1Ahithophel also said to Absalom, “Let me now choose 12,000 men. Then I will chase David tonight. 2I will catch him while he is tired and weak. I will scare him. And all his people will run away. But I will kill only King David. 3Then I will bring all the people back to you. If David is dead, then all the people will come back in peace.” 4This plan seemed good to Absalom and all the leaders of Israel. 5But Absalom said, “Now call Hushai the Arkite. I also want to hear what he says.” 6Hushai came to Absalom. Absalom said to Hushai, “This is the plan Ahithophel gave. Should we follow it? If not, tell us.” 7Hushai said to Absalom, “Ahithophel’s advice is not good this time.” 8Hushai added, “You know that your father and his men are strong men. They are as dangerous as a wild bear when something has taken its babies. Your father is a skilled fighter. He will not stay ˻all night˼ with the people. 9He is probably already hiding in a cave or some other place. If your father attacks your men first, then people will hear the news. And they will think, 'Absalom’s followers are losing!’ 10Then even the people who are as brave as a lion will become scared. Why? Because all the Israelites know that your father is a strong fighter and that his men are brave. 11“This is what I suggest: You must gather all the Israelites together from Dan to Beersheba. Then there will be many people, like the sand by the sea. Then you yourself must go into the battle. 12We will catch David in the place where he is hiding. We will attack David with many soldiers—We will be like the many drops of dew that cover the ground. We will kill David and all of his men. No man will be left alive. 13But if David escapes into a city, then all the Israelites will bring ropes to that city. We will pull down the walls of that city. We will pull them down into the valley. There won’t be even a small stone left ˻in that city˼.” 14Absalom and all the Israelites said, “The advice of Hushai the Arkite is better than Ahithophel’s advice.” ˻They said this˼ because it was the Lord’s plan. The Lord had planned to make Ahithophel’s good advice useless. That is how the Lord would punish Absalom. 15Hushai told those things to the priests, Zadok and Abiathar. Hushai told them about the things that Ahithophel suggested to Absalom and the leaders of Israel. Hushai also told Zadok and Abiathar about the things that he himself had suggested. ˻Hushai said˼, 16“Quickly! Send ˻a message˼ to David. Tell him not to stay tonight at the places where people cross into the desert. Tell him to go across the Jordan River at once. If he crosses the river, then the king and all his people will not be caught.” 17˻The priests’ sons,˼ Jonathan and Ahimaaz, waited at En Rogel. They did not want to be seen going into the town, so a servant girl came out to them. She gave them the message. Then Jonathan and Ahimaaz went and told those things to King David. 18But a boy saw Jonathan and Ahimaaz. The boy ran to tell Absalom. Jonathan and Ahimaaz ran away quickly. They arrived at a man’s house in Bahurim. The man had a well in his courtyard. Jonathan and Ahimaaz went down into this well. 19The man’s wife spread a sheet over the well. Then she covered the well with grain. ˻The well looked like a pile of grain,˼ so no person could know ˻that Jonathan and Ahimaaz were hiding there˼. 20Absalom’s servants came to the woman at the house. They asked, “Where are Ahimaaz and Jonathan?” The woman said to Absalom’s servants, “They have already crossed over the brook.” Absalom’s servants then went to look for Jonathan and Ahimaaz. But they could not find them. So Absalom’s servants went back to Jerusalem. 21After Absalom’s servants left, Jonathan and Ahimaaz came up out of the well. They went and told King David. They said to David, “Hurry, go across the river. Ahithophel is planning to do these things against you.” 22Then David and all his people crossed over the Jordan River. Before the sun came up, all of David’s people had already crossed the Jordan River. 23Ahithophel saw that the Israelites did not accept his advice. Ahithophel put a saddle on his donkey and went back to his home town. He made plans for his family and then he hanged himself. After Ahithophel died, the people buried him in his father’s tomb. 24David arrived at Mahanaim. Absalom and the Israelites that were with him went across the Jordan River. 25Absalom had made Amasa the new captain of the army. Amasa took Joab’s place. Amasa was the son of Ithra the Ishmaelite. Amasa’s mother was Abigail, the daughter of Nahash sister of Zeruiah. (Zeruiah was Joab’s mother.) 26Absalom and the Israelites made their camp in the land of Gilead. 27David arrived at Mahanaim. Shobi, Makir, and Barzillai were at that place. (Shobi son of Nahash was from the Ammonite town of Rabbah. Makir son of Ammiel was from Lo Debar. Barzillai was from Rogelim in Gilead.) 28- 29Those three men said, “The people in the desert are tired, hungry and thirsty.” So they brought many things to David and the people that were with him. They brought them beds, bowls, and other kinds of dishes. They also brought wheat, barley, flour, roasted grain, beans, lentils, dried seeds, honey, butter, sheep, and cheese made from cow’s milk.
2 Samuel 17