[2-Samuel 17:1] MOREOVER AHITHOPHEL SAID UNTO ABSALOM, LET ME NOW CHOOSE OUT TWELVE THOUSAND MEN, AND I WILL ARISE AND PURSUE AFTER DAVID THIS NIGHT:
[2-Samuel 17: AND I WILL COME UPON HIM WHILE HE IS WEARY AND WEAK HANDED, AND WILL MAKE HIM AFRAID: AND ALL THE PEOPLE THAT ARE WITH HIM SHALL FLEE; AND I WILL SMITE THE KING ONLY:
[2-Samuel 17:3] AND I WILL BRING BACK ALL THE PEOPLE UNTO THEE: THE MAN WHOM THOU SEEKEST IS AS IF ALL RETURNED: SO ALL THE PEOPLE SHALL BE IN PEACE.
The King James interpretation of the above verses is not the only one possible but it is acceptable and probably correct.
[2-Samuel 17:4] AND THE SAYING PLEASED ABSALOM WELL, AND ALL THE ELDERS OF ISRAEL.
[2-Samuel 17:5] THEN SAID ABSALOM, CALL NOW HUSHAI THE ARCHITE ALSO, AND LET US HEAR LIKEWISE WHAT HE SAITH.
Absalom had taken the advice of Ahitophel and contaminated the womenfolk of his father. He had not asked for a second opinion in that case. He had done the deed and after the doing must have felt somewhat cheated as sinners often do. Ahitophel had given the advice that Absalom probably already regretted. This explains why and how Absalom in this case was to reject the counsel of Ahitophel and accept that of Hushi.
[2-Samuel 17:6] AND WHEN HUSHAI WAS COME TO ABSALOM, ABSALOM SPAKE UNTO HIM, SAYING, AHITHOPHEL HATH SPOKEN AFTER THIS MANNER: SHALL WE DO AFTER HIS SAYING? IF NOT; SPEAK THOU.
[2-Samuel 17:7] AND HUSHAI SAID UNTO ABSALOM, THE COUNSEL THAT AHITHOPHEL HATH GIVEN IS NOT GOOD AT THIS TIME.
[2-Samuel 17:8] FOR, SAID HUSHAI, THOU KNOWEST THY FATHER AND HIS MEN, THAT THEY BE MIGHTY MEN, AND THEY BE CHAFED IN THEIR MINDS, AS A BEAR ROBBED OF HER WHELPS IN THE FIELD: AND THY FATHER IS A MAN OF WAR, AND WILL NOT LODGE WITH THE PEOPLE.
<< CHAFED IN THEIR MINDS>>: Hebrew "mari Nefesh", literally "bitter of spirit". "mar" in Hebrew means "bitter". It may be related to the English "mar" meaning to impair. This implies men who were not afraid and who felt they had nothing to loose. This expression is found several times in Scripture, e.g. when the men of Dan were on their journey to the north and had taken the idol of Micah with them and a local posse tried to stop them, the pursuers were warned that the Danites were "mari nefesh" (Judges 18:25) and it were best for them to let the matter pass.
David was close to seventy at this stage and so were his Companions. They were old men by our standards. They were still warriors however and their reputation alone had great deterrent value.
[2-Samuel 17:9] BEHOLD, HE IS HID NOW IN SOME PIT, OR IN SOME OTHER PLACE: AND IT WILL COME TO PASS, WHEN SOME OF THEM BE OVERTHROWN AT THE FIRST, THAT WHOSOEVER HEARETH IT WILL SAY, THERE IS A SLAUGHTER AMONG THE PEOPLE THAT FOLLOW ABSALOM.
David and his men had spent a good portion of their earlier years feeling and hiding from Saul, in caves and the like, and several times escaping capture even though Saul and/or his men passed close by.
Absalom apparently did not have the experience of a warrior nor the reputation of a general. Not only Absalom and his immediate advisors feared the reputation of David and his men but so did the rest of Israel. It was known phenomenon at that time that upon hearing of an initial setback wild rumors would fly and everybody would panic. Most of us have panicked at some time or other or come close to doing so. Usually the cause is the influence of others who fall to pieces and psychically almost compel those around them to do the same.
[2-Samuel 17:10] AND HE ALSO THAT IS VALIANT, WHOSE HEART IS AS THE HEART OF A LION, SHALL UTTERLY MELT: FOR ALL ISRAEL KNOWETH THAT THY FATHER IS A MIGHTY MAN, AND THEY WHICH BE WITH HIM ARE VALIANT MEN.
Everybody is vulnerable. A few cases are known from Scripture where a great host of warriors hears a false report and flees in panic. Additional cases were probably also on record both in Israel and amongst the neighboring peoples.
[2-Samuel 17:11] THEREFORE I COUNSEL THAT ALL ISRAEL BE GENERALLY GATHERED UNTO THEE, FROM DAN EVEN TO BEERSHEBA, AS THE SAND THAT IS BY THE SEA FOR MULTITUDE; AND THAT THOU GO TO BATTLE IN THINE OWN PERSON.
[2-Samuel 17:1 SO SHALL WE COME UPON HIM IN SOME PLACE WHERE HE SHALL BE FOUND, AND WE WILL LIGHT UPON HIM AS THE DEW FALLETH ON THE GROUND: AND OF HIM AND OF ALL THE MEN THAT ARE WITH HIM THERE SHALL NOT BE LEFT SO MUCH AS ONE.
[2-Samuel 17:13] MOREOVER, IF HE BE GOTTEN INTO A CITY, THEN SHALL ALL ISRAEL BRING ROPES TO THAT CITY, AND WE WILL DRAW IT INTO THE RIVER, UNTIL THERE BE NOT ONE SMALL STONE FOUND THERE.
<<ALL ISRAEL BRING ROPES TO THAT CITY>>: Hushi used exaggerated rhetoric in his argument appealing to the vanity and baser cowardly instincts of Absalom and the people around him, emphasizing their overwhelming numbers. Each one of the followers of Absalom had begun to look to his numerous fellows to do the work instead of himself.
[2-Samuel 17:14] 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.
It was the doing of the Almighty that the counsel of Hushi be heeded to. So too, we all need to do our best at whatever we have to do while being aware that ultimately success or failure is in the hands of Divine Providence.
[2-Samuel 17:15] THEN SAID HUSHAI UNTO ZADOK AND TO ABIATHAR THE PRIESTS, THUS AND THUS DID AHITHOPHEL COUNSEL ABSALOM AND THE ELDERS OF ISRAEL; AND THUS AND THUS HAVE I COUNSELLED.
[2-Samuel 17:16] NOW THEREFORE SEND QUICKLY, AND TELL DAVID, SAYING, LODGE NOT THIS NIGHT IN THE PLAINS OF THE WILDERNESS, BUT SPEEDILY PASS OVER; LEST THE KING BE SWALLOWED UP, AND ALL THE PEOPLE THAT ARE WITH HIM.
David was to be warned that advice of Ahitophel had been rejected. Nevertheless David was not to take any chances but rather take advantage of the time given him to distance himself and his followers from harm's way.
[2-Samuel 17:17] NOW JONATHAN AND AHIMAAZ STAYED BY ENROGEL; FOR THEY MIGHT NOT BE SEEN TO COME INTO THE CITY: AND A WENCH WENT AND TOLD THEM; AND THEY WENT AND TOLD KING DAVID.
[2-Samuel 17:18] NEVERTHELESS A LAD SAW THEM, AND TOLD ABSALOM: BUT THEY WENT BOTH OF THEM AWAY QUICKLY, AND CAME TO A MAN'S HOUSE IN BAHURIM, WHICH HAD A WELL IN HIS COURT; WHITHER THEY WENT DOWN.
[2-Samuel 17:19] AND THE WOMAN TOOK AND SPREAD A COVERING OVER THE WELL'S MOUTH, AND SPREAD GROUND CORN THEREON; AND THE THING WAS NOT KNOWN.
[2-Samuel 17:20] AND WHEN ABSALOM'S SERVANTS CAME TO THE WOMAN TO THE HOUSE, THEY SAID, WHERE IS AHIMAAZ AND JONATHAN? AND THE WOMAN SAID UNTO THEM, THEY BE GONE OVER THE BROOK OF WATER. AND WHEN THEY HAD SOUGHT AND COULD NOT FIND THEM, THEY RETURNED TO JERUSALEM.
[2-Samuel 17:21] AND IT CAME TO PASS, AFTER THEY WERE DEPARTED, THAT THEY CAME UP OUT OF THE WELL, AND WENT AND TOLD KING DAVID, AND SAID UNTO DAVID, ARISE, AND PASS QUICKLY OVER THE WATER: FOR THUS HATH AHITHOPHEL COUNSELLED AGAINST YOU.
[2-Samuel 17:2 THEN DAVID AROSE, AND ALL THE PEOPLE THAT WERE WITH HIM, AND THEY PASSED OVER JORDAN: BY THE MORNING LIGHT THERE LACKED NOT ONE OF THEM THAT WAS NOT GONE OVER JORDAN.
[2-Samuel 17:23] AND WHEN AHITHOPHEL SAW THAT HIS COUNSEL WAS NOT FOLLOWED, HE SADDLED HIS ASS, AND AROSE, AND GAT HIM HOME TO HIS HOUSE, TO HIS CITY, AND PUT HIS HOUSEHOLD IN ORDER, AND HANGED HIMSELF, AND DIED, AND WAS BURIED IN THE SEPULCHRE OF HIS FATHER.
The Radak explains that Ahitophel saw that his counsel was not heeded. He knew that now it was quite certain that David would return to power and he would be considered guilty of rebellion against the monarch. Someone who rebelled against the monarchy was liable to be put to death and all his property taken by the king. Through killing himself Ahitophel rescued his property which now could be given to his inheritors.
The Sages say that Ahitophel was relatively young when he died, ca.35.
He had once been considered a great man, a very close friend of David, and an advisor
who was close to being Divinely Inspired, see the Brit-Am Commentary to Psalms 55
[2-Samuel 17:24] THEN DAVID CAME TO MAHANAIM. AND ABSALOM PASSED OVER JORDAN, HE AND ALL THE MEN OF ISRAEL WITH HIM.
The region east of the Jordan (or Reuben, Gad, and half-Manasseh) appears to have remained faithful to David.
[2-Samuel 17:25] AND ABSALOM MADE AMASA CAPTAIN OF THE HOST INSTEAD OF JOAB: WHICH AMASA WAS A MAN'S SON, WHOSE NAME WAS ITHRA AN ISRAELITE, THAT WENT IN TO ABIGAIL THE DAUGHTER OF NAHASH, SISTER TO ZERUIAH JOAB'S MOTHER.
<< ITHRA AN ISRAELITE>>: In 1-Chronicles 2:17 he is called "THE ISHMEELITE" i.e.
AND ABIGAIL BARE AMASA: AND THE FATHER OF AMASA WAS JETHER THE ISHMEELITE [1-Chronicles 2:17].
He was either a convert from Ishmael (father of the Arabs) or he had dwelt in their land.
<<THAT WENT IN TO>>: This hints at conjugation without a legal marriage.
In the case of Amasa and Joab and his brothers we find the mothers rather than fathers emphasized. The mothers may be stressed since their mothers were the sisters of David and their fathers evidently not men of importance. Alternately they may have born their children through "common-law" marriages or some such arrangement.
THE DAUGHTER OF NAHASH. "Nahash" means snake or serpent. Nahash was another name for Jesse the father of David. It is quite common in the Bible for one person to have more than one name.
According tot his Abigail and Zeruiah were both sisters to David. Both Joab son of Zeruiah and Amasa son of Abigail were nephews of David through their mothers.
[2-Samuel 17:26] SO ISRAEL AND ABSALOM PITCHED IN THE LAND OF GILEAD.
[2-Samuel 17:27] AND IT CAME TO PASS, WHEN DAVID WAS COME TO MAHANAIM, THAT SHOBI THE SON OF NAHASH OF RABBAH OF THE CHILDREN OF AMMON, AND MACHIR THE SON OF AMMIEL OF LODEBAR, AND BARZILLAI THE GILEADITE OF ROGELIM,
"SHOBI" may have been the son of Nahash king of Ammon whom David killed. He apparently converted and became an Israelite and was faithful to David in time of need. This says a lot for David that he could inspire such loyalty even in the sons of they whose fathers he had slain and whose people he had decimated.
<<MACHIR>>: The first recorded "Machir" was the son of Manasseh but we see from here that the name remained popular amongst his descendants.
[2-Samuel 17:28] BROUGHT BEDS, AND BASONS, AND EARTHEN VESSELS, AND WHEAT, AND BARLEY, AND FLOUR, AND PARCHED CORN, AND BEANS, AND LENTILES, AND PARCHED PULSE,
[2-Samuel 17:29] AND HONEY, AND BUTTER, AND SHEEP, AND CHEESE OF KINE, FOR DAVID, AND FOR THE PEOPLE THAT WERE WITH HIM, TO EAT: FOR THEY SAID, THE PEOPLE IS HUNGRY, AND WEARY, AND THIRSTY, IN THE WILDERNESS.
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