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Scripture Passage

      2 Samuel - Chapter 17 (Contemporary English Version)
    1. Ahithophel said to Absalom: Let me choose twelve thousand men and attack David tonight,
    2. while he is tired and discouraged. He will panic, and everyone with him will run away. I won't kill anyone except David,
    3. since he's the one you want to get rid of. Then I'll bring the whole nation back to you like a bride coming home to her husband. This way there won't be a civil war.
    4. Absalom and all the leaders of the tribes of Israel agreed that Ahithophel had a good plan.
    5. Then Absalom said, "Bring in Hushai the Archite. Let's hear what he has to say."
    6. Hushai came in, and Absalom told him what Ahithophel had planned. Then Absalom said, "Should we do what he says? And if we shouldn't, can you come up with anything better?"
    7. Hushai said: This time Ahithophel's advice isn't so good.
    8. You know that your father and his followers are real warriors. Right now they are as fierce as a mother bear whose cubs have just been killed. Besides, your father has a lot of experience in fighting wars, and he won't be spending the night with the others.
    9. He has probably already found a hiding place in a cave or somewhere else. As soon as anyone hears that some of your soldiers have been killed, everyone will think your whole army has been destroyed.
    10. Then even those who are as brave as a lion will lose their courage. All Israel knows what a great warrior your father is and what brave soldiers he has.
    11. My advice is to gather all the fighting men of Israel from the town of Dan in the north down to the town of Beersheba in the south. You will have more soldiers than there are grains of sand on the seashore. Absalom, you should lead them yourself,
    12. and we will all go to fight David wherever he is. We will fall on him just as dew falls and covers the ground. He and all his soldiers will die!
    13. If they go into a walled town, we will put ropes around that town and drag it into the river. We won't leave even one small piece of a stone.
    14. Absalom and the others liked Hushai's plan better than Ahithophel's plan. This was because the LORD had decided to keep Ahithophel's plan from working and to cause trouble for Absalom.
    15. Right away, Hushai went to Zadok and Abiathar. He told them what advice Ahithophel had given to Absalom and to the leaders of Israel. He also told them about the advice he had given.
    16. Then he said, "Hurry! Send someone to warn David not to spend the night on this side of the river. He must get across the river, so he and the others won't be wiped out!"
    17. Jonathan and Ahimaaz had been waiting at Rogel Spring because they did not want to be seen in Jerusalem. A servant girl went to the spring and gave them the message for David.
    18. But a young man saw them and went to tell Absalom. So Jonathan and Ahimaaz left and hurried to the house of a man who lived in Bahurim. Then they climbed down into a well in the courtyard.
    19. The man's wife put the cover on the well and poured grain on top of it, so the well could not be seen.
    20. Absalom's soldiers came to the woman and demanded, "Where are Ahimaaz and Jonathan?" The woman answered, "They went across the stream." The soldiers went off to look for the two men. But when they did not find the men, they went back to Jerusalem.
    21. After the soldiers had gone, Jonathan and Ahimaaz climbed out of the well. They went to David and said, "Hurry! Get ready to cross the river!" Then they told him about Ahithophel's plan.
    22. David and the others got ready and started crossing the Jordan River. By sunrise all of them were on the other side.
    23. When Ahithophel saw that Absalom and the leaders of Israel were not going to follow his advice, he saddled his donkey and rode back to his home in Gilo. He told his family and servants what to do. Then he hanged himself, and they buried him in his family's burial place.
    24. David went to the town of Mahanaim, and Absalom crossed the Jordan River with the army of Israel.
    25. Absalom put Amasa in Joab's place as commander of the army. Amasa's father was Ithra from the family of Ishmael, and his mother was Abigal, the daughter of Nahash and the sister of Joab's mother Zeruiah.
    26. The Israelites under Absalom's command set up camp in the region of Gilead.
    27. After David came to the town of Mahanaim, Shobi the son of Nahash came from Rabbah in Ammon, Machir the son of Ammiel came from Lo-Debar, and Barzillai the Gileadite came from Rogelim.
    28. Here is a list of what they brought: sleeping mats, blankets, bowls, pottery jars, wheat, barley, flour, roasted grain, beans, lentils, honey, yogurt, sheep, and cheese. They brought the food for David and the others because they knew that everyone would be hungry, tired, and thirsty from being out in the desert.
    29. (SEE 17:28)

2 Samuel - Chapter 17

Entered: February 27, 2008
The present situation with Absalom on the throne and David in exile is a result of David's sin with Bathsheba. Yet, as we are about to see in the account, David will survive and Absalom will not. All in God's design. We do not always understand God's justice and are ill equipped to do so. In particular, we don't understand why David's sin should bring judgment that does such damage to other's such as Absalom. But then we also realize that Absalom was not forced to do anything in this drama. He made choices that resulted in the outcome. But would any of this have occurred had David not sinned? There are too many factors we don't know about, thus making us ill equipped to make proper judgement. God alone has the answers to these questions. The scenario for which David prepared is played out in this chapter under God's guiding hand. Ahithophel, David's advisor turned traitor, suggested a plan to Absalom to strike down David and bring those with him over to Absalom. It was a plan that probably would have been successful. But before agreeing to the plan Absalom called in Hushai to get his counsel. Hushai was there for the very purpose of thwarting Ahithophel's counsel. He suggested a plan that would buy time for David and allow him and the people with him to escape to a safe place. Absalom liked Hushai's plan and accepted it over Ahithophel's. At this point scripture says Absalom agreed to Hushai's plan, "Since the LORD had decreed that Ahithophel's good advice be undermined in order to bring about Absalom's ruin." Once Absalom agreed to Hushai's plan word must be sent to David. The line of communication included the priests, Zadok and Abiathar, who sent a servant girl with the message to En-rogel where their two sons were staying. The sons then ran to David with the message. This system almost failed in this instance because in the exchange of information between the girl and the two sons, someone saw them and reported it to Absalom. Absalom sent servants to capture the sons, but they realized they had been seen and hid in a well. The servants came and enquired of them and were sent on a "wild goose chase." Then the sons came out of the well and ran to David. David escaped with all his people across the Jordan and camped in Gilead.

Entered: July 15, 2013

Ahithophel, who had previously been David's adviser, had now become Absalom's adviser and the advise he gave was considered as a word from God. His first piece of advise to Absalom, once he arrived in Jerusalem to command the throne, was to sleep with David's concubines. This was advise Absalom followed, even doing so publicly from the rooftop of the palace. 

Next Ahithophel advised Absalom to "Let me choose 12,000 men, and I will set out in pursuit of David tonight. I will attack him while he is weak and weary, throw him into a panic, and all the people with him will scatter. I will strike down only the king and bring all the people back to you. When everyone returns except the man you're seeking, all the people will be at peace." (17:1-3) This plan would very likely have been successful, but God was answering David's prayer to confound Ahithophel's advise. After hearing Ahithophel's plan Absalom sent for Husahi, who was David's plant among Absalom's staff for the very purpose of confounding Ahithophel's advise. When Absalom told Husahi of Ahithophel's advise Husahi said that Ahithophel had not given good advise this time. He then offered his own plan along with reasons why it was better than Ahithophel's. In reality, Husahi's plan offered David time to prepare and also placed Absalom in the fray providing the opportunity for him to be killed.

Once Absalom accepted Husahi's plan over that of Ahithophel, Husahi sent word to David along with the advise to "Get up and immediately ford the river." (17:21) The rendezvous‎  between the servant girl appointed to take messages to the messengers, Jonathan and Ahimaaz, was spotted by a young man and reported to Absalom, thus the messengers were nearly captured before they could deliver their message. However, God again intervened and a woman hid them in a well and told Absalom's men that the two had already passed that way headed toward "the water." Then the messengers climbed out of the well and delivered their message to David. 

David immediately crossed the Jordan with all his people and fled to Mahanaim, a fortified city. There he found people friendly to his cause who provided food and bedding for his people. Meanwhile, Ahithophel, despondent over the rejection of his advise, went to his hometown and hanged himself. This action may also have been motivated by the realization that by following Husahi's advise Absalom would be defeated and he would be executed by David. It is those with selfish motives who commit suicide when defeated rather than those following what they believe to be a just cause for the purpose of helping that cause succeed. This was no doubt the case with Ahithophel.