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2 Samuel Chapter 17 | Parsha:

1And Ahithophel said to Absalom, “Let me pick twelve thousand men and set out tonight in pursuit of David. 2I will come upon him when he is weary and disheartened, and I will throw him into a panic; and when all the troops with him flee, I will kill the king alone. 3And I will bring back all the people to you; when all have come back [except] the man you are after, all the people will be at peace.” 4The advice pleased Absalom and all the elders of Israel. 5But Absalom said, “Summon Hushai the Archite as well, so we can hear what he too has to say.” 6Hushai came to Absalom, and Absalom said to him, “This is what Ahithophel has advised. Shall we follow his advice? If not, what do you say?”

7Hushai said to Absalom, “This time the advice that Ahithophel has given is not good. 8You know,” Hushai continued, “that your father and his men are courageous fighters, and they are as desperate as a bear in the wild robbed of her whelps. Your father is an experienced soldier, and he will not spend the night with the troops; 9even now he must be hiding in one of the pits or in some other place. And if any of them fall at the first attack, whoever hears of it will say, ‘A disaster has struck the troops that follow Absalom’; 10and even if he is a brave man with the heart of a lion, he will be shaken—for all Israel knows that your father and the soldiers with him are courageous fighters. 11So I advise that all Israel from Dan to Beersheba—as numerous as the sands of the sea—be called up to join you, and that you yourself march into battle. 12When we come upon him in whatever place he may be, we’ll descend on him [as thick] as dew falling on the ground; and no one will survive, neither he nor any of the men with him. 13And if he withdraws into a city, all Israel will bring ropes to that city and drag its stones as far as the riverbed, until not even a pebble of it is left.” 14Absalom and all Israel agreed that the advice of Hushai the Archite was better than that of Ahithophel.—The Lord had decreed that Ahithophel’s sound advice be nullified, in order that the Lord might bring ruin upon Absalom.

15Then Hushai told the priests Zadok and Abiathar, “This is what Ahithophel advised Absalom and the elders of Israel; this is what I advised. 16Now send at once and tell David, ‘Do not spend the night at the fords of the wilderness, but cross over at once; otherwise the king and all the troops with him will be annihilated.’” 17Jonathan and Ahimaaz were staying at En-rogel, and a slave girl would go and bring them word and they in turn would go and inform King David. For they themselves dared not be seen entering the city. 18But a boy saw them and informed Absalom. They left at once and came to the house of a man in Bahurim who had a well in his courtyard. They got down into it, 19and the wife took a cloth, spread it over the mouth of the well, and scattered groats on top of it, so that nothing would be noticed. 20When Absalom’s servants came to the woman at the house and asked where Ahimaaz and Jonathan were, the woman told them that they had crossed a bit beyond the water. They searched, but found nothing; and they returned to Jerusalem.

21After they were gone, [Ahimaaz and Jonathan] came up from the well and went and informed King David. They said to David, “Go and cross the water quickly, for Ahithophel has advised thus and thus concerning you.” 22David and all the troops with him promptly crossed the Jordan, and by daybreak not one was left who had not crossed the Jordan.

23When Ahithophel saw that his advice had not been followed, he saddled his ass and went home to his native town. He set his affairs in order, and then he hanged himself. He was buried in his ancestral tomb.

24David had reached Mahanaim when Absalom and all the men of Israel with him crossed the Jordan. 25Absalom had appointed Amasa army commander in place of Joab; Amasa was the son of a man named Ithra the Israelite, who had married Abigal, daughter of Nahash and sister of Joab’s mother Zeruiah. 26The Israelites and Absalom encamped in the district of Gilead. 27When David reached Mahanaim, Shobi son of Nahash from Rabbath-ammon, Machir son of Ammiel from Lo-debar, and Barzillai the Gileadite from Rogelim 28presented couches, basins, and earthenware; also wheat, barley, flour, parched grain, beans, lentils, parched grain, 29honey, curds, a flock, and cheese from the herd for David and the troops with him to eat. For they knew that the troops must have grown hungry, faint, and thirsty in the wilderness.

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