The Second Book of Samuel

Chapter 17

Ahithophel's counsel is overthrown by Hushai's, according to God's appointment, 1-14. Secret intelligence is sent to David, 15-22. Ahithophel hangs himself, 23, 24. Amasa is made captain, 25, 26. David, at Mahanaim, is furnished with provisions, 27-29.

1 Moreover, Ahithophel said to Absalom, "Let me now choose out twelve thousand men, and I will arise and pursue after David this night. 2 And I will come upon him while he is weary and weak-handed and make him afraid. And all the people who are with him shall flee, and I will smite the king only. 3 And I will bring back all the people to you. The man whom you seek is as if all returned. And all the people shall be in peace." 4 And the saying pleased Absalom well, and all the elders of Israel.

5 Then Absalom said, "Now call Hushai the Archite also, and let us hear likewise what he says." 6 And when Hushai had come to Absalom, Absalom spoke to him, saying, "Ahithophel has spoken after this manner. Shall we do after his saying? If not, you speak." 7 And Hushai said to Absalom, "The counsel that Ahithophel has given is not good at this time. 8 For," Hushai said, "you know your father and his men, that they are mighty men, and they are chafed in their minds, as a bear robbed of her whelps in the field. And your father is a man of war and will not lodge with the people. 9 Behold, he is now hid in some pit, or in some other place. And it will come to pass, when some of them are overthrown at the first, that whoever hears it will say, 'There is a slaughter among the people who follow Absalom.' 10 And he also who is valiant, whose heart is as the heart of a lion, will utterly melt, for all Israel knows that your father is a mighty man, and those who are with him are valiant men. 11 Therefore, I counsel that all Israel should be generally gathered to you, from Dan even to Beer-sheba, as the sand that is by the sea for multitude, and that you should go to battle in your own person. 12 So we shall come upon him in some place where he is to be found and we will fall upon him as the dew falls on the ground. And of him and of all the men who are with him there shall not be left so much as one. 13 Moreover, if he has entered into a city, then all Israel shall bring ropes to that city, and we will draw it into the river until there is not one small stone found there." 14 And Absalom and all the men of Israel said, "The counsel of Hushai the Archite is better than the counsel of Ahithophel." For the LORD had appointed to defeat the good counsel of Ahithophel, to the intent that the LORD might bring evil upon Absalom.

15 Then Hushai said to Zadok and to Abiathar the priests, "In this manner Ahithophel counseled Absalom and the elders of Israel, and in such a manner I have counseled. 16 Now therefore, send quickly and tell David, saying, 'Do not lodge this night in the plains of the wilderness, but speedily pass over, lest the king be swallowed up, and all the people who are with him.'" 17 Now Jonathan and Ahimaaz stayed by En-rogel, for they might not be seen to come into the city. And a woman-servant went and told them, and they went and told king David. 18 Nevertheless, a boy saw them and told Absalom. But the both of them went away quickly and came to the house of a man in Bahurim, who had a well in his court, into which they descended. 19 And the woman took and spread a covering over the well's mouth and spread ground grain upon it, and the thing was not known. 20 And when Absalom's servants came to the woman at the house, they said, "Where are Ahimaaz and Jonathan?" And the woman said to them, "They have gone over the brook of water." And when they had sought and could not find them, they returned to Jerusalem.

21 And it came to pass, after they had departed, that they came out of the well and went and told king David and said to David, "Arise and pass quickly over the water, for in this manner Ahithophel has counseled against you." 22 Then David arose, and all the people who were with him, and they passed over the Jordan. By the morning light there lacked not one of them who had not gone over the Jordan.

23 And when Ahithophel saw that his counsel was not followed, he saddled his donkey, arose, and went home to his house, to his city, and put his household in order, hanged himself, and died and was buried in the sepulcher of his father.

24 Then David came to Mahanaim. And Absalom passed over the Jordan—he and all the men of Israel with him. 25 And Absalom made Amasa captain of the host instead of Joab (which Amasa was a man's son, whose name was Ithra, an Israelite, who went in to Abigail the daughter of Nahash, sister to Zeruiah, Joab's mother). 26 So Israel and Absalom encamped in the land of Gilead.

27 And it came to pass, when David had come to Mahanaim, that Shobi the son of Nahash of Rabbah of the children of Ammon, Machir the son of Ammiel of Lo-debar, and Barzillai the Gileadite of Rogelim, 28 Brought beds, basins, earthen vessels, wheat, barley, flour, parched grain, beans, lentils, parched pulse, 29 Honey, butter, sheep, and cheese of cows for David and for the people who were with him to eat, for they said, "The people are hungry, weary, and thirsty in the wilderness."


Matthew Henry Commentary - 2nd Samuel, Chapter 17[➚]


[v.8] - "a bear robbed of her whelps" - Reference, Proverbs 17:12.

[v.14] - "the LORD had appointed to defeat the good counsel of Ahithophel" - Reference, 2nd Samuel 15:31.

[v.23] - "when Ahithophel saw that his counsel was not followed" - Reference, verse 14.