1 Ahitophel said to Absalom, “Let me choose twelve thousand men that I may set out and pursue David tonight. 2 I will attack him while he is tired and discouraged and throw him into a panic. All those who are with him will flee so I will strike down only the king. 3 Then I will bring all the people back to you as a bride comes home to her husband. Seek the death of only one man and then all the people will be unharmed.” 4 The advice pleased Absalom and all the elders of Israel.
5 Then Absalom said, “Call in Hushai the Archite to hear what he has to say.” 6 When Hushai came before Absalom, Absalom asked him, “Ahitophel has given this advice. Shall we follow it? If not, you speak.” 7 So Hushai said to Absalom, “This time, Ahitophel’s advice is not good. 8 You know that your father and his men are warriors. When enraged, they are like a bear robbed of her cubs in the field. Besides, your father is expert enough in war not to spend the night with his men. 9 Right now he is hiding in one of the pits or in some other place. If some of your men fall in the first attack, whoever hears of it will say, ‘There has been a slaughter among the men who follow Absa lom.’ 10 Then even the valiant man whose heart is like that of a lion will utterly melt with fear, for all Israel knows that your father is a warrior, as are the men who are with him. 11 My advice is for you to gather all the Israelites from Dan to Beersheba, as many as the sands of the sea, and go to battle in person. 12 Then we shall find him wherever he is and fall on him as the dew falls on the ground. Neither he nor any of his men will be left alive. 13 If he withdraws into a city, all Israel will bring ropes and drag it into the valley until not even a pebble of it re mains.” 14 Absalom and all the Israelites said, “The counsel of Hushai the Archite is better than the counsel of Ahitophel.” For Yahweh had decreed that the good counsel of Ahitophel be defeated, so that he might bring evil upon Absalom.
15 Then Hushai reported to the priests Zadok and Abiathar, “Ahitophel advised Absalom and the elders of Israel in this way; but I have advised them in this manner. 16 Therefore send word to David quickly, ‘Do not lodge tonight at the desert fords. Go beyond them lest the King and all the men with him be trapped!”
17 Now Jonathan and Ahimaaz were waiting at Enrogel where a maidservant regularly went to report to them so they could go and tell king David, for they themselves must not be seen in the city. 18 But a lad saw them and reported to Absalom. The two hurriedly left the place and entered the house of a man of Bahurim who had a well in his courtyard, and they got down into it. 19 The woman took a covering and spread it over the well’s mouth, then scattered grain over it without anyone noticing. 20 When Absa lom’s servants came to the woman’s house, they asked, “Where are Ahimaaz and Jonathan?” The woman answered them, “They left, following the brook.” They looked for them but could not find them; and so they returned to Jerusalem.
21 After they had gone, the men came up out of the well and went to tell David, “Hurry and cross over the river, for this is what Ahitophel has counseled against you.” 22 So David and all those who were with him crossed over the Jordan; and by daybreak, not one was left who had not crossed the Jordan.
23 When Ahitophel saw that his advice was not followed, he saddled his ass and rode back home to his own city. After setting his house in order, he hanged himself and died. He was then buried in the tomb of his father.
24 David had already entered Maha naim when Absalom crossed over the Jordan with all the Israelites. 25 Absalom had put Amasa in charge of the army instead of Joab. Amasa was the son of Ithra, an Ishmaelite who had married Abigail the daughter of Isai, sister of Zeruiah, the mother of Joab. 26 The Is raelites and Absalom pitched camp in the land of Gilead.
27 When David arrived at Maha naim, Shobi the son of Nahash from Rabbah of the Ammonites, and Machir the son of Ammiel from Lodebar, and Barzillai the Gileadite from Rogelim, 28 brought beds, basins, earthen vessels, wheat, barley, meal, roasted grain, beans and lentils, honey and curds, sheep and cheese from the herd. All this was for David and the people with him to eat 29 for they said, “The people are hungry, weary and thirsty in the desert.”