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Hushai's Counsel Accepted
v. 1. Moreover, Ahithophel, whose filthy counsel Absalom had just followed, said unto Absalom, let me now choose out twelve thousand men, a thousand for each of the twelve tribes, and I will arise and pursue after David this night, the very night after his flight;
v. 2. and I will come upon him while he is weary and weak-handed, the hand being the symbol of strength, and will make him afraid, cause terror to fall upon him; and all the people that are with him shall flee; and I will smite the king only, namely, while he is alone, forsaken by his men;
v. 3. and I will bring back all the people unto thee, also the men who had joined David: the man whom thou seekest is as if all returned, David alone being equivalent to all the people in influence and power, his death will cause all his adherents to espouse the cause of Absalom. So all the people shall be in peace, the one obstacle to this condition being removed with the fall of David.
v. 4. And the saying pleased Absalom well and all the elders of Israel, for it was in truth the very best plan in favor of Absalom's cause.
v. 5. Then said Absalom, by the dispensation of God, Call now Hushai the Archite also, and let us hear likewise what he saith, what counsel is in his mouth.
v. 6. And when Hushai was come to Absalom, Absalom spake unto him, saying, Ahithophel hath spoken after this manner, outlining his plan briefly; shall we do after his saying, follow the word of his counsel? If not, speak thou. Hushai was in a delicate position, which required all the tact and wisdom he possessed; for it was necessary for him to feign the closest friendship for Absalom, while furthering the cause of David.
v. 7. And Hushai said unto Absalom, The counsel that Ahithophel hath given is not good at this time. The implication is that the first advice was fine and well worthy of taking, but in this case he overlooked certain facts.
v. 8. For, said Hushai, thou knowest thy father and his men that they be mighty men, valiant heroes, far from being exhausted by a short march, and they be chafed in their minds, embittered in spirit, as a bear robbed of her whelps in the field, doubly dangerous at such a time; and thy father is a man of war, acquainted with all the arts of warfare, and will not lodge with the people, he would not permit himself to be taken by surprise in an unfortified camp.
v. 9. Behold, he is hid now in some pit or in some other place, either in a natural stronghold or in a fortified position; and it will come to pass, when some of them be overthrown at the first, if Absalom's advance guard should be thrown back by a sudden attack on the part of David, that whosoever heareth it will say, There is a slaughter among the people that follow Absalom. The mere report of a surprise attack on the part of David would be exaggerated into a defeat of Absalom's entire force.
v. 10. And he also that is valiant, whose heart is as the heart of a lion, the most courageous on the side of Absalom, shall utterly melt; for all Israel knoweth that thy father is a mighty man, and they which be with him are valiant men. Hushai purposely emphasized this point, in order to magnify the prowess of David and his men and to strike terror to the heart of Absalom.
v. 11. Therefore I counsel that all Israel, the entire army of the nation, all men able to bear arms, be generally gathered unto thee, from Dan even to Beersheba, as the sand that is by the sea for multitude, again said with willful exaggeration; and that thou go to battle in thine own person, Absalom was to lead his great army in person, a suggestion which could not fail of making a deep impression on his vanity.
v. 12. So shall we, for Hushai skillfully includes himself with the host of Absalom, come upon him in some place where he shall be found, no matter where this might be, and we will light upon him as the dew falleth on the ground, coming quietly, but covering, drenching, and submerging him and his army completely; and of him and of all the men that are with him there shall not be left so much as one.
v. 13. Moreover, if he be gotten into a city, then shall all Israel bring ropes to that city, and we will draw it into the river, on whose banks all the fortified cities were built, until there be not one small stone found there. In his exaggerated manner, Hushai pictures the entire city dragged into the neighboring brook or river, the walls with the houses and all the inhabitants.
v. 14. And Absalom and all the men of Israel, overcome by the boastful boldness and the skilful plausibility of the plan outlined, said, the plan of Hushai the Archite is better than the counsel of Ahithophel. For the Lord had appointed to defeat the good counsel of Ahithophel, for the latter would undoubtedly have been successful, to the intent that the Lord might bring evil upon Absalom. He should be blind to his own advantage, fatuously believing that the entire nation would immediately rally around him, while David would gain time to perfect his plans and to overthrow the insurrection. Mark: It is well-pleasing to God if we oppose all rebels and scoundrels who attempt to overthrow divine and human order. And God, on His part, often blinds the eyes of such rebellious persons, especially such as oppose Christ and His government, causing them to fall from one foolish move into another and to bring destruction upon themselves.
David In The Country East of Jordan
v. 15. Then said Hushai unto Zadok and to Abiathar, the priests, giving them a report of his efforts in David's behalf, Thus and thus did Ahithophel counsel Absalom and the elders of Israel; and thus and thus have I counseled.
v. 16. Now, therefore, send quickly and tell David, saying, offering him advice which he could not afford to ignore, Lodge not this night in the plains of the wilderness, near the fords on the west side of the river, but speedily pass over; lest the king be swallowed up, and all the people that are with him. There was always danger that an expedition might be sent against him before he had completed his plans and gotten ready to defend himself. He would be safer at any rate on the east side, where he might also find additional followers.
v. 17. Now, Jonathan and Ahimaaz, the sons of the high priests and their messengers to David, stayed by En-rogel, they were standing at this spring, near the southeast corner of Jerusalem; for they might not be seen to come into the city; and a wench, one of the high priest's servant girls, went and told them, delivered to them the advice of Hushai; and they went and told King David, they started out to deliver the message.
v. 18. Nevertheless, a lad saw them, and told Absalom, probably being a spy set to watch the priests; but they, finding themselves discovered, went both of them away quickly, and came to a man's house in Bahurim, between Jerusalem and Jericho, 2 Samuel 16:5, which had a well, evidently empty, in his court, whither they went down, to hide themselves from their pursuers.
v. 19. And the woman, the wife of this man, with quick presence of mind, took and spread a covering over the well's mouth, over the opening of the cistern, and spread ground corn thereon, as if she were drying barley-groats; and the thing was not known, for the opening was not visible and could therefore not arouse suspicions.
v. 20. And when Absalom's servants, in their pursuit of the two messengers, came to the woman to the house, they said, Where is Ahimaaz and Jonathan? And the woman, purposely dissembling to shield the messengers, said unto them, They be gone over the brook of water, some creek in the neighborhood to which she pointed. And when they had sought and could not find them, they returned to Jerusalem.
v. 21. And it came to pass, after they were departed, that they came up out of the well, and went and told King David, and said unto David, according to the counsel of Hushai, Arise, and pass quickly over the water, the Jordan; for thus hath Ahithophel counseled against you, and there was still danger that his counsel might be reconsidered.
v. 22. And David arose, and all the people that were with him, and they passed over Jordan; by the morning light, by the time the new day dawned, there lacked not one of them that was not gone over Jordan, they had passed over to the very last man. Thus God had protected David, the situation of affairs now being in his favor.
v. 23. And when Ahithophel saw that his counsel was not followed, his advice was not carried out, he saddled his ass, and arose, and gat him home to his house, to his city, 2 Samuel 15:12, and put his household in order, regulated all his affairs, and hanged himself, and died, a suicide from baffled ambition and despair, since he foresaw the overthrow of the insurrection, and was buried in the sepulcher of his father. The prayer of David, 2 Samuel 15:31, was thus fulfilled.
v. 24. Then David came to Mahanaim, a fortified city of Gilead, near the ford of Jabbok. And Absalom passed over Jordan, he and all the men of Israel with him, all the warriors whom he had assembled according to the advice of Hushai.
v. 25. And Absalom made Amasa captain of the host instead of Joab, he occupied the same position in the rebel army which Joab held in that of David; which Amasa was a man's son whose name was Ithra, an Israelite, of Ishmaelite stock, 1 Chronicles 2:16-17, that went into Abigail, the daughter of Nahash (or Jesse), sister to Zeruiah, Joab's mother. Amasa and Joab were cousins (step-cousins).
v. 26. So Israel and Absalom pitched in the land of Gilead.
v. 27. And it came to pass, when David was come to Mahanaim, that Shobi, the son of Nahash, of Rabbah of the children of Ammon, and Machir, the son of Ammiel, of Lo-debar, who had formerly sheltered Mephibosheth, 2 Samuel 9:4, and Barzillai, the Gileadite of Rogelim,
v. 28. brought beds, quantities of bedding, and basins, vessels for preparing food, and earthen vessels, and wheat, and barley, and flour, and parched corn, roasted grain, and beans, and lentils, and parched pulse, roasted pulse-beans,
v. 29. and honey, and butter, and sheep, and cheese of kine, a milk-food on the order of cottage cheese, for David, and for the people that were with him, to eat; for they said, The people is hungry and weary and thirsty in the wilderness. So it was by no means all Israel that was on the side of Absalom, for here wealthy and influential men came to David's assistance. That was a noble deed, and similar works of love will be rewarded by the Lord according to His promise.
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Kretzmann, Paul E. Ph. D., D. D. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 17". "Kretzmann's Popular Commentary". https://studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 21 / Ordinary 26