2 Samuel 17
Absalom takes advice of David’s spy
Advice: Catch David now2We’ll catch him on the run, while he’s exhausted and depressed. Everyone will panic and run for their lives. We’ll kill only David. Just one man must die. 3I’ll lead all the people back here, like a bride to the wedding of her husband. They’ll return to you and their lives of peace. There’s only one man you need dead.”
4Absalom and the other leaders of Israel’s tribes liked that advice.
Second opinion by David’s spy: Wait5Absalom said, “Let’s get a second opinion. Bring Hushai from the Arki family. Let’s see what he says. 6Absalom told Hushai what Ahithophel advised, and then he asked, “Should we do what he said? If not, tell me now.”
7“Don’t do it,” Hushai said, “Ahithophel didn’t give you good advice. 8You know your father is an expert in war strategies. Besides that, you’ve enraged his warriors by driving them away from their homes. They’re angry as a bear robbed of her cubs. Your father is probably already in hiding, away from his troops who will do the fighting. 9He’s probably already camped in a cave or a pit somewhere. What’s likely going to happen is that when your first wave of attackers falls in the charge, people will say, ‘Absalom’s troops are getting wiped out.’
10Words like that will melt the courage of even your bravest warriors. That’s because everyone knows your father’s reputation for winning battles and wars. They also know the courage of his soldiers.
David’s spy tells Absalom how to fight11I advise you to gather a large army from all over the country, from Dan in the north to Beersheba in the south. And you, personally, should lead them into battle. 12Then our army will descend on David like daylight on darkness and dew in the dirt. He won’t find a safe place to hide anywhere. He’ll die where we find him. And so will everyone with him. 13If he retreats to a walled city, your massive army will pull down the walls and drag the stone blocks into the valley. There won’t be one stone left on top of the other.”
Absalom takes the spy’s advice14Absalom and his advisors—all leaders in the tribes—agreed with Hushai. They said, “Hushai’s advise is better than Ahithophel’s.” The LORD was behind this. He had already written the disastrous end of Absalom’s story.
15Hushai told the priests Zadok and Abiathar what Ahithophel advised and what he recommended afterward, in a second opinion for Absalom. 16Hushai said, “Tell David, ‘Don’t spend another night at the crossing of the Jordan River. Get to the other side. If you don’t, Absalom’s men will eat you alive.’”
Priests sons as spies almost get caught17Sons of the priests, Jonathan and Ahimaaz, were waiting for news from their fathers. They were staying nearby, at Rogel Spring.  A slave girl carried news between them and their fathers.
18A boy saw the two sons staying at the spring, and he reported it to Absalom. So, when the two found out about it they quickly fled to the home of a man who lived in Bahurim.  That’s where David had stopped on his way out of Jerusalem. The man and his wife had a well in their courtyard, so the priest’s sons hid inside it. 19The man’s wife put a cap on top of the well and then spread grain out over the cap. It looked like she was drying the grain in the sun.
20Some of Absalom’s men came to the home and ordered the woman to tell them where the priests sons were. She said, “Last time I saw them, they were crossing that creek over there.” Absalom’s men searched along the creek but didn’t find anything.
David flees across the Jordan River21After Absalom’s men left, the priest’s sons climbed out of the well and rushed to King David. They told him, “You need to get out of here now. Quickly cross the river. Ahithophel has advised Absalom to send out scouts to hunt you down and kill you.”
22David and his people crossed the river. By daybreak, they were all on the other side. 23When Ahithophel found out that Absalom had taken Hushai’s advice instead of his, he saddled his donkey and went back to his hometown. He settled all the loose ends of his life. Then he tied a rope around his neck and hanged himself. He was buried in the family tomb.
David goes to Gilead, Absalom follows24David took his army to the city of Mahanaim.  Once Absalom assembled his army, he crossed the Jordan River and followed David. 25Absalom chose Amasa as his commander instead of Joab, commander of David’s army. Amasa was David’s nephew, the son of David’s half-sister,  Abigal. She was the daughter of Nahash and sister of Joab’s mother, Zeruiah. Amasa’s father was Jether,  from Ishmael’s  family.
26Absalom and his army marched to the region of Gilead and camped there, in the same territory where David went.
27Three allies  brought supplies to David in Mahanaim. A man named Shobi son of Nahash came from the town of Rabbah in Ammon. Machir son of Ammiel came from the town of Lo-debar.  And Barzillai of Gilead came from the town of Rogelim. 
28These three men brought David sleeping mats, bowls, clay pots, wheat, barley, flour, toasted grain kernels, beans, and lentils.  29They also brought honey, yogurt, sheep, and cheese from milk of the herd.  They brought these supplies for David and his people to eat. They told David, “Your soldiers have to be hungry, thirsty, and tired after their trip through that stretch of wasteland behind you.”
It’s En-Rogel or Ein-Rogel in Hebrew and in many Bible translations. The spring is most often associated with a well that is near where the Kidron Valley meets the Hinnom Valley. It’s called Job’s Well, a site today known in Arabic as Bir Ayyub. In Bible times, it was a deep well, 125 feet (38 meters). Some scholars say this is probably not Rogel Spring because it’s a well and not a spring. Virgin’s Fountain is another contender. It’s a spring close to Jerusalem.
This is where a relative of Saul cussed David and threw stones at him (2 Samuel 16:5). Location of Bahurim is uncertain. Scholars suggest several locations, most of which are a few miles or kilometers east of Jerusalem and along the trail down to Jericho, in the Jordan River Valley.
Mahanaim was near Jabesh in Gilead and the Jabbok stream. The Israelites earlier retreated here, east of the Jordan River. That’s because Philistines controlled Saul’s land west of the Jordan after they crushed Saul’s army at the Battle of Mount Gilboa (1 Samuel 31).
The genealogy is confusing, which leaves scholars guessing. We might expect the writer to identify Abigail as the daughter of Jesse, if she was David’s sister. That’s because Jesse was David’s dad. But if Abigail’s parent, Nahash, was her mother’s name, that might identify her as David’s half-sister. And it would explain why the writer didn’t identify her as David’s half-sister, but instead said she was the full sister of Joab. David and Joab were cousins.
Hebrew alternate: Ithra.
Ishmael was Abraham’s first son, and is often considered the father of the Arab people. Jews descended from Abraham’s second son, Jacob. Some ancient copies of 2 Samuel identify Jether as an Israelite, not an Ishmaelite.
“Allies” might be stretching it. The writer doesn’t say much about why they brought the supplies. Some may have brought supplies as a peace offering to an invading army bigger than they could defeat.
Exact location of Lo-debar is uncertain, but it was likely somewhere east of the Jordan River in Gilead. Gilead was roughly 60 miles (100 km) as the dove flies, from David’s capital, Jerusalem. That’s about a three-day trip. Lo-debar was one of many towns Israel defeated and took in the days of Moses. Lo-debar means “nothing.”
Lentils were edible seeds known as legumes. Lentils are an annual plant that produces lens-shaped seeds that grow inside pods, like beans and peas.
Some scholars suggest the writer may have originally said the men brought “yogurt (curds) from milk of the flock” and “cheese from the milk of the herd.” That would show that they brought sheep and goats among the supplies.
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