1 Then Ahithophel said to Absalom, “Allow me to choose 12,000 men, and I will leave with them tonight to pursue David. 2 We will attack him while he is tired and discouraged, and cause him to be very frightened. All the soldiers who are with him will run away. We will kill only the king. 3 Then we will bring back all his soldiers to you, like [SIM] a ◄bride/woman comes to her husband when she is married►. You are wanting to kill only one man; so the other people will not be harmed.” 4 Absalom and all the Israeli leaders who were with him thought that what Ahithophel said would be good to do.
5 But Absalom said, “Summon Hushai also, and we will hear what he suggests.” 6 So when Hushai arrived, Absalom told him what Ahithophel had suggested. Then he asked Hushai, “What do you think we should do? If you do not think that we should do what Ahithophel suggests, tell us what you think that we should do.”
7 Hushai replied, “This time what Ahithophel has suggested is not good advice. 8 You know that your father and the men who are with him are strong soldiers, and that now they are very angry, like [SIM] a mother bear whose cubs have been stolen from her. Furthermore, your father knows how to fight because he has fought in many battles. He will not stay with his troops during the night. 9 Right now he is probably already hiding in one of the pits, or in some other place. If his soldiers start to attack your soldiers, and if they kill some of them, whoever hears about that will say ‘Many of the soldiers with Absalom have been killed!’ 10 Then your other soldiers, even if they are as fearless [SIM, IDM] as lions, they will become very afraid. Do not forget that everyone in Israel knows that your father is a great/strong soldier, and that the soldiers who are with him are also very brave/courageous.
11 So what I suggest is that you summon all the Israeli soldiers, from Dan in the far north to Beersheba in the far south. They will be as many as the grains of sand on the seashore [HYP]. And then you yourself lead us into the battle. 12 We will find your father, wherever he is, and we will attack him from all sides, like [SIM] dew covers all the ground. And neither he nor any of the soldiers who are with him will survive. 13 If he escapes into some city, all our soldiers will bring ropes and pull that city down into the valley. As a result, not one stone will be left there on top of the hill where that city was!”
14 Absalom and all the other Israeli men who were with him said, “What Hushai suggests is better than what Ahithophel suggested.” The reason that happened was that Yahweh had determined that if they would accept the good advice that Ahithophel had given them, they would have been able to defeat/kill David. But as a result of their doing what Hushai suggested, Yahweh would cause a disaster to happen to Absalom.
Hushai arranged for a report to be sent to David
15 Then Hushai told the two priests, Zadok and Abiathar, what both he and Ahithophel had suggested to Absalom and the Israeli leaders. 16 Then he said to them, “Send a message quickly to David. Tell him to not stay at the place where people walk across the river, near the desert. Instead, he and his soldiers must cross the Jordan River immediately, in order that they will not be killed/wiped out.”
17 The priest's two sons, Jonathan and Ahimaaz, were waiting at En-Rogel Spring, outside Jerusalem. They did not dare to enter the city, because if someone saw them, he would report it to Absalom. While they were at En-Rogel, a female servant of the two priests would frequently go to them and report to them what was happening, and then they would go and report it to King David. 18 But a young man saw them, and went and reported it to Absalom. They found out what the young man had done, so both of them left quickly and went to stay in the house of a man in Bahurim. That man had a well in his courtyard; so the two men went down into the well to hide. 19 The man's wife took a cloth/mat and covered the well, and scattered grain on top of it in order that no one would know that two men were hiding inside it.
20 Some of Absalom's soldiers found out where the two men had gone. So they went to the house, and asked the woman, “Where are Ahimaaz and Jonathan?”
She replied, “They crossed the river.”
So the soldiers crossed the river and searched for them. But they could not find them, so they returned to Jerusalem. 21 After they had gone, the two men came out of the well and went and reported to King David what had happened and what Ahithophel had suggested. Then they said to him, “Cross the river quickly!” 22 So David and all his soldiers quickly started to cross the Jordan River, and by dawn they had all crossed to the other side.
23 When Ahithophel realized that Absalom was not going to do what he suggested, he put a saddle on his donkey and returned to his own town. He gave to his family instructions about his possessions, and then he hanged himself because he knew that Absalom would be defeated and that he would be considered a traitor and be killed. His body was buried in the tomb where his ancestors had been buried.
24 David and his soldiers arrived at Mahanaim. And Absalom and all his Israeli soldiers also crossed the Jordan River. 25 Absalom had appointed his cousin Amasa to be the commander of his army, instead of Joab. Amasa was the son of a man named Jether, a descendant of Ishmael. Amasa's mother was Abigail, the daughter of Nahash and the sister of Joab's mother Zeruiah. 26 Absalom and his Israeli soldiers set up their tents in the Gilead region.
27 When David and his soldiers arrived at Mahanaim, Shobi the son of Nahash from Rabbah city in the Ammon area, and Machir the son of Ammiel from Lo-Debar city, and Barzillai from Rogelim town in the Gilead region 28 brought sleeping mats, bowls, clay pots, barley, wheat flour, parched grain, beans, and lentils to them. 29 They brought honey and curds, sheep, and some cream/cheese for David and his soldiers to eat. They knew that David and his soldiers would be hungry and tired and thirsty from marching in the desert.