Shmuel Bais 17

1 7 Moreover Achitophel said unto Avshalom, Let me now choose out shneym asar elef ish, and I will arise and pursue after Dovid halailah (this night);
2 And I will come upon him while he is weary and weak of hands, and will make him tremble with fear; and kol haAm that are with him shall flee; and I will strike HaMelech only;
3 When I return kol HaAm to you, all except the ish whom thou seekest, it is as if [kol HaAm] returned; so kol haAm shall be in shalom.
4 And the saying pleased Avshalom well, and kol Ziknei Yisroel.
5 Then said Avshalom, Call now Chushai the Archi also, and let us hear likewise from his peh (mouth).
6 And when Chushai was come to Avshalom, Avshalom spoke unto him, saying, Achitophel hath spoken after this manner; shall we do after his saying? If not; speak thou.
7 And Chushai said unto Avshalom, The etza (counsel) that Achitophel hath given is not tovah at this time.
8 For, said Chushai, thou knowest Avicha and his anashim, that they be Gibborim, and they be enraged in their nefesh, as a dov (bear) robbed of her cubs in the sadeh; and Avicha is ish milchamah, and will not spend the night with HaAm (the troops).
9 Hinei, he is hid now in one of the pits, or in some other makom; and it will come to pass, when some of them be overthrown at the outset, that whosoever heareth it will say, There is a magefah (slaughter) among the people that follow Avshalom.
10 And he also that is chayil (valiant), whose lev is as the lev ha’aryeh (heart of a lion), shall utterly melt; for kol Yisroel knoweth that Avicha is a Gibbor, and they that be with him are Bnei Chayil (valiant men).
11 Therefore, I counsel that kol Yisroel be fully gathered unto thee, from Dan even to Beer-Sheva, as the chol (sand) that is by the yam for multitude; and that thou thyself go into battle in person.
12 So shall we come upon him in some makom where he shall be found, and we will light upon him as the tal (dew) falleth on the adamah; and of him and of kol ha’anashim that are with him there shall not be left so much as one.
13 Moreover, if he has withdrawn into a city, then shall kol Yisroel bring chavalim (ropes) to that city, and we will draw it into the ravine, until there be not one small stone found there.
14 And Avshalom and kol Ish Yisroel said, The etza (counsel) of Chushai the Arki is better than the etza of Achitophel. For Hashem had resolved to annul the etza of Achitophel, to the intent that Hashem might bring ra’ah upon Avshalom.
15 Then said Chushai unto Tzadok and to Evyatar (Abiathar) the kohanim, Thus and thus did Achitophel counsel Avshalom and the Ziknei Yisroel; and thus and thus have I counselled.
16 Now therefore send quickly, and tell Dovid, saying, Spend not halailah (this night) in the plains of the midbar, but speedily cross over; lest HaMelech be swallowed up, and kol haAm that are with him.
17 Now Yonatan and Achima’atz stayed by Ein-Rogel; for they dared not be seen to come into the Ir; and a shifchah went and told them; and they went and told Dovid HaMelech.
18 Nevertheless a na’ar saw them, and told Avshalom; but they went both of them away quickly, and came to a bais ish in Bachurim, which had a be’er (well) in his khatzer; to where they went down.
19 And the isha took and spread a masakh (covering, curtain) over the mouth of the be’er, and spread hulled grain thereon; and the thing was not known.
20 And when the avadim of Avshalom came to the bais to the isha, they said, Where is Achima’atz and Yonatan? And the isha said unto them, They are gone over the brook of mayim. And when they had sought and could not find them, they returned to Yerushalayim.
21 And it came to pass, after they were departed, that they climbed up out of the be’er (well), and went and told Dovid HaMelech, and said unto Dovid, Arise, and cross quickly over the mayim; for thus hath Achitophel counselled against you.
22 Then Dovid arose, and kol haAm that were with him, and they crossed over Yarden; by the ohr haboker there lacked not one of them that was not gone over Yarden.
23 And when Achitophel saw that his etza (counsel, advice) was not followed, he saddled his chamor, and arose, and went home to his bais, to his town, and put his bais (household) in order, vayyekhanak (and he strangled, hanged himself), and died, and was buried in the kever aviv (tomb of his father).
24 Then Dovid came to Machanayim. And Avshalom passed over Yarden, he and all the Ish Yisroel with him.
25 And Avshalom appointed Amasa over the tzava (army) instead of Yoav; now Amasa was ben ish shmo Yitra a Yisroeli, that went in to Avigal Bat Nachash Achot Tzeruyah Em Yoav.
26 So Yisroel and Avshalom encamped in Eretz Gil‘ad.
27 And it came to pass, when Dovid was come to Machanayim, that Shovi Ben Nachash of Rabbah of the Bnei Ammon, and Machir Ben Ammiel of Lo-Devar, and Barzillai the Gileadi of Roglim,
28 Brought mishkav (bedding) and sappot (bowls) and earthen vessels, and chittim (wheat), and se’orim (barley), and kemakh (flour), and roasted grain, and pol (beans), and adashim (lentils), and roasted seeds,
29 And devash, and khemah (curds), and tzon, and cheeses of the herd, for Dovid, and for HaAm that were with him, to eat; for they said, HaAm are hungry, and weary, and tzameh (thirsty), in the midbar.

Shmuel Bais 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

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.

Shmuel Bais 17 Commentaries