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1Moreover Ahithʹophel said to Abʹsalom, “Let me choose twelve thousand men, and I will set out and pursue David tonight. 2I 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 the king only, 3and 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.” 4And the advice pleased Abʹsalom and all the elders of Israel.

5Then Abʹsalom said, “Call Hushai the Archite also, and let us hear what he has to say.” 6And when Hushai came to Abʹsalom, Abʹsalom said to him, “Thus has Ahithʹophel spoken; shall we do as he advises? If not, you speak.” 7Then Hushai said to Abʹsalom, “This time the counsel which Ahithʹophel has given is not good.” 8Hushai said moreover, “You know that your father and his men are mighty men, 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 people. 9Behold, even now he has hidden himself in one of the pits, or in some other place. And when some of the people fall at the first attack, whoever hears it will say, ‘There has been a slaughter among the people who follow Abʹsalom.’ 10Then even the valiant man, whose heart is like the heart of a lion, will utterly melt with fear; for all Israel knows that your father is a mighty man, and that those who are with him are valiant men. 11But my counsel is that all Israel be gathered to you, from Dan to Beer-sheba, as the sand by the sea for multitude, and that you go to battle in person. 12So we shall come upon him in some place where he is to be found, and we shall light upon him as the dew falls on the ground; and of him and all the men with him not one will be left. 13If 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.” 14And Abʹsalom and all the men of Israel said, “The counsel of Hushai the Archite is better than the counsel of Ahithʹophel.” For the Lord had ordained to defeat the good counsel of Ahithʹophel, so that the Lord might bring evil upon Abʹsalom.

15Then Hushai said to Zadok and Abiʹathar the priests, “Thus and so did Ahithʹophel counsel Abʹsalom and the elders of Israel; and thus and so have I counseled. 16Now therefore send quickly and tell David, ‘Do not lodge tonight at the fords of the wilderness, but by all means pass over; lest the king and all the people who are with him be swallowed up.’ ” 17Now Jonathan and Ahimʹa-az were waiting at En-roʹgel; a maidservant used to go and tell them, and they would go and tell King David; for they must not be seen entering the city. 18But a lad saw them, and told Abʹsalom; so both of them went away quickly, and came to the house of a man at Bahuʹrim, who had a well in his courtyard; and they went down into it. 19And the woman took and spread a covering over the well’s mouth, and scattered grain upon it; and nothing was known of it. 20When Abʹsalom’s servants came to the woman at the house, they said, “Where are Ahimʹa-az 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.

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

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

24Then David came to Mahanaʹim. And Abʹsalom crossed the Jordan with all the men of Israel. 25Now Abʹsalom had set Amaʹsa over the army instead of Joʹab. Amaʹsa was the son of a man named Ithra the Ishʹmaelite, who had married Abʹigal the daughter of Nahash, sister of Zeruʹiah, Joʹab’s mother. 26And Israel and Abʹsalom encamped in the land of Gilead.

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

Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946, 1952, and 1971 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America.
Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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