2 Samuel 17

1 Ahithʹophel then said to Abʹsalom: “Please let me choose 12,000 men and rise up and chase after David tonight.

2 I will come upon him when he is weary and powerless, and I will throw him into a panic; and all the people who are with him will flee, and I will strike down only the king.

3 Then I will bring all the people back to you. The return of all the people depends on what happens with the man you are seeking. Then all the people will be at peace.”

4 The proposal was just right in the eyes of Abʹsalom and all the elders of Israel.

5 However, Abʹsalom said: “Please call Huʹshai the Arʹchite as well, and let us hear what he has to say.”

6 So Huʹshai came in to Abʹsalom. Then Abʹsalom said to him: “This is the advice Ahithʹophel gave. Should we act on his advice? If not, you tell us.”

7 At this Huʹshai said to Abʹsalom: “The advice that Ahithʹophel gave is not good in this instance!”

8 Huʹshai continued: “You well know that your father and his men are mighty, and they are desperate, like a bear that has lost her cubs in the field. Moreover, your father is a warrior, and he will not spend the night with the people.

9 At this very moment he is hiding in one of the caves or in some other place; and if he attacks first, those hearing of it will say, ‘The people following Abʹsalom have been defeated!’

10 Even the courageous man whose heart is like that of a lion will surely melt in fear, for all Israel knows that your father is a mighty man and that the men with him are courageous.

11 I give this advice: Let all Israel be gathered to you, from Dan to Beʹer-sheʹba, as many as the grains of sand by the sea, and you should lead them into the fight.

12 We will come against him wherever he is found, and we will come upon him just like the dew that falls on the ground; and not one of them will survive, not he nor any of the men with him.

13 If he retreats into a city, all Israel will carry ropes to that city, and we will drag it down into the valley until not even a pebble is left.”

14 Then Abʹsalom and all the men of Israel said: “The advice of Huʹshai the Arʹchite is better than the advice of Ahithʹophel!” For Jehovah had determined to frustrate the sound advice of Ahithʹophel, so that Jehovah could bring disaster on Abʹsalom.

15 Huʹshai later said to Zaʹdok and Abiʹathar the priests: “This is what Ahithʹophel has advised Abʹsalom and the elders of Israel, and this is what I have advised.

16 Now quickly send word to David and warn him: ‘Do not stay at the fords of the wilderness tonight, but cross over without fail, or the king and all the people with him may be wiped out.’”

17 Jonʹathan and Ahimʹaaz were staying at En-roʹgel; so a servant girl went off and told them and they went to tell King David, for they did not dare to be seen entering the city.

18 However, a young man saw them and told Abʹsalom. So the two of them quickly went off and came to the house of a man in Bahuʹrim who had a well in his courtyard. They went down into it,

19 and the man’s wife spread a covering over the top of the well and covered it with cracked grain; no one knew about it.

20 The servants of Abʹsalom came to the woman at her house and asked: “Where are Ahimʹaaz and Jonʹathan?” The woman replied: “They passed by toward the water.” Then the men searched for them but did not find them, so they returned to Jerusalem.

21 After the men were gone, they came up out of the well and went and informed King David. They said to him: “Rise up and quickly cross the water, for this is what Ahithʹophel advised against you.”

22 Immediately David and all the people with him rose up and crossed the Jordan. By daybreak, there was no one left who had not crossed the Jordan.

23 When Ahithʹophel saw that his advice had not been acted on, he saddled a donkey and went to his house in his hometown. After he gave instructions to his household, he hanged himself. So he died and was buried in the burial place of his forefathers.

24 Meanwhile, David went to Mahanaʹim, and Abʹsalom crossed the Jordan with all the men of Israel.

25 Abʹsalom put Amaʹsa in charge of the army in place of Joʹab; Amaʹsa was the son of a man named Ithʹra the Israelite, who had relations with Abʹigail the daughter of Naʹhash, the sister of Zeruʹiah, Joʹab’s mother.

26 Israel and Abʹsalom camped in the land of Gilʹead.

27 As soon as David came to Mahanaʹim, Shoʹbi the son of Naʹhash from Rabʹbah of the Amʹmonites, Maʹchir the son of Amʹmiel from Lo-deʹbar, and Barzilʹlai the Gilʹeadite from Rogeʹlim

28 brought beds, basins, clay pots, wheat, barley, flour, roasted grain, broad beans, lentils, parched grain,

29 honey, butter, sheep, and cheese. They brought all of this out for David and the people with him to eat, for they said: “The people are hungry and tired and thirsty in the wilderness.”