2 Samuel 17

Hushai's Counsel

1 Furthermore, Ahithophel said to Absalom, "Please let me choose 12,000 * * men that I may arise and pursue David tonight.
2 "1I will come upon him while he is weary and exhausted * and terrify him, so that all the people who are with him will flee. Then 2I will strike down the king alone,
3 and I will bring back all the people to you. The return of everyone depends on the man you seek; then all the people will be at 3peace."
4 So the plan pleased * Absalom and all the elders of Israel.
5 Then Absalom said, "Now call 4Hushai the Archite also, and let us hear what he has to say."
6 When Hushai had come to Absalom, Absalom said to him, "Ahithophel has spoken thus *. Shall we carry out his plan? If not, you speak."
7 So Hushai said to Absalom, "5This time the advice that Ahithophel has given is not good."
8 Moreover, Hushai said, "You know your father and his men, that they are mighty men and they are fierce *, 6like a bear robbed of her cubs in the field. And your father is an expert in warfare, and will not spend the night with the people.
9 "Behold, he has now hidden himself in one of the caves or in another place; and it will be when he falls on them at the first attack, that whoever hears it will say, 'There has been a slaughter among the people who follow Absalom.'
10 "And even the one who is valiant *, whose heart is like the heart of a lion, 7will completely lose heart; for all Israel knows that your father is a mighty man and those who are with him are valiant men.
11 "But I counsel that all Israel be surely gathered to you, 8from Dan even to Beersheba, 9as the sand that is by the sea in abundance, and that you personally go into battle.
12 "So we shall come to him in one of the places where * he can be found, and we will fall on him 10as the dew falls on the ground; and of him and of all the men who are with him, not even one will be left.
13 "If he withdraws into a city, then all Israel shall bring ropes to that city, and we will 11drag it into the valley until * not even a small stone is found there."
14 Then Absalom and all the men of Israel said, "The counsel of Hushai the Archite is better than the counsel of Ahithophel." For 12the LORD had ordained to thwart the good counsel of Ahithophel, so that the LORD might bring calamity on Absalom.

Hushai's Warning Saves David

15 Then 13Hushai said to Zadok and to Abiathar the priests, "This is what Ahithophel counseled Absalom and the elders of Israel, and this is what I have counseled.
16 "Now therefore, send quickly and tell David, saying, '14Do not spend the night at the fords of the wilderness, but by all * means cross over, or else the king and all the people who are with him will be destroyed.' "
17 15Now Jonathan and Ahimaaz were staying at 16En-rogel, and a maidservant would go and tell them, and they would go and tell King David, for they could not be seen entering the city.
18 But a lad did see them and told Absalom; so the two of them departed quickly and came to the house of a man 17in Bahurim, who had a well in his courtyard, and they went down into it.
19 And 18the woman took a covering and spread it over the well's mouth and scattered grain on it, so that nothing * was known.
20 Then Absalom's servants came to the woman at the house and said, "Where are Ahimaaz and Jonathan?" And 19the woman said to them, "They have crossed the brook of water." And when they searched and could not find them, they returned to Jerusalem.
21 It came about after they had departed that they came up out of the well and went and told King David; and they said to David, "20Arise and cross over the water quickly for thus Ahithophel has counseled against you."
22 Then David and all the people who were with him arose and crossed the Jordan; and by dawn * not even one remained who had not crossed the Jordan.
23 Now when Ahithophel saw that his counsel was not followed, he saddled his donkey and arose and went to his home, to 21his city, and 22set his house in order, and 23strangled himself; thus he died and was buried in the grave of his father.
24 Then David came to 24Mahanaim. And Absalom crossed the Jordan, he and all the men of Israel with him.
25 Absalom set 25Amasa over the army in place of Joab. Now Amasa was the son of a man whose name was Ithra the Israelite, who went in to Abigail the daughter of 26Nahash, sister of Zeruiah, Joab's mother.
26 And Israel and Absalom camped in the land of Gilead.
27 Now when David had come to Mahanaim, Shobi 27the son of Nahash from 28Rabbah of the sons of Ammon, 29Machir the son of Ammiel from Lo-debar, and 30Barzillai the Gileadite from Rogelim,
28 brought 31beds, basins, pottery, wheat, barley, flour, parched grain, beans, lentils, parched seeds,
29 honey, curds, sheep, and cheese of the herd, for David and for the people who were with him, 32to eat; for they said, "The people are hungry and weary and thirsty in the wilderness."

2 Samuel 17 Commentary

Chapter 17

Ahithophel's counsel overthrown. (1-21) He hangs himself, Absalom pursues David. (22-29)

Verses 1-21 Here was a wonderful effect of Divine Providence blinding Absalom's mind and influencing his heart, that he could not rest in Ahithophel's counsel, and that he should desire Hushai's advice. But there is no contending with that God who can arm a man against himself, and destroy him by his own mistakes and passions. Ahithophel's former counsel was followed, for God intended to correct David; but his latter counsel was not followed, for God meant not to destroy him. He can overrule all counsels. Whatever wisdom or help any man employs or affords, the success is from God alone, who will not let his people perish.

Verses 22-29 Ahithophel hanged himself for vexation that his counsel was not followed. That will break a proud man's heart which will not break a humble man's sleep. He thought himself in danger, concluding, that, because his counsel was not followed, Absalom's cause would fail; and to prevent a possible public execution, he does justice upon himself. Thus the breath is stopped, and the head laid low, from which nothing could be expected but mischief. Absalom chased his father. But observe how God sometimes makes up to his people that comfort from strangers, which they are disappointed of in their own families. Our King needs not our help; but he assures us, that what we do for the least of his brethren, who are sick, poor, and destitute, shall be accepted and recompensed as if done to himself

Cross References 32

  • 1. 2 Samuel 16:14
  • 2. 1 Kings 22:31
  • 3. Jeremiah 6:14
  • 4. 2 Samuel 15:32-34
  • 5. 2 Samuel 16:21
  • 6. Hosea 13:8
  • 7. Joshua 2:9-11
  • 8. 1 Samuel 3:20
  • 9. Genesis 22:17; 1 Samuel 13:5
  • 10. Psalms 110:3; Micah 5:7
  • 11. Micah 1:6
  • 12. 2 Samuel 15:31, 34; Psalms 9:15, 16
  • 13. 2 Samuel 15:35, 36
  • 14. 2 Samuel 15:28
  • 15. 2 Samuel 15:27, 36
  • 16. Joshua 15:7; Joshua 18:16
  • 17. 2 Samuel 3:16; 2 Samuel 16:5
  • 18. Joshua 2:4-6
  • 19. Leviticus 19:11; Joshua 2:3-5; 1 Samuel 19:12-17
  • 20. 2 Samuel 17:15, 16
  • 21. 2 Samuel 15:12
  • 22. 2 Kings 20:1
  • 23. Matthew 27:5
  • 24. Genesis 32:2, 10; 2 Samuel 2:8
  • 25. 2 Samuel 19:13; 2 Samuel 20:9-12; 1 Kings 2:5, 32
  • 26. 1 Chronicles 2:16
  • 27. 1 Samuel 11:1; 2 Samuel 10:1, 2
  • 28. 2 Samuel 12:26, 29
  • 29. 2 Samuel 9:4
  • 30. 2 Samuel 19:31-39; 1 Kings 2:7
  • 31. Proverbs 11:25; Matthew 5:7
  • 32. 2 Samuel 16:2, 14; Proverbs 21:26; Ecclesiastes 11:1; Romans 12:13

Footnotes 26

Chapter Summary


This chapter relates the advice Ahithophel gave to march out speedily with a number of men in pursuit of David, which at first seemed agreeable, 2Sa 17:1-4; but Hushai's opinion being asked, and he giving counsel to raise a larger army, which required time, and was taken to, hereby the counsel of Ahithophel was defeated, 2Sa 17:5-14; upon which he hanged himself, 2Sa 17:23; these different counsels being communicated by Hushai to the priests, they found means to transmit them to David, with an instruction to him to pass over Jordan immediately; which he did, and pitched in Gilead, and whither he was followed by Absalom, 2Sa 17:15-26; and where he met with a supply of provisions for his army from some eminent persons in and near that place, 2Sa 17:27-29.

2 Samuel 17 Commentaries

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