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2 Samuel 17



Hushai Frustrates Ahithophel’s Advice (17:1–29)

1–6 Absalom next asked Ahithophel what quickly follow David and kill him before should be done to prevent David from ever taking back his throne. In these verses the writer describes Ahithophel’s plan to he had a chance to get too far away. From a military point of view, Ahithophel’s plan was sensible. But Absalom wanted a second opinion, and so he summoned Hushai (verses 5–6).

7–13 Hushai then gave detailed reasons why Ahithophel’s plan was no good (verses 7–10) and suggested a better plan of his own (verses 11–13). The main aim of Hushai’s plan was to delay Absalom’s pursuit of David, thus giving Hushai time to warn David and give him a chance to cross the Jordan River and regroup. Hushai urged Absalom to gather together all Israel, from Dan to Beersheba (verse 11)—from north to south—and that, of course, would take time. From a military viewpoint, Hushai’s advice was clearly inferior to Ahithophel’s.

14–16 But the Lord caused Absalom and the leaders of Israel to follow Hushai’s advice. It was the Lord who frustrated the good advice of Ahithophel in order to bring disaster on Absalom (verse 14). Thus David’s prayer that God would overturn Ahithophel’s advice was fulfilled (see 2 Samuel 15:31).

Hushai immediately told Zadok and Abiathar the priests to get word to David that he should cross over the Jordan that very night (verse 16).

17–20 The priests’ sons, Jonathan and Ahimaaz, were designated to carry the news to David (2 Samuel 15:27–28,36). However, they had been staying just outside the city; if they entered the city Absalom’s men might seize them, because it was known that they, like their fathers, were loyal to David. So a servant girl, perhaps pretending to fetch water outside the city wall, gave the two sons the message for David.

Unfortunately, someone saw the two sons and reported the matter to Absalom. So the two sons went to the house of a friendly family and hid in their well (verses 18–19). Absalom’s men failed to find them and returned to Jerusalem (verse 20).

21–23 Jonathan and Ahimaaz then went to David and gave him the message that he should cross over the Jordan that night. So David and all his people crossed the Jordan under the cover of darkness (verse 22).

Meanwhile Ahithophel went to his house and committed suicide (verse 23). He may have realized that Hushai’s plan was designed to save David’s life and restore him to the throne. If that happened, Ahithophel would be condemned for his disloyalty to David and would face the death penalty. Therefore, he chose to end his own life rather than be put to death by others.

24–26 After David and his people had crossed the Jordan, Absalom and his forces also crossed over in pursuit of them. David went to the fortified city of Mahanaim (2 Samuel 2:8), while Absalom and the Israelites camped nearby. Thus both sides were now facing each other in the land of Gilead, a part of Israel that lay east of the Jordan River.

Since Joab, the former commander of Israel’s army, had remained loyal to David, Absalom chose a new commander, Amasa, who was a nephew of David and a cousin of both Joab and Absalom (verse 25).

27–29 When David and his people arrived in Mahanaim, a number of friends brought them muchneeded provisions. It also appears that in the course of his flight David had been able to accumulate a sizable army (see 2 Samuel 18:1).