2 Samuel 16-17 Good News Translation (GNT)
David and Ziba
16 When David had gone a little beyond the top of the hill, he was suddenly met by Ziba, the servant of Mephibosheth, who had with him a couple of donkeys loaded with two hundred loaves of bread, a hundred bunches of raisins, a hundred bunches of fresh fruit, and a leather bag full of wine. 2 King David asked him, “What are you going to do with all that?”
Ziba answered, “The donkeys are for Your Majesty's family to ride, the bread and the fruit are for the men to eat, and the wine is for them to drink when they get tired in the wilderness.”
3 “Where is Mephibosheth, the grandson of your master Saul?” the king asked him.
“He is staying in Jerusalem,” Ziba answered, “because he is convinced that the Israelites will now restore to him the kingdom of his grandfather Saul.”
4 The king said to Ziba, “Everything that belonged to Mephibosheth is yours.”
“I am your servant,” Ziba replied. “May I always please Your Majesty!”
David and Shimei
5 When King David arrived at Bahurim, one of Saul's relatives, Shimei son of Gera, came out to meet him, cursing him as he came. 6 Shimei started throwing stones at David and his officials, even though David was surrounded by his men and his bodyguards. 7 Shimei cursed him and said, “Get out! Get out! Murderer! Criminal! 8 You took Saul's kingdom, and now the Lord is punishing you for murdering so many of Saul's family. The Lord has given the kingdom to your son Absalom, and you are ruined, you murderer!”
9 Abishai, whose mother was Zeruiah, said to the king, “Your Majesty, why do you let this dog curse you? Let me go over there and cut off his head!”
10 “This is none of your business,” the king said to Abishai and his brother Joab. “If he curses me because the Lord told him to, who has the right to ask why he does it?” 11 And David said to Abishai and to all his officials, “My own son is trying to kill me; so why should you be surprised at this Benjaminite? The Lord told him to curse; so leave him alone and let him do it. 12 Perhaps the Lord will notice my misery[a] and give me some blessings to take the place of his curse.” 13 So David and his men continued along the road. Shimei kept up with them, walking on the hillside; he was cursing and throwing stones and dirt at them as he went. 14 The king and all his men were worn out when they reached the Jordan,[b] and there they rested.
Absalom in Jerusalem
15 Absalom and all the Israelites with him entered Jerusalem, and Ahithophel was with them. 16 When Hushai, David's trusted friend, met Absalom, he shouted, “Long live the king! Long live the king!”
17 “What has happened to your loyalty to your friend David?” Absalom asked him. “Why didn't you go with him?”
18 Hushai answered, “How could I? I am for the one chosen by the Lord, by these people, and by all the Israelites. I will stay with you. 19 After all, whom should I serve, if not my master's son? As I served your father, so now I will serve you.”
20 Then Absalom turned to Ahithophel and said, “Now that we are here, what do you advise us to do?”
21 Ahithophel answered, “Go and have intercourse with your father's concubines whom he left behind to take care of the palace. Then everyone in Israel will know that your father regards you as his enemy, and your followers will be greatly encouraged.” 22 So they set up a tent for Absalom on the palace roof, and in the sight of everyone Absalom went in and had intercourse with his father's concubines.
23 Any advice that Ahithophel gave in those days was accepted as though it were the very word of God; both David and Absalom followed it.
Hushai Misleads Absalom
17 Not long after that, Ahithophel said to Absalom, “Let me choose twelve thousand men, and tonight I will set out after David. 2 I will attack him while he is tired and discouraged. He will be frightened, and all his men will run away. I will kill only the king 3 and then bring back all his men to you, like a bride returning to her husband. You want to kill only one man;[c] the rest of the people will be safe.” 4 This seemed like good advice to Absalom and all the Israelite leaders.
5 Absalom said, “Now call Hushai, and let us hear what he has to say.” 6 When Hushai arrived, Absalom said to him, “This is the advice that Ahithophel has given us; shall we follow it? If not, you tell us what to do.”
7 Hushai answered, “The advice Ahithophel gave you this time is no good. 8 You know that your father David and his men are hard fighters and that they are as fierce as a mother bear robbed of her cubs. Your father is an experienced soldier and does not stay with his men at night. 9 Right now he is probably hiding in a cave or some other place. As soon as David attacks your men, whoever hears about it will say that your men have been defeated. 10 Then even the bravest men, as fearless as lions, will be afraid because everyone in Israel knows that your father is a great soldier and that his men are hard fighters. 11 My advice is that you bring all the Israelites together from one end of the country to the other, as many as the grains of sand on the seashore, and that you lead them personally in battle. 12 We will find David wherever he is, and attack him before he knows what's happening. Neither he nor any of his men will survive. 13 If he retreats into a city, our people will all bring ropes and just pull the city[d] into the valley below. Not a single stone will be left there on top of the hill.”
14 Absalom and all the Israelites said, “Hushai's advice is better than Ahithophel's.” The Lord had decided that Ahithophel's good advice would not be followed, so that disaster would come on Absalom.
David Is Warned and Escapes
15 Then Hushai told the priests Zadok and Abiathar what advice he had given to Absalom and the Israelite leaders and what advice Ahithophel had given. 16 Hushai added, “Quick, now! Send a message to David not to spend the night at the river crossings in the wilderness, but to cross the Jordan at once, so that he and his men won't all be caught and killed.”
17 Abiathar's son Jonathan and Zadok's son Ahimaaz were waiting at the spring of Enrogel, on the outskirts of Jerusalem, because they did not dare be seen entering the city. A servant woman would regularly go and tell them what was happening, and then they would go and tell King David. 18 But one day a boy happened to see them, and he told Absalom; so they hurried off to hide in the house of a certain man in Bahurim. He had a well near his house, and they got down in it. 19 The man's wife took a covering, spread it over the opening of the well and scattered grain over it, so that no one would notice anything. 20 Absalom's officials came to the house and asked the woman, “Where are Ahimaaz and Jonathan?”
“They crossed the river,” she answered.
The men looked for them but could not find them, and so they returned to Jerusalem. 21 After they left, Ahimaaz and Jonathan came up out of the well and went and reported to King David. They told him what Ahithophel had planned against him and said, “Hurry up and cross the river.” 22 So David and his men started crossing the Jordan, and by daybreak they had all gone across.
23 When Ahithophel saw that his advice had not been followed, he saddled his donkey and went back to his hometown. After putting his affairs in order, he hanged himself. He was buried in the family grave.
24 David had reached the town of Mahanaim by the time Absalom and the Israelites had crossed the Jordan. (25 Absalom had put Amasa in command of the army in the place of Joab. Amasa was the son of Jether the Ishmaelite;[e] his mother was Abigail, the daughter of Nahash and the sister of Joab's mother Zeruiah.) 26 Absalom and his men camped in the land of Gilead.
27 When David arrived at Mahanaim, he was met by Shobi son of Nahash, from the city of Rabbah in Ammon, and by Machir son of Ammiel, from Lodebar, and by Barzillai, from Rogelim in Gilead. 28-29 They brought bowls, clay pots, and bedding, and also food for David and his men: wheat, barley, meal, roasted grain, beans, peas,[f] honey, cheese, cream, and some sheep. They knew that David and his men would get hungry, thirsty, and tired in the wilderness.
2 Samuel 16-17 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
16 When David had passed a little beyond the summit, Ziba the servant of Mephibosheth[a] met him, with a couple of donkeys saddled, carrying two hundred loaves of bread, one hundred bunches of raisins, one hundred of summer fruits, and one skin of wine. 2 The king said to Ziba, “Why have you brought these?” Ziba answered, “The donkeys are for the king’s household to ride, the bread and summer fruit for the young men to eat, and the wine is for those to drink who faint in the wilderness.” 3 The king said, “And where is your master’s son?” Ziba said to the king, “He remains in Jerusalem; for he said, ‘Today the house of Israel will give me back my grandfather’s kingdom.’” 4 Then the king said to Ziba, “All that belonged to Mephibosheth[b] is now yours.” Ziba said, “I do obeisance; let me find favor in your sight, my lord the king.”
Shimei Curses David
5 When King David came to Bahurim, a man of the family of the house of Saul came out whose name was Shimei son of Gera; he came out cursing. 6 He threw stones at David and at all the servants of King David; now all the people and all the warriors were on his right and on his left. 7 Shimei shouted while he cursed, “Out! Out! Murderer! Scoundrel! 8 The Lord has avenged on all of you the blood of the house of Saul, in whose place you have reigned; and the Lord has given the kingdom into the hand of your son Absalom. See, disaster has overtaken you; for you are a man of blood.”
9 Then Abishai son of Zeruiah said to the king, “Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Let me go over and take off his head.” 10 But the king said, “What have I to do with you, you sons of Zeruiah? If he is cursing because the Lord has said to him, ‘Curse David,’ who then shall say, ‘Why have you done so?’” 11 David said to Abishai and to all his servants, “My own son seeks my life; how much more now may this Benjaminite! Let him alone, and let him curse; for the Lord has bidden him. 12 It may be that the Lord will look on my distress,[c] and the Lord will repay me with good for this cursing of me today.” 13 So David and his men went on the road, while Shimei went along on the hillside opposite him and cursed as he went, throwing stones and flinging dust at him. 14 The king and all the people who were with him arrived weary at the Jordan;[d] and there he refreshed himself.
The Counsel of Ahithophel
15 Now Absalom and all the Israelites[e] came to Jerusalem; Ahithophel was with him. 16 When Hushai the Archite, David’s friend, came to Absalom, Hushai said to Absalom, “Long live the king! Long live the king!” 17 Absalom said to Hushai, “Is this your loyalty to your friend? Why did you not go with your friend?” 18 Hushai said to Absalom, “No; but the one whom the Lord and this people and all the Israelites have chosen, his I will be, and with him I will remain. 19 Moreover, whom should I serve? Should it not be his son? Just as I have served your father, so I will serve you.”
20 Then Absalom said to Ahithophel, “Give us your counsel; what shall we do?” 21 Ahithophel said to Absalom, “Go in to your father’s concubines, the ones he has left to look after the house; and all Israel will hear that you have made yourself odious to your father, and the hands of all who are with you will be strengthened.” 22 So they pitched a tent for Absalom upon the roof; and Absalom went in to his father’s concubines in the sight of all Israel. 23 Now in those days the counsel that Ahithophel gave was as if one consulted the oracle[f] of God; so all the counsel of Ahithophel was esteemed, both by David and by Absalom.
17 Moreover Ahithophel said to Absalom, “Let me choose twelve thousand men, and I will set out and pursue David tonight. 2 I will come upon him while he is weary and discouraged, and throw him into a panic; and all the people who are with him will flee. I will strike down only the king, 3 and I will bring all the people back to you as a bride comes home to her husband. You seek the life of only one man,[g] and all the people will be at peace.” 4 The advice pleased Absalom and all the elders of Israel.
The Counsel of Hushai
5 Then Absalom said, “Call Hushai the Archite also, and let us hear too what he has to say.” 6 When Hushai came to Absalom, Absalom said to him, “This is what Ahithophel has said; shall we do as he advises? If not, you tell us.” 7 Then Hushai said to Absalom, “This time the counsel that Ahithophel has given is not good.” 8 Hushai continued, “You know that your father and his men are warriors, and that they are enraged, like a bear robbed of her cubs in the field. Besides, your father is expert in war; he will not spend the night with the troops. 9 Even now he has hidden himself in one of the pits, or in some other place. And when some of our troops[h] fall at the first attack, whoever hears it will say, ‘There has been a slaughter among the troops who follow Absalom.’ 10 Then even the valiant warrior, whose heart is like the heart of a lion, will utterly melt with fear; for all Israel knows that your father is a warrior, and that those who are with him are valiant warriors. 11 But my counsel is that all Israel be gathered to you, from Dan to Beer-sheba, like the sand by the sea for multitude, and that you go to battle in person. 12 So we shall come upon him in whatever place he may be found, and we shall light on him as the dew falls on the ground; and he will not survive, nor will any of those with him. 13 If he withdraws into a city, then all Israel will bring ropes to that city, and we shall drag it into the valley, until not even a pebble is to be found there.” 14 Absalom and all the men of Israel said, “The counsel of Hushai the Archite is better than the counsel of Ahithophel.” For the Lord had ordained to defeat the good counsel of Ahithophel, so that the Lord might bring ruin on Absalom.
Hushai Warns David to Escape
15 Then Hushai said to the priests Zadok and Abiathar, “Thus and so did Ahithophel counsel Absalom and the elders of Israel; and thus and so I have counseled. 16 Therefore send quickly and tell David, ‘Do not lodge tonight at the fords of the wilderness, but by all means cross over; otherwise the king and all the people who are with him will be swallowed up.’” 17 Jonathan and Ahimaaz were waiting at En-rogel; a servant-girl used to go and tell them, and they would go and tell King David; for they could not risk being seen entering the city. 18 But a boy saw them, and told Absalom; so both of them went away quickly, and came to the house of a man at Bahurim, who had a well in his courtyard; and they went down into it. 19 The man’s wife took a covering, stretched it over the well’s mouth, and spread out grain on it; and nothing was known of it. 20 When Absalom’s servants came to the woman at the house, they said, “Where are Ahimaaz and Jonathan?” The woman said to them, “They have crossed over the brook[i] of water.” And when they had searched and could not find them, they returned to Jerusalem.
21 After they had gone, the men came up out of the well, and went and told King David. They said to David, “Go and cross the water quickly; for thus and so has Ahithophel counseled against you.” 22 So David and all the people who were with him set out and crossed the Jordan; by daybreak not one was left who had not crossed the Jordan.
23 When Ahithophel saw that his counsel was not followed, he saddled his donkey and went off home to his own city. He set his house in order, and hanged himself; he died and was buried in the tomb of his father.
24 Then David came to Mahanaim, while Absalom crossed the Jordan with all the men of Israel. 25 Now Absalom had set Amasa over the army in the place of Joab. Amasa was the son of a man named Ithra the Ishmaelite,[j] who had married Abigal daughter of Nahash, sister of Zeruiah, Joab’s mother. 26 The Israelites and Absalom encamped in the land of Gilead.
27 When David came to Mahanaim, Shobi son of Nahash from Rabbah of the Ammonites, and Machir son of Ammiel from Lo-debar, and Barzillai the Gileadite from Rogelim, 28 brought beds, basins, and earthen vessels, wheat, barley, meal, parched grain, beans and lentils,[k] 29 honey and curds, sheep, and cheese from the herd, for David and the people with him to eat; for they said, “The troops are hungry and weary and thirsty in the wilderness.”
2 Samuel 16-17 Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)
16 When David had gone a little past the summit, there was Tziva, the servant of M’fivoshet, who met him with a pair of donkeys saddled and on them 200 loaves of bread, 100 bunches of raisins, 100 pieces of summer fruit and a skin of wine. 2 The king said to Tziva, “What do you mean by these?” Tziva replied, “The donkeys are for the king’s household to ride on; the bread and summer fruit are for the young men to eat; and the wine is for those who collapse in the desert to drink.” 3 The king asked, “Where is your master’s [grand]son?” Tziva answered the king, “He’s staying in Yerushalayim, because he said, ‘Today the house of Isra’el will restore my father’s kingship to me.’” 4 The king said to Tziva, “Everything that belongs to M’fivoshet is now yours.” Tziva answered, “I bow down before you; may I find favor in your sight, my lord, king.”
5 When King David arrived at Bachurim, there came out from there a man from Sha’ul’s family named Shim‘i the son of Gera; and he came out pronouncing curses 6 and throwing stones at David and all King David’s servants; even though all the people, including his bodyguard, surrounded him right and left. 7 When Shim‘i cursed, he said, “Get out of here! Get out of here, you killer, you good-for-nothing! 8 Adonai has brought back on you all the blood of the house of Sha’ul. You usurped his kingship, but Adonai has handed over the kingdom to Avshalom your son. Now your own evil has overtaken you, because you are a man of blood!”
9 Avishai the son of Tz’ruyah said to the king, “Why allow this dead dog to curse my lord the king? Just let me go over and remove his head!” 10 The king said, “Do you sons of Tz’ruyah and I have anything in common? Let him curse. If Adonai tells him, ‘Curse David,’ who has the right to ask, ‘Why are you doing it?’” 11 David then said to Avishai and all his servants, “Look, my own son, who came from my own body, seeks my life. So how much more now this Binyamini! Let him alone; and let him curse, if Adonai told him to. 12 Maybe Adonai will notice how I’m treating him, and Adonai will reward me with good instead of his curses.” 13 So David and his men went on their way, while on the opposite hillside Shim‘i kept pace with him, cursing, throwing stones and flinging dust as he went. 14 The king and all the people with him arrived exhausted, so he rested there.
15 Meanwhile Avshalom and all the people, the men of Isra’el, came to Yerushalayim; Achitofel was with him. 16 Hushai the Arki, David’s friend, came to Avshalom and said to him, “Long live the king! Long live the king!” 17 Avshalom asked Hushai, “Is this how you show kindness to your friend? Why didn’t you go with your friend?” 18 Hushai replied, “No, but whomever Adonai and this people and all the men of Isra’el choose, his I will be; and with him I will stay. 19 Moreover, whom should I serve? Shouldn’t I serve in the presence of his son? Just as I have served in your father’s presence, so will I be in your presence.”
20 Avshalom said to Achitofel, “Give your advice as to what we should do.” 21 Achitofel answered Avshalom, “Go in, and sleep with your father’s concubines, the ones he left to take care of the palace. All Isra’el will hear that your father utterly despises you, and this will strengthen the position of all those who are on your side.” 22 So they set up a tent for Avshalom on the roof of the palace; and Avshalom went in to sleep with his father’s concubines in the sight of all Isra’el. 23 In those days Achitofel’s advice was regarded as highly as if someone had sought out the word of God; it was this way with Achitofel’s advice both to David and to Avshalom.
17 Achitofel said to Avshalom, “Let me now choose 12,000 men, and I will pursue David tonight. 2 I’ll fall on him unexpectedly when he’s tired and powerless. I’ll frighten him, all the people with him will flee, and I’ll attack only the king. 3 Then I will bring back to you all the people; and when they have all returned, except the one you are seeking, all the people will be at peace.” 4 What he said pleased Avshalom and all the leaders of Isra’el.
5 Then Avshalom said, “Now call also Hushai the Arki, and let’s give equal hearing to what he has to say.” 6 When Hushai appeared before Avshalom, Avshalom said to him, “Achitofel has said such-and-such. Should we do what he says? If not, you tell us.” 7 Hushai said to Avshalom, “The advice Achitofel has given this time is not good. 8 You know,” continued Hushai, “that your father and his men are powerful men, and that they are as bitter as a bear deprived of her cubs in the wild. Moreover, your father is a military man, and he won’t camp with the rest of the people — 9 right now he’s hidden in a pit or somewhere. So what will happen is this: when they begin their attack, and whoever hears about it says, ‘A slaughter is taking place among Avshalom’s followers,’ 10 then even the strongest among them, someone whose courage is that of a lion, will completely collapse! For all Isra’el knows that your father is a powerful man, and those with him are powerful men. 11 Rather, I advise that you summon all Isra’el to come to you, from Dan to Be’er-Sheva, numbering as many as sand grains on the seashore; and then you go to battle, yourself. 12 In this way we’ll come upon him wherever he is, and we’ll fall on him as the dew falls on the ground; of him and all the men with him we won’t leave even one alive. 13 If he withdraws into a city, then all Isra’el will bring up ropes to that city, and we will drag it into the riverbed until not even a pebble is left.” 14 Avshalom and all the men of Isra’el said, “The advice of Hushai the Arki is better than the advice of Achitofel” — for Adonai had determined to frustrate the good advice of Achitofel, so that Adonai could bring disaster on Avshalom.
15 Then Hushai said to Tzadok and Evyatar the cohanim, “Achitofel gave such-and-such advice to Avshalom and the leaders of Isra’el, but I advised so and so. 16 Now therefore send quickly and tell David, “Don’t stay tonight in the desert plains; but, whatever it takes, move on from there! Otherwise, the king and all the people with him will be engulfed.” 17 Y’honatan and Achima‘atz were staying at ‘Ein-Rogel; a female servant was to go and tell them, and they in turn were to go and tell King David — for it would not do to have them seen entering the city. 18 But a boy saw them and told Avshalom; so both of them took off quickly and came to the house of a man in Bachurim who had a cistern in his courtyard; and they went down into it. 19 His wife spread a covering over the cistern’s opening and scattered drying grain on it, so that nothing showed. 20 Avshalom’s servants came to the woman at the house and asked, “Where are Achima‘atz and Y’honatan?” The woman answered them, “They’ve crossed the stream.” After searching and not finding them, they returned to Yerushalayim.
21 After they had left, the two climbed out of the cistern and went and told King David, “Get up and cross the river, because Achitofel has given such-and-such advice against you.” 22 David and all the people with him got up and crossed the Yarden; by dawn every one of them had crossed the Yarden. 23 When Achitofel saw that his advice was not being followed, he saddled his donkey, set out, and went home to his own city. After setting his house in order, he hanged himself; he died and was buried in his father’s tomb.
24 David had reached Machanayim by the time Avshalom and all the men of Isra’el crossed the Yarden. 25 Avshalom had put ‘Amasa in charge of the army in place of Yo’av. ‘Amasa was the son of a man whose name was Yitra the Isra’eli, who had had sexual relations with Avigal the daughter of Nachash, Tz’ruyah’s sister and Yo’av’s mother. 26 Isra’el and Avshalom pitched camp in the land of Gil‘ad.
27 After David had arrived in Machanayim, Shovi the son of Nachash, from Rabbah of the people of ‘Amon; Machir the son of ‘Ammi’el from Lo-D’var and Barzillai the Gil‘adi from Roglim 28 brought beds, basins, clay pots, wheat, barley, flour, roasted grain, beans, lentils, roasted millet, 29 honey, curdled milk, sheep and cheese made of cow’s milk for David and the people with him to eat; because they said, “These people are hungry, tired and thirsty from the desert.”
2 Samuel 16-17 The Message (MSG)
16 Shortly after David passed the crest of the hill, Mephibosheth’s steward Ziba met him with a string of pack animals, saddled and loaded with a hundred loaves of bread, a hundred raisin cakes, a hundred baskets of fresh fruit, and a skin of wine.
2 The king said to Ziba, “What’s all this?”
“The donkeys,” said Ziba, “are for the king’s household to ride, the bread and fruit are for the servants to eat, and the wine is for drinking, especially for those overcome by fatigue in the wilderness.”
3 The king said, “And where is your master’s grandson?”
“He stayed in Jerusalem,” said Ziba. “He said, ‘This is the day Israel is going to restore my grandfather’s kingdom to me.’”
4 “Everything that belonged to Mephibosheth,” said the king, “is now yours.”
Ziba said, “How can I ever thank you? I’ll be forever in your debt, my master and king; may you always look on me with such kindness!”
5-8 When the king got to Bahurim, a man appeared who had connections with Saul’s family. His name was Shimei son of Gera. As he followed along he shouted insults and threw rocks right and left at David and his company, servants and soldiers alike. To the accompaniment of curses he shouted, “Get lost, get lost, you butcher, you hellhound! God has paid you back for all your dirty work in the family of Saul and for stealing his kingdom. God has given the kingdom to your son Absalom. Look at you now—ruined! And good riddance, you pathetic old man!”
9 Abishai son of Zeruiah said, “This mangy dog can’t insult my master the king this way—let me go over and cut off his head!”
10 But the king said, “Why are you sons of Zeruiah always interfering and getting in the way? If he’s cursing, it’s because God told him, ‘Curse David.’ So who dares raise questions?”
11-12 “Besides,” continued David to Abishai and the rest of his servants, “my own son, my flesh and bone, is right now trying to kill me; compared to that this Benjaminite is small potatoes. Don’t bother with him; let him curse; he’s preaching God’s word to me. And who knows, maybe God will see the trouble I’m in today and exchange the curses for something good.”
13 David and his men went on down the road, while Shimei followed along on the ridge of the hill alongside, cursing, throwing stones down on them, and kicking up dirt.
14 By the time they reached the Jordan River, David and all the men of the company were exhausted. There they rested and were revived.
15 By this time Absalom and all his men were in Jerusalem.
And Ahithophel was with them.
16 Soon after, Hushai the Arkite, David’s friend, came and greeted Absalom, “Long live the king! Long live the king!”
17 Absalom said to Hushai, “Is this the way you show devotion to your good friend? Why didn’t you go with your friend David?”
18-19 “Because,” said Hushai, “I want to be with the person that God and this people and all Israel have chosen. And I want to stay with him. Besides, who is there to serve other than the son? Just as I served your father, I’m now ready to serve you.”
20 Then Absalom spoke to Ahithophel, “Are you ready to give counsel? What do we do next?”
21-22 Ahithophel told Absalom, “Go and sleep with your father’s concubines, the ones he left to tend to the palace. Everyone will hear that you have openly disgraced your father, and the morale of everyone on your side will be strengthened.” So Absalom pitched a tent up on the roof in public view, and went in and slept with his father’s concubines.
23 The counsel that Ahithophel gave in those days was treated as if God himself had spoken. That was the reputation of Ahithophel’s counsel to David; it was the same with Absalom.
17 1-3 Next Ahithophel advised Absalom, “Let me handpick twelve thousand men and go after David tonight. I’ll come on him when he’s bone tired and take him by complete surprise. The whole army will run off and I’ll kill only David. Then I’ll bring the army back to you—a bride brought back to her husband! You’re only after one man, after all. Then everyone will be together in peace!”
4 Absalom thought it was an excellent strategy, and all the elders of Israel agreed.
5 But then Absalom said, “Call in Hushai the Arkite—let’s hear what he has to say.”
6 So Hushai came and Absalom put it to him, “This is what Ahithophel advised. Should we do it? What do you say?”
7-10 Hushai said, “The counsel that Ahithophel has given in this instance is not good. You know your father and his men, brave and bitterly angry—like a bear robbed of her cubs. And your father is an experienced fighter; you can be sure he won’t be caught napping at a time like this. Even while we’re talking, he’s probably holed up in some cave or other. If he jumps your men from ambush, word will soon get back, ‘A slaughter of Absalom’s army!’ Even if your men are valiant with hearts of lions, they’ll fall apart at such news, for everyone in Israel knows the kind of fighting stuff your father’s made of, and also the men with him.
11-13 “Here’s what I’d advise: Muster the whole country, from Dan to Beersheba, an army like the sand of the sea, and you personally lead them. We’ll smoke him out wherever he is, fall on him like dew falls on the earth, and, believe me, there won’t be a single survivor. If he hides out in a city, then the whole army will bring ropes to that city and pull it down and into a gully—not so much as a pebble left of it!”
14 Absalom and all his company agreed that the counsel of Hushai the Arkite was better than the counsel of Ahithophel. (God had determined to discredit the counsel of Ahithophel so as to bring ruin on Absalom.)
15-16 Then Hushai told the priests Zadok and Abiathar, “Ahithophel advised Absalom and the elders of Israel thus and thus, and I advised them thus and thus. Now send this message as quickly as possible to David: ‘Don’t spend the night on this side of the river; cross immediately or the king and everyone with him will be swallowed up alive.’”
17-20 Jonathan and Ahimaaz were waiting around at En Rogel. A servant girl would come and give them messages and then they would go and tell King David, for it wasn’t safe to be seen coming into the city. But a soldier spotted them and told Absalom, so the two of them got out of there fast and went to a man’s house in Bahurim. He had a well in his yard and they climbed into it. The wife took a rug and covered the well, then spread grain on it so no one would notice anything out of the ordinary. Shortly, Absalom’s servants came to the woman’s house and asked her, “Have you seen Ahimaaz and Jonathan?”
The woman said, “They were headed toward the river.”
They looked but didn’t find them, and then went back to Jerusalem.
21 When the coast was clear, Ahimaaz and Jonathan climbed out of the well and went on to make their report to King David, “Get up and cross the river quickly; Ahithophel has given counsel against you!”
22 David and his whole army were soon up and moving and crossed the Jordan. As morning broke there was not a single person who had not made it across the Jordan.
23 When Ahithophel realized that his counsel was not followed, he saddled his donkey and left for his hometown. After making out his will and putting his house in order, he hanged himself and died. He was buried in the family tomb.
24-26 About the time David arrived at Mahanaim, Absalom crossed the Jordan, and the whole army of Israel with him. Absalom had made Amasa head of the army, replacing Joab. (Amasa was the son of a man named Ithra, an Ishmaelite who had married Abigail, daughter of Nahash and sister of Zeruiah, the mother of Joab.) Israel and Absalom set camp in Gilead.
27-29 When David arrived at Mahanaim, Shobi son of Nahash from Ammonite Rabbah, and Makir son of Ammiel from Lo Debar, and Barzillai the Gileadite from Rogelim brought beds and blankets, bowls and jugs filled with wheat, barley, flour, roasted grain, beans and lentils, honey, and curds and cheese from the flocks and herds. They presented all this to David and his army to eat, “because,” they said, “the army must be starved and exhausted and thirsty out in this wilderness.”