2 Samuel 17:1-16

Hushai and Ahithophel give advice to Absalom

1 Ahithophel said to Absalom, ‘Please let me choose 12,000 men so that I can go and attack David tonight. 2 Now he will be very tired and weak. So when we attack him, he will be frightened. All his soldiers will run away. But I will kill only the king. 3 Then I will bring all his army back to you. If we kill this one man that you want to destroy, then all the people will return safely.’

4 This seemed a good idea to Absalom and to all the leaders of Israel.

5 But Absalom said, ‘Send Hushai the Arkite to me. We should hear what advice he gives us.’

6 When Hushai arrived, Absalom said to him, ‘This is Ahithophel's advice. What do you think we should do? If you think differently, what advice do you give us?’

7 Hushai replied to Absalom, ‘This time Ahithophel's idea is not good. 8 You know your father and his men. They are all strong fighters. They are as dangerous as a mother bear when you take away her babies. Remember that your father has fought many battles. He will not stay all night among his soldiers. 9 By this time he is hiding in a cave or in some other safe place. He might attack your soldiers first and kill some of them. When somebody hears the news, he will say, “They have destroyed Absalom's army!” 10 Then your bravest soldiers will be very frightened, even if they are as brave as lions. Everyone in Israel knows that your father is a fighter. And they know that the men with him are brave.

11 This is my advice to you. Bring together all the soldiers in Israel. Tell them to come from everywhere in the land, from Dan to Beersheba. There will be as many of them as the sand on the shore of the sea. Then you yourself should lead the whole army into the battle. 12 In this way we can attack David in any place that we find him. We will suddenly be all around him, like dew that covers the ground. He and his men will all die. Not even one of them will still be alive. 13 If he escapes into a city, we can completely destroy the city. Our soldiers will use ropes to pull it all down into the valley!’

14 Absalom and all Israel's leaders said, ‘Hushai's idea is better than Ahithophel's idea.’ This happened because the Lord did not let the people accept Ahithophel's advice. His idea was a good one, but the Lord had decided to cause trouble for Absalom.

15 Then Hushai went to the priests Zadok and Abiathar. He said to them, ‘This was Ahithophel's advice to Absalom and Israel's leaders. But this was my advice. 16 So now quickly send a report to David. Warn him that he must not stay tonight at the place in the desert where the road crosses the river. Instead, he must cross the Jordan river immediately, together with all the people who are with him. If not, Absalom and his army may catch them all and destroy them.’