Ahithophel said to Absalom, "I woulda choose twelve thousand men and set out tonight in pursuit of David.
I wouldb attack him while he is weary and weak.1 I wouldc strike him with terror, and then all the people with him will flee. I wouldd strike down only the king23
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."
This plan seemed good to Absalom and to all the elders of Israel.
But Absalom said, "Summon also Hushai3 the Arkite, so we can hear what he has to say."
When Hushai came to him, Absalom said, "Ahithophel has given this advice. Should we do what he says? If not, give us your opinion."
Hushai replied to Absalom, "The advice Ahithophel has given is not good this time.
You know your father and his men; they are fighters, and as fierce as a wild bear robbed of her cubs.4 Besides, your father is an experienced fighter;5 he will not spend the night with the troops.
Even now, he is hidden in a cave or some other place.6 If he should attack your troops first,e whoever hears about it will say, 'There has been a slaughter among the troops who follow Absalom.'
Then even the bravest soldier, whose heart is like the heart of a lion,7 will melt8 with fear, for all Israel knows that your father is a fighter and that those with him are brave.911
"So I advise you: Let all Israel, from Dan to Beersheba10--as numerous as the sand11 on the seashore--be gathered to you, with you yourself leading them into battle.
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.
If he withdraws into a city, then all Israel will bring ropes to that city, and we will drag it down to the valley12 until not even a piece of it can be found."
Absalom and all the men of Israel said, "The advice13 of Hushai the Arkite is better than that of Ahithophel."14 For the LORD had determined to frustrate15 the good advice of Ahithophel in order to bring disaster16 on Absalom.17