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2 Samuel 17:1 [study!]

American Standard Version (ASV 1901) [2]
— Moreover Ahithophel said unto Absalom, Let me now choose out twelve thousand men, and I will arise and pursue after David this night:
King James Version (KJV 1769)
— Moreover Ahithophel said unto Absalom, Let me now choose out twelve thousand men, and I will arise and pursue after David this night:
New American Standard Bible (NASB ©1995)
— Furthermore, Ahithophel said to Absalom, “Please let me choose 12,000 men that I may arise and pursue David tonight.
Webster's Revision of the KJB (WEB 1833)
— Moreover Ahithophel said to Absalom, Let me now choose out twelve thousand men, and I will arise and pursue after David this night;
Darby's Translation (DBY 1890)
— And Ahithophel said to Absalom, Let me, I pray, choose out twelve thousand men, and I will arise and pursue after David to-night;
Rotherham's Emphasized Bible (EBR 1902)
— Then said Ahithophel unto Absolom: I pray thee, let me choose for myself, twelve thousand men, and arise, and pursue David to-night;
Young's Literal Translation (YLT 1898)
— And Ahithophel said unto Absalom, 'Let me choose, I pray thee, twelve thousand men, and I arise and pursue after David to-night,
Douay-Rheims Challoner Revision (DR 1750)
— And Achitophel said to Absalom: I will choose me twelve thousand men, and I will arise and pursue after David this night.
Original King James Bible (AV 1611) [2]
— Moreouer Ahithophel said vnto Absalom, Let mee nowe chuse out twelue thousand men, and I will arise and pursue after Dauid this night.
Brenton Greek Septuagint (LXX, Restored Names)
— And Ahithophel{gr.Achitophel} said to Absalom{gr.Abessalom}, Let me now choose out for myself twelve thousand men, and I will arise and follow after David this night:
Full Hebrew Names / Holy Name KJV (2008) [2] [3]
— Moreover Achithofel said unto Avshalom, Let me now choose out twelve thousand men, and I will arise and pursue after Dawid this night:

Strong's Numbers & Hebrew NamesHebrew Old TestamentColor-Code/Key Word Studies
Moreover fel אֲחִיתֹפֶל 302
{0302} Prime
From H0251 and H8602; brother of folly; Achithophel, an Israelite.
said 559
{0559} Prime
A primitive root; to say (used with great latitude).
<8799> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Imperfect (See H8811)
Count - 19885
unto x413
(0413) Complement
(Used only in the shortened constructive form (the second form)); a primitive particle, properly denoting motion towards, but occasionally used of a quiescent position, that is, near, with or among; often in general, to.
Avlm אַבשָׁלוֹם, 53
{0053} Prime
From H0001 and H7965; father of peace (that is, friendly); Abshalom, a son of David; also (the fuller form) a later Israelite.
Let me now x4994
(4994) Complement
A primitive particle of incitement and entreaty, which may usually be rendered I pray, now or then; added mostly to verbs (in the imperative or future), or to interjections, occasionally to an adverb or conjugation.
choose out 977
{0977} Prime
A primitive root; properly to try, that is, (by implication) select.
<8799> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Imperfect (See H8811)
Count - 19885
twelve 8147
{8147} Prime
(The first form being dual of H8145; the second form being feminine); two; also (as ordinal) twofold.
{6240} Prime
For H6235; ten (only in combination), that is, the 'teens'; also (ordinal) a 'teenth'.
thousand 505
{0505} Prime
Properly the same as H0504; hence (an ox's head being the first letter of the alphabet, and this eventually used as a numeral) a thousand.
men, 376
{0376} Prime
Contracted for H0582 (or perhaps rather from an unused root meaning to be extant); a man as an individual or a male person; often used as an adjunct to a more definite term (and in such cases frequently not expressed in translation.).
and I will arise 6965
{6965} Prime
A primitive root; to rise (in various applications, literally, figuratively, intensively and causatively).
<8799> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Imperfect (See H8811)
Count - 19885
and pursue 7291
{7291} Prime
A primitive root; to run after (usually with hostile intent; figuratively (of time) gone by).
<8799> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Imperfect (See H8811)
Count - 19885
after 310
{0310} Prime
From H0309; properly the hind part; generally used as an adverb or conjugation, after (in various senses).
Dwi דָּוִד 1732
{1732} Prime
From the same as H1730; loving; David, the youngest son of Jesse.
this night: 3915
{3915} Prime
From the same as H3883; properly a twist (away of the light), that is, night; figuratively adversity.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary

2 Samuel 17:1-11

_ _ 2 Samuel 17:1-14. Ahithophel’s counsel overthrown by Hushai.

_ _ Moreover Ahithophel said unto Absalom — The recommendation to take prompt and decisive measures before the royalist forces could be collected and arranged, evinced the deep political sagacity of this councilor. The adoption of his advice would have extinguished the cause of David; and it affords a dreadful proof of the extremities to which the heartless prince was, to secure his ambitious objects, prepared to go, that the parricidal counsel “pleased Absalom well, and all the elders of Israel.” It was happily overruled, however, by the address of Hushai, who saw the imminent danger to which it would expose the king and the royal cause. He dwelt upon the warlike character and military experience of the old king — represented him and his adherents as mighty men, who would fight with desperation; and who, most probably, secure in some stronghold, would be beyond reach, while the smallest loss of Absalom’s men at the outset might be fatal to the success of the conspiracy. But his dexterity was chiefly displayed in that part of his counsel which recommended a general levy throughout the country; and that Absalom should take command of it in person — thereby flattering at once the pride and ambition of the usurper. The bait was caught by the vainglorious and wicked prince.

Matthew Henry's Commentary

2 Samuel 17:1-14

_ _ Absalom is now in peaceable possession of Jerusalem; the palace-royal is his own, as are the thrones of judgment, even the thrones of the house of David. His good father reigned in Hebron, and only over the tribe of Judah, above seven years, and was not hasty to destroy his rival; his government was built upon a divine promise, the performance of which he was sure of in due time, and therefore he waited patiently in the mean time. But the young man, Absalom, not only hastens from Hebron to Jerusalem, but is impatient there till he has destroyed his father, cannot be content with his throne till he has his life; for his government is founded in iniquity, and therefore feels itself tottering and thinks itself obliged to do every thing with violence. That so profligate a wretch as Absalom should aim at the life of so good a father is not so strange (there are here and there monsters in nature); but that the body of the people of Israel, to whom David had been so great a blessing in all respects, should join with him in his attempt, is very amazing. But their fathers often mutinied against Moses. The best of parents, and the best of princes will not think it strange if they be made uneasy by those who should be their support and joy, when they consider what sons and what subjects David himself had.

_ _ David and all that adhered to him must be cut off. This was resolved, for aught that appears, nemine contradicenteunanimously. None durst mention his personal merits, and the great services done to his country, in opposition to this resolve, nor so much as ask, “Why, what evil has he done to forfeit his crown, much less his head?” None durst propose that his banishment should suffice, for the present, nor that agents should be sent to treat with him to resign the crown, which, having so tamely quitted the city, they might think he would easily be persuaded to do. It was not long since that Absalom himself fled for a crime, and David contented himself with his being an exile, though he deserved death, nay, he mourned and longed for him; but so perfectly void of all natural affection is this ungrateful Absalom that he eagerly thirsts after his own father's blood. It is past dispute that David must be destroyed; all the question is how he may be destroyed.

_ _ I. Ahithophel advises that he be pursued immediately, this very night, with a flying army (which he himself undertakes the command of), that the king only be smitten and his forces dispersed, and then the people that were now for him would fall in with Absalom of course, and there would not be such a long war as had been between the house of Saul and David: The man whom thou seekest is as if all returned, 2 Samuel 17:1-3. By this it appears that Absalom had declared his design to be upon David's life, and Ahithophel concurs with him in it. Smite the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered, and be an easy prey to the wolf. Thus he contrives to include the war in a little compass, by fighting neither with small nor great but the king of Israel only, and to conclude it in a little time, by falling upon him immediately. Nothing could be more fatal to David than the taking of these measures. It was too true that he was weary and weak-handed, that a little thing would make him afraid, else he would not have fled from his house upon the first alarm of Absalom's rebellion; it was probable enough that upon a fierce attack, especially in the night, the small force he had would be put into confusion and disorder, and it would bean easy thing to smite the king only, and then the business would be done, the whole nation would be reduced, of course, and all the people, says he, shall be in peace. See how a general ruin is called by usurpers a general peace; but thus the devil's palace is in peace, while he, as a strong man armed, keeps it. Compare with this the plot of Caiaphas (that second Ahithophel) against the Son of David, to crush his interest by destroying him. Let that one man die for the people, John 11:50. Kill the heir, and the inheritance shall be ours, Matthew 21:38. But the counsel of them both was turned into foolishness. Yet the children of light may, in their generation, learn wisdom from the children of this world. What our hand finds to do let us do quickly, and with all our might. It is prudence to be vigorous and expeditious, and not to lose time, particularly in our spiritual warfare. If Satan flee from us, let us follow our blow. Those that have quarrelled with crowned heads have generally observed the decorum of declaring only against their evil counsellors, and calling them to an account (The king himself can do no wrong, it is they that do it); but Absalom's bare-faced villany strikes at the king directly, nay, at the king only; for (would you think it?) this saying, I will smite the king only, pleased Absalom well (2 Samuel 17:4), nor had he so much sense of humor and virtue left him to pretend to startle at it or even to be reluctant in this barbarous and monstrous resolution. What good can stand before the heat of a furious ambition?

_ _ II. Hushai advises that they be not too hasty in pursuing David, but take time to draw up all their force against him, and to overpower him with numbers, as Ahithophel had advised to take him by surprise. Now Hushai, in giving this counsel, really intended to serve David and his interest, that he might have time to send him notice of his proceedings, and that David might gain time to gather an army and to remove into those countries beyond Jordan, in which, lying more remote, Absalom had probably least interest. Nothing would be of greater advantage to David in this juncture than time to turn himself in; that he may have this, Hushai counsels Absalom to do nothing rashly, but to proceed with caution and secure his success by securing his strength. Now,

_ _ 1. Absalom gave Hushai a fair invitation to advise him. All the elders of Israel approved of Ahithophel's counsel, yet God overruled the heart of Absalom not to proceed upon it, till he had consulted Hushai (2 Samuel 17:5): Let us hear what he saith. Herein he thought he did wisely (two heads are better than one), but God taketh the wise in their own craftiness. See Mr. Poole's note on this.

_ _ 2. Hushai gave very plausible reasons for what he said.

_ _ (1.) He argued against Ahithophel's counsel, and undertook to show the danger of following his advice. It is with modesty, and all possible deference to Ahithophel's settled reputation, that he begs leave to differ from him, 2 Samuel 17:7. He acknowledges that the counsel of Ahithophel is usually the best, and such as may be relied on; but, with submission to that noble peer, he is of opinion that his counsel is not good at this time, and that it is by no means safe to venture so great a cause as that in which they are now engaged upon so small a number, and such a hasty sally, as Ahithophel advises, remembering the defeat of Israel before Ai, Joshua 7:4. It has often proved of bad consequence to despise an enemy. See how plausibly Hushai reasoned. [1.] He insisted much upon it that David was a great soldier, a man of great conduct, courage, and experience; all knew and owned this, even Absalom himself: “Thy father is a man of war (2 Samuel 17:8), a mighty man (2 Samuel 17:10), and not so weary and weak-handed as Ahithophel imagines. His retiring from Jerusalem must be imputed, not to his cowardice, but his prudence.” [2.] His attendants, though few, were mighty men (2 Samuel 17:8), valiant men (2 Samuel 17:10), men of celebrated bravery and versed in all the arts of war. Ahithophel, who perhaps had worn the gown more than the sword, would find himself an unequal match for them. One of them would chase a thousand. [3.] They were all exasperated against Absalom, who was the author of all this mischief, were chafed in their minds, and would fight with the utmost fury; so that, what with their courage, and what with their rage, there would be no standing before them, especially for such raw soldiers as Absalom's generally were. Thus did he represent them as formidable as Ahithophel had made them despicable. [4.] He suggested that probably David and some of his men would lie in ambush, in some pit, or other close place, and fall upon Absalom's soldiers before they were aware the terror of which would put them to flight; and the defeat, though but of a small party, would dispirit all the rest, especially their own consciences at the same time accusing them of treason against one that, they were sure, was not only God's anointed, but a man after his own heart, 2 Samuel 17:9. “It will soon be given out that there is a slaughter among Absalom's men, and then they will all make the best of their way, and the heart of Ahithophel himself, though now it seems like the heart of a lion, will utterly melt. In short, he will not find it so easy a matter to deal with David and his men as he thinks it is; and, if he be foiled, we shall all be routed.”

_ _ (2.) He offered his own advice, and gave his reasons; and, [1.] He counselled that which he knew would gratify Absalom's proud vain-gloriuos humour, though it would not be really serviceable to his interest. First, He advised that all Israel should be gathered together, that is, the militia of all the tribes. His taking it for granted that they are all for him, and giving him an opportunity to see them all together under his command, would gratify him as much as any thing. Secondly, He advises that Absalom go to battle in his own person, as if he looked upon him to be a better soldier than Ahithophel, more fit to give command and have the honour of the victory, insinuating that Ahithophel had put a slight upon him in offering to go without him. See how easy it is to betray proud men, by applauding them, and feeding their pride. [2.] He counselled that which seemed to secure the success, at last, infallibly, without running any hazard. For, if they could raise such vast numbers as they promised themselves, wherever they found David they could not fail to crush him. First, If in the field, they should fall upon him, as the dew that covers the face of the ground, and cut off all his men with him, 2 Samuel 17:12. Perhaps Absalom was better pleased with the design of cutting off all the men that were with him, having a particular antipathy to some of David's friends, than with Ahithophel's project of smiting the king only. Thus Hushai gained his point by humouring his revenge, as well as his pride. Secondly, If in a city, they need not fear conquering him, for they should have hands enough, if occasion were, to draw the city itself into its river with ropes, 2 Samuel 17:13. This strange suggestion, how impracticable soever, being new, served for an amusement, and recommended itself by pleasing the fancy, for they would all smile at the humour of it.

_ _ (3.) By all these arts, Hushai gained not only Absalom's approbation of his advice, but the unanimous concurrence of this great counsel of war; they all agreed that the counsel of Hushai was better than the counsel of Ahithophel, 2 Samuel 17:14. See here, [1.] How much the policy of man can do; If Hushai had not been there, Ahithophel's counsel would certainly have prevailed; and, though all had given their opinion, nothing could be really more for Absalom's interest than that which he advised; yet Hushai, with his management, brings them all over to his side, and none of them are aware that he says all this in favour of David and his interest, but all say as he says. See how the unthinking are imposed upon by the designing part of mankind; what tools, what fools, great men make of one another by their intrigues; and what tricks there are often in courts and councils, which those are happiest that are least conversant with. [2.] See how much more the providence of God can do. Hushai managed the plot with dexterity, yet the success is ascribed to God, and his agency on the minds of those concerned: The Lord had appointed to defeat the good counsel of Ahithophel. Be it observed, to the comfort of all that fear God, he turns all men's hearts as the rivers of water, though they know not the thoughts of the Lord. He stands in the congregation of the mighty, has an overruling hand in all counsels and a negative voice in all resolves, and laughs at men's projects against his anointed.

John Wesley's Explanatory Notes

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Geneva Bible Translation Notes

2 Samuel 17:1

Moreover Ahithophel said unto Absalom, (a) Let me now choose out twelve thousand men, and I will arise and pursue after David this night:

(a) The wicked are so greedy to execute their malice, that they leave no opportunity that may further the same.

Cross-Reference Topical ResearchStrong's Concordance
I will arise:

Proverbs 1:16 For their feet run to evil, and make haste to shed blood.
Proverbs 4:16 For they sleep not, except they have done mischief; and their sleep is taken away, unless they cause [some] to fall.
Isaiah 59:7-8 Their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed innocent blood: their thoughts [are] thoughts of iniquity; wasting and destruction [are] in their paths. ... The way of peace they know not; and [there is] no judgment in their goings: they have made them crooked paths: whosoever goeth therein shall not know peace.

this night:

Psalms 3:3-5 But thou, O LORD, [art] a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head. ... I laid me down and slept; I awaked; for the LORD sustained me.
Psalms 4:8 I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety.
Psalms 109:2-4 For the mouth of the wicked and the mouth of the deceitful are opened against me: they have spoken against me with a lying tongue. ... For my love they are my adversaries: but I [give myself unto] prayer.
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Ps 3:3; 4:8; 109:2. Pv 1:16; 4:16. Is 59:7.

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