1817.) 2 Samuel 17

2 Samuel 17 (NRSV)

The Counsel of Ahithophel

Moreover Ahithophel said to Absalom, “Let me choose twelve thousand men, and I will set out and pursue David tonight. 2 I will come upon him while he is weary and discouraged, and throw him into a panic; and all the people who are with him will flee. I will strike down only the king, 3 and I will bring all the people back to you as a bride comes home to her husband. You seek the life of only one man,  and all the people will be at peace.” 4 The advice pleased Absalom and all the elders of Israel.

2Sam17 good-idea

A smart plan.  A quick attack against David only, Ahithophel says, would be a bold move and prevent a protracted war between David’s men and Absalom’s men.

The Counsel of Hushai

5 Then Absalom said, “Call Hushai the Archite also, and let us hear too what he has to say.” 6 When Hushai came to Absalom, Absalom said to him, “This is what Ahithophel has said; shall we do as he advises? If not, you tell us.”

7 Then Hushai said to Absalom, “This time the counsel that Ahithophel has given is not good.” 8 Hushai continued, “You know that your father and his men are warriors, and that they are enraged, like a bear robbed of her cubs in the field. Besides, your father is expert in war; he will not spend the night with the troops. 9 Even now he has hidden himself in one of the pits, or in some other place. And when some of our troops  fall at the first attack, whoever hears it will say, “There has been a slaughter among the troops who follow Absalom.’ 10 Then even the valiant warrior, whose heart is like the heart of a lion, will utterly melt with fear; for all Israel knows that your father is a warrior, and that those who are with him are valiant warriors.

11 “But my counsel is that all Israel be gathered to you, from Dan to Beer-sheba, like the sand by the sea for multitude, and that you go to battle in person. 12 So we shall come upon him in whatever place he may be found, and we shall light on him as the dew falls on the ground; and he will not survive, nor will any of those with him. 13 If he withdraws into a city, then all Israel will bring ropes to that city, and we shall drag it into the valley, until not even a pebble is to be found there.”

Hushai wants to counter Ahithophel’s good advice and buy time for David to rest and organize his defense.  He appeals to Absalom’s vanity by encouraging him to lead the army out to battle.

14 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 ordained to defeat the good counsel of Ahithophel, so that the Lord might bring ruin on Absalom.

David had earlier prayed that the advice of Ahithophel might be turned to foolishness, and here that prayer was answered — or at least, the ones who choose which advice to take are foolish!

Hushai Warns David to Escape

15 Then Hushai said to the priests Zadok and Abiathar, “Thus and so did Ahithophel counsel Absalom and the elders of Israel; and thus and so I have counseled. 16 Therefore send quickly and tell David, “Do not lodge tonight at the fords of the wilderness, but by all means cross over; otherwise the king and all the people who are with him will be swallowed up.’ ”

David’s intelligence chain at work!

17 Jonathan and Ahimaaz were waiting at En-rogel; a servant-girl used to go and tell them, and they would go and tell King David; for they could not risk being seen entering the city. 18 But a boy saw them, and told Absalom; so both of them went away quickly, and came to the house of a man at Bahurim, who had a well in his courtyard; and they went down into it. 19 The man’s wife took a covering, stretched it over the well’s mouth, and spread out grain on it; and nothing was known of it.

Let’s play hide and seek!

20 When Absalom’s servants came to the woman at the house, they said, “Where are Ahimaaz and Jonathan?”

The woman said to them, “They have crossed over the brook of water.” And when they had searched and could not find them, they returned to Jerusalem.

21 After they had gone, the men came up out of the well, and went and told King David. They said to David, “Go and cross the water quickly; for thus and so has Ahithophel counseled against you.” 22 So David and all the people who were with him set out and crossed the Jordan; by daybreak not one was left who had not crossed the Jordan.

23 When Ahithophel saw that his counsel was not followed, he saddled his donkey and went off home to his own city. He set his house in order, and hanged himself; he died and was buried in the tomb of his father.

Ahithophel committed suicide not because his feelings were hurt when his advice was discarded.  Rather, he knew that now Absalom was doomed, and he (Ahithophel) would be regarded as a traitor to David and killed.

He is not unlike Judas, betraying a close friend.

Psalm 41:9 (NIV)

Even my close friend,
    someone I trusted,
one who shared my bread,
    has turned against me.

24 Then David came to Mahanaim, while Absalom crossed the Jordan with all the men of Israel. 25 Now Absalom had set Amasa over the army in the place of Joab. Amasa was the son of a man named Ithra the Ishmaelite, who had married Abigal daughter of Nahash, sister of Zeruiah, Joab’s mother. 26 The Israelites and Absalom encamped in the land of Gilead.

27 When David came to Mahanaim, Shobi son of Nahash from Rabbah of the Ammonites, and Machir son of Ammiel from Lo-debar, and Barzillai the Gileadite from Rogelim, 28 brought beds, basins, and earthen vessels, wheat, barley, meal, parched grain, beans and lentils, 29 honey and curds, sheep, and cheese from the herd, for David and the people with him to eat; for they said, “The troops are hungry and weary and thirsty in the wilderness.”

psalm62_7

Psalm 62:1-8 (NIV)

(This psalm is thought to have been written by David during the time of Absalom’s rebellion.)

My soul finds rest in God alone;
my salvation comes from him.

He alone is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.

How long will you assault a man?
Would all of you throw him down—
this leaning wall, this tottering fence?

They fully intend to topple him
from his lofty place;
they take delight in lies.
With their mouths they bless,
but in their hearts they curse.
Selah

Find rest, O my soul, in God alone;
my hope comes from him.

He alone is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.

My salvation and my honor depend on God;
he is my mighty rock, my refuge.

Trust in him at all times, O people;
pour out your hearts to him,
for God is our refuge.
Selah

 

_________________________

Music:

If ever you wondered how David was able to write such heartfelt and heart-rending psalms — don’t these chapters give you a pretty clear idea?!  “Find Rest”  is a song based on Psalm 62, performed  HERE  by Jeffrey Peterson and James Jurado.

Find rest, oh my soul, in God alone
My hope it comes from him
He above all is loving and strong
A warrior as well as a friend
A rock for my feet, a roof for my head
A bulwark in life’s desperate hours
My salvation and my honor depend on God
Then why is my soul so downcast and anxious

I trust you at all times, pour out my heart
Baring my soul here before you
Cause you aren’t like the ones I’ve trusted before
When I open up
You’re there all the more

Low born men are but a breath
The high born are but a lie
If placed on a scale before my God
They’d amount to a breath or a sigh
We worry ’bout our position in life
So others will think we’ve arrived
But you love the peasant as much as the prince
Despised of men as much as the honored

I trust you at all times, pour out my heart
Baring my soul here before you
Cause you aren’t like the ones I’ve trusted before
When I open up
You’re there all the more

_________________________

The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
alphabet soup advice cartoon.    http://www.toonpool.com/user/997/files/bowl_alphabet_soup_advice_350575.jpg
great idea.    https://molnarg.github.io/cve-2014-0521/img/good-idea.jpeg
hide and seek.    http://farm1.static.flickr.com/64/214252279_f2fd003b95.jpg
the end.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/11/theend.jpg
Psalm 62.    http://oneyearbibleimages.com/psalm62_7.jpg
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