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2 Samuel 17

1 Later Ahithophel said to Absalom: »Let me choose twelve thousand men. Tonight I will set out after David.

2 »I will attack him while he is tired and discouraged. He will be frightened! All his men will run away. I will kill only the king.

3 »Then I will bring back all his men to you. It will be like a bride returning to her husband. Kill one man and the rest of the people return safely.«

4 This seemed like good advice to Absalom and all the Israelite leaders.

5 Absalom said: »Bring in Hushai. Let us hear what he has to say about this.«

6 Hushai came to Absalom. He told him what Ahithophel planned. Then Absalom said: »Should we do what he says? If we should not, can you come up with something better?«

7 Hushai said: »This time Ahithophel’s advice is not very good.

8 »You know your father and his followers are mighty warriors. They are as fierce as a mother bear whose cubs have just been killed. Your father has a lot of experience in fighting wars. He will not spend the night with the others.

9 »He has no doubt already found a hiding place in a cave or somewhere else. When people hear that some of your soldiers have been killed, everyone will think your entire army has been destroyed.

10 »Even the bravest man with a heart like a lion would lose his courage. All Israel knows that your father is a mighty man and the men with him are brave.

11 »My advice is to gather all Israel’s troops from Dan to Beersheba. They are as numerous as the sand on the seashore. Lead them into battle yourself.

12 »Find him and attack him! We will fall on him as dew falls on the ground. Neither he nor any of his men will be left alive.

13 »If he retreats into a city, all Israel will bring ropes to that city and drag it into a valley. Not even a pebble will be found there.«

14 Absalom and all the people of Israel said: »The advice of Hushai from Archi’s family is better than Ahithophel’s advice. Jehovah commanded Ahithophel’s good advice to be defeated in order to ruin Absalom.«

15 Hushai told the priests Zadok and Abiathar: »Ahithophel advised Absalom and the leaders of Israel to do one thing. But I advised them to do something else.

16 »Quickly send messengers to tell David: ‘Do not rest tonight in the river crossings in the desert. Make sure you cross the river. Otherwise Your Majesty and all the troops with him will be wiped out.’«

17 Jonathan and Ahimaaz were waiting at En Rogel. They could not risk being seen coming into the city. A servant girl was to go and tell them. They were to go and tell King David.

18 A young man saw Jonathan and Ahimaaz and told Absalom. So both of them left quickly. They went to the home of a man in Bahurim who had a cistern in his courtyard. They climbed down into it.

19 The man’s wife took a covering and spread it over the opening of the cistern. She scattered grain over it so that no one would notice anything.

20 Absalom’s officials came to the house and asked the woman: »Where are Ahimaaz and Jonathan?« She answered: »They crossed the river. The men looked for them but could not find them. So they returned to Jerusalem.«

21 After they left, Ahimaaz and Jonathan came up out of the cistern. Then they reported to King David. They told him what Ahithophel planned against him. They said: »Hurry up and cross the river.«

22 So David and his men crossed the Jordan. By daybreak they had all gone across.

23 Ahithophel saw that his advice had not been followed. He saddled his donkey and went back to his hometown. He arranged his affairs in order and he hanged himself. He was buried in the family grave.

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 David went to the town of Mahanaim. Shobi son of Nahash came from Rabbah in Ammon, Machir 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,

29 Also honey, yogurt, sheep, and cheese. They brought food for David and the others because they knew that everyone would be hungry, tired, and thirsty from being out in the desert.

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