2 Samuel 17:9

9 Even now, he is hidden in a cave or some other place. If he should attack your troops first,a whoever hears about it will say, ‘There has been a slaughter among the troops who follow Absalom.’

Read 2 Samuel 17:9 Using Other Translations

Behold, he is hid now in some pit, or in some other place: and it will come to pass, when some of them be overthrown at the first, that whosoever heareth it will say, There is a slaughter among the people that follow Absalom.
Behold, even now he has hidden himself in one of the pits or in some other place. And as soon as some of the people fall at the first attack, whoever hears it will say, 'There has been a slaughter among the people who follow Absalom.'
He has probably already hidden in some pit or cave. And when he comes out and attacks and a few of your men fall, there will be panic among your troops, and the word will spread that Absalom’s men are being slaughtered.

What does 2 Samuel 17:9 mean?

John Gill's Exposition of the Bible
2 Samuel 17:9

Behold, he is hid now in some pit, or in some [other] place,
&c.] Some lurking place, as he was acquainted with many when he fled from Saul, and where he preserved himself from him; so that he could never take him, as he would now from Absalom, as he insinuates: but this is not all; not only by this means he would shelter himself, and be in safety; but lying thus concealed with others, and in ambush, there would be danger of his staring out of his hiding place when opportunity should offer, and falling on some of Absalom's troops unawares:

and it will come to pass, when some of them be overthrown at the first;
that is, some of Absalom's party, on whom David and his men coming out of an ambush should fall, and make a slaughter among them first, before they could do anything of consequence; and so having got the first advantage, it would serve to animate them, and dishearten their enemies:

that whosoever heareth it;
at that time, or the next day:

will say, there is a slaughter among the people that follow Absalom;
there has been a defeat of them, and that may cause a defection.

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