1 That wise man, Ahithofel, said to David’s son Absalom, “Let me pick 12,000 soldiers. We will chase your father tonight.
2 Right now he’s upset and tired. We will suddenly come and attack his mob, and they will get a shock. All his mob will run away. He’s the only one I will kill dead.
3 I will gather all the other men together and bring them back here to you. They will see that their boss is dead, and then you will be their boss. We will not hurt any of them. They will all be safe.”
4 Absalom and the elders of Israel agreed. They said, “This is a good plan.”
Hushai tricked Absalom
5 Then Absalom said, “All right, what about that man Hushai, from the Arek mob? Tell him to come here. We will listen to him too.”
6 Hushai came, and Absalom told him the things Ahithofel said. Then he asked Hushai, “So what do you think? Can we listen to his plan? Or maybe not? What do you reckon?”
7 Hushai lied and answered, “That old man usually talks straight. But not today. That plan he just told you, it’s no good.
8 You know that your father and his men are strong soldiers. They are good fighters, like cheeky wild animals. And he really knows what he is doing too. He always sleeps a long way from the soldiers, so he will stay safe.
9 Maybe he will go and hide in a cave in the hills. Nobody can find him there. But then he and his soldiers might suddenly come and attack your mob of soldiers. Lots of your men might die. Everybody will hear about it and think, ‘Hey, look out. David’s mob finished up Absalom’s mob.’
10 Everybody knows that David and his men are brave and strong. If your other soldiers think he beat our mob, they will be afraid. Even the brave ones will be afraid.
11 No, this is what I reckon. We have to gather more soldiers together from all over this country, Israel. Gather lots of them together, too many to count. You are their big boss, so you have to lead them yourself.
12 Your father can’t hide from us. We will find him, and we will quickly go all around him, and then we will attack him. He and all his men will die.
13 If he is hiding in a town, all the Israel mob will break the wall and the houses of that town. We will get ropes, and we will drag their stones away. There will not even be a small stone left. We will do that until we find him.”
14 Absalom and the elders of Israel heard what Hushai said, and they reckoned, “Hushai from the Arek mob has a good idea. It is better than the other plan of that wise man Ahithofel.” You see, God himself made them think like that. He wanted them to follow Hushai’s plan, and so make big trouble for Absalom. God confused them, so they did not like Ahithofel’s good plan.
(We have not yet translated 17:15-29.)