One day Ahithophel said to Absalom, "Here's what I suggest. Choose 12,000 men. Start out tonight and go after David.
Attack him while he's tired and weak. Fill him with terror. Then all of the people who are with him will run away. Don't strike down anyone except the king.
Bring all of the other people back. After the man you want to kill is dead, everyone else will return to you. And none of the people will be harmed."
Ahithophel's plan seemed good to Absalom. It also seemed good to all of the elders of Israel.
But Absalom said, "Send for Hushai, the Arkite. Then we can find out what he suggests."
Hushai came to him. Absalom said, "Ahithophel has given us his advice. Should we do what he says? If we shouldn't, tell us what you would do."
Hushai replied to Absalom, "The advice Ahithophel has given you isn't good this time.
You know your father and his men. They are fighters. They are as strong as a wild bear whose cubs have been stolen from her. Besides, your father really knows how to fight. He won't spend the night with his troops.
In fact, he's probably hiding in a cave or some other place right now. "Suppose he attacks your troops first. When people hear about it, they'll say, 'Many of the troops who followed Absalom have been killed.'
Then the hearts of your soldiers will melt away in fear. Even those who are as brave as a lion will be terrified. That's because everyone in Israel knows that your father is a fighter. They know that those who are with him are brave.