on him (J)as the dew falls on the ground; and of him and of all the men who are with him, not even one will be left. 13 If he withdraws into a city, then all Israel shall bring ropes to that city, and we will (K)drag it into the [p]valley until not even a small stone is 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 (L)the Lord had ordained to thwart the good counsel of Ahithophel, so that the Lord might bring calamity on Absalom.

Hushai’s Warning Saves David

15 Then (M)Hushai said to Zadok and to Abiathar the priests, “[q]This is what Ahithophel counseled Absalom and the elders of Israel, and [r]this is what I have counseled. 16 Now therefore, send quickly and tell David, saying, ‘(N)Do not spend the night at the fords of the wilderness, but by all means cross over, or else the king and all the people who are with him will be [s]destroyed.’” 17 (O)Now Jonathan and Ahimaaz were staying at (P)En-rogel, and a maidservant would go and tell them, and they would go and tell King David, for they could not be seen entering the city. 18 But a lad did see them and told Absalom; so the two of them departed quickly and came to the house of a man (Q)in Bahurim, who had a well in his courtyard, and they went down [t]into it. 19 And (R)the woman [u]took a covering and spread it over the well’s mouth and scattered grain on it, so that nothing was known. 20 Then Absalom’s servants came to the woman at the house and said, “Where are Ahimaaz and Jonathan?” And (S)the woman said to them, “They have crossed the brook of water.” And when they searched and could not find them, they returned to Jerusalem.

21 It came about after they had departed that they came up out of the well and went and told King David; and they said to David, “(T)Arise and cross over the water quickly for thus Ahithophel has counseled against you.” 22 Then David and all the people who were with him arose and crossed the Jordan; and by [v]dawn not even one remained who had not crossed the Jordan.

23 Now when Ahithophel saw that his counsel was not [w]followed, he [x]saddled his donkey and arose and went to his home, to (U)his city, and [y](V)set his house in order, and (W)strangled himself; thus he died and was buried in the grave of his father.

24 Then David came to (X)Mahanaim. And Absalom crossed the Jordan, he and all the men of Israel with him. 25 Absalom set (Y)Amasa over the army in place of Joab. Now Amasa was the son of a man whose name was [z]Ithra the Israelite, who went in to Abigail the daughter of (Z)Nahash, sister of Zeruiah, Joab’s mother. 26 And Israel and Absalom camped in the land of Gilead.

27 Now when David had come to Mahanaim, Shobi (AA)the son of Nahash from (AB)Rabbah of the sons of Ammon, (AC)Machir the son of Ammiel from Lo-debar, and (AD)Barzillai the Gileadite from Rogelim, 28 brought (AE)beds, basins, pottery, wheat, barley, flour, parched grain, beans, lentils, parched seeds, 29 honey, curds, sheep, and cheese of the herd, for David and for the people who were with him, (AF)to eat; for they said, “The people are hungry and weary and thirsty in the wilderness.”


  1. 2 Samuel 17:2 Lit slack of hands
  2. 2 Samuel 17:3 Lit Like the return of the whole is the man whom you seek
  3. 2 Samuel 17:4 Lit word was pleasing in the sight of
  4. 2 Samuel 17:5 Lit is in his mouth—even he
  5. 2 Samuel 17:6 Lit him, saying
  6. 2 Samuel 17:6 Lit according to this word
  7. 2 Samuel 17:6 Lit do his word
  8. 2 Samuel 17:7 Lit advised
  9. 2 Samuel 17:8 Lit bitter of soul
  10. 2 Samuel 17:8 Lit man of war
  11. 2 Samuel 17:9 Lit pits
  12. 2 Samuel 17:9 Lit according to a falling among them
  13. 2 Samuel 17:10 Lit melt
  14. 2 Samuel 17:11 Lit your face go
  15. 2 Samuel 17:12 Lit settle down
  16. 2 Samuel 17:13 Or wadi
  17. 2 Samuel 17:15 Lit Thus and thus
  18. 2 Samuel 17:15 Lit Thus and thus
  19. 2 Samuel 17:16 Lit swallowed up
  20. 2 Samuel 17:18 Lit there
  21. 2 Samuel 17:19 Lit took and spread the covering
  22. 2 Samuel 17:22 Lit the light of the morning
  23. 2 Samuel 17:23 Lit done
  24. 2 Samuel 17:23 Lit bound
  25. 2 Samuel 17:23 Lit gave charge to
  26. 2 Samuel 17:25 In 1 Chr 2:17, Jether the Ishmaelite