The Pharisees and some of the teachers of the law who had come from Jerusalem gathered around Jesus and
saw some of his disciples eating food with hands that were "unclean," that is, unwashed.
(The Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they give their hands a ceremonial washing, holding to the tradition of the elders.
When they come from the marketplace they do not eat unless they wash. And they observe many other traditions, such as the washing of cups, pitchers and kettles. )
So the Pharisees and teachers of the law asked Jesus, "Why don't your disciples live according to the tradition of the elders instead of eating their food with 'unclean' hands?"
He replied, "Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: " 'These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.7They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.'8You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men."9
And he said to them: "You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions!10For Moses said, 'Honor your father and your mother,' and, 'Anyone who curses his father or mother must be put to death.'11But you say that if a man says to his father or mother: 'Whatever help you might otherwise have received from me is Corban' (that is, a gift devoted to God),12then you no longer let him do anything for his father or mother.13Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many things like that."
Ahithophel said to Absalom, "I would choose twelve thousand men and set out tonight in pursuit of David.
I would attack him while he is weary and weak. I would strike him with terror, and then all the people with him will flee. I would strike down only the king
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 Hushai 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. Besides, your father is an experienced fighter; he will not spend the night with the troops.
Even now, he is hidden in a cave or some other place. If he should attack your troops first, 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, will melt with fear, for all Israel knows that your father is a fighter and that those with him are brave.
"So I advise you: Let all Israel, from Dan to Beersheba--as numerous as the sand 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 valley until not even a piece of it can be found."
Absalom and all the men of Israel said, "The advice of Hushai the Arkite is better than that of Ahithophel." For the LORD had determined to frustrate the good advice of Ahithophel in order to bring disaster on Absalom.
Hushai told Zadok and Abiathar, the priests, "Ahithophel has advised Absalom and the elders of Israel to do such and such, but I have advised them to do so and so.
Now send a message immediately and tell David, 'Do not spend the night at the fords in the desert; cross over without fail, or the king and all the people with him will be swallowed up.' "
Jonathan and Ahimaaz were staying at En Rogel. A servant girl was to go and inform them, and they were to go and tell King David, for they could not risk being seen entering the city.
But a young man saw them and told Absalom. So the two of them left quickly and went to the house of a man in Bahurim. He had a well in his courtyard, and they climbed down into it.
His wife took a covering and spread it out over the opening of the well and scattered grain over it. No one knew anything about it.
When Absalom's men came to the woman at the house, they asked, "Where are Ahimaaz and Jonathan?" The woman answered them, "They crossed over the brook." The men searched but found no one, so they returned to Jerusalem.
After the men had gone, the two climbed out of the well and went to inform King David. They said to him, "Set out and cross the river at once; Ahithophel has advised such and such against you."
So David and all the people with him set out and crossed the Jordan. By daybreak, no one was left who had not crossed the Jordan.
When Ahithophel saw that his advice had not been followed, he saddled his donkey and set out for his house in his hometown. He put his house in order and then hanged himself. So he died and was buried in his father's tomb.
David went to Mahanaim, and Absalom crossed the Jordan with all the men of Israel.
Absalom had appointed Amasa over the army in place of Joab. Amasa was the son of a man named Jether, an Israelite who had married Abigail, the daughter of Nahash and sister of Zeruiah the mother of Joab.
The Israelites and Absalom camped in the land of Gilead.
When David came to Mahanaim, Shobi son of Nahash from Rabbah of the Ammonites, and Makir son of Ammiel from Lo Debar, and Barzillai the Gileadite from Rogelim
brought bedding and bowls and articles of pottery. They also brought wheat and barley, flour and roasted grain, beans and lentils,
honey and curds, sheep, and cheese from cows' milk for David and his people to eat. For they said, "The people have become hungry and tired and thirsty in the desert."
"Now then, I tell you the truth: Three more kings will appear in Persia, and then a fourth, who will be far richer than all the others. When he has gained power by his wealth, he will stir up everyone against the kingdom of Greece.
Then a mighty king will appear, who will rule with great power and do as he pleases.
After he has appeared, his empire will be broken up and parceled out toward the four winds of heaven. It will not go to his descendants, nor will it have the power he exercised, because his empire will be uprooted and given to others.
"The king of the South will become strong, but one of his commanders will become even stronger than he and will rule his own kingdom with great power.
After some years, they will become allies. The daughter of the king of the South will go to the king of the North to make an alliance, but she will not retain her power, and he and his power will not last. In those days she will be handed over, together with her royal escort and her father and the one who supported her.
"One from her family line will arise to take her place. He will attack the forces of the king of the North and enter his fortress; he will fight against them and be victorious.
He will also seize their gods, their metal images and their valuable articles of silver and gold and carry them off to Egypt. For some years he will leave the king of the North alone.
Then the king of the North will invade the realm of the king of the South but will retreat to his own country.
His sons will prepare for war and assemble a great army, which will sweep on like an irresistible flood and carry the battle as far as his fortress.
"Then the king of the South will march out in a rage and fight against the king of the North, who will raise a large army, but it will be defeated.
When the army is carried off, the king of the South will be filled with pride and will slaughter many thousands, yet he will not remain triumphant.
For the king of the North will muster another army, larger than the first; and after several years, he will advance with a huge army fully equipped.
"In those times many will rise against the king of the South. The violent men among your own people will rebel in fulfillment of the vision, but without success.
Then the king of the North will come and build up siege ramps and will capture a fortified city. The forces of the South will be powerless to resist; even their best troops will not have the strength to stand.
The invader will do as he pleases; no one will be able to stand against him. He will establish himself in the Beautiful Land and will have the power to destroy it.
He will determine to come with the might of his entire kingdom and will make an alliance with the king of the South. And he will give him a daughter in marriage in order to overthrow the kingdom, but his plans will not succeed or help him.
Then he will turn his attention to the coastlands and will take many of them, but a commander will put an end to his insolence and will turn his insolence back upon him.
After this, he will turn back toward the fortresses of his own country but will stumble and fall, to be seen no more.