The Agora
Bible Commentary
2 Samuel

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2 Samuel 17

2Sa 17:1

2Sa 17: "The spirit of Judas against Christ is revealed in the wicked and treacherous action of Ahithophel against David. Ahithophel conspired with Absalom as Judas did with the rulers of Judah. He offers a seven-point situation to Absalom. But Absalom was not convinced that this advice would achieve his designs on the throne (vv 1-4). He was doubtful of the genuineness of the advice of David's former counsellor, and sought confirmation by Hushai (vv 5,6). David's future trembled in the balance as the court waited to hear the counsel of Hushai. Hushai sways Absalom (vv 8-14). Contemptuously brushing aside the previous advice as unsound, he drew a picture of the extreme difficulties it presented, then sketched a plan for a general campaign. It succeeded. A warning is sent to David (vv 15-20). There is a near escape as an anonymous sympathiser of David in this apparently bitter and hostile city sent a message, causing David to retreat over the Jordan (vv 21,22). The result of Hushai's advice causes Ahithophel to commit suicide, as did Judas after him (v 23). As a result civil war erupts in the Land (vv 24-26), whilst the remnant with David is strengthened in exile (vv 27-29). It is a picture of the experiences of the multitudinous Christ as they, with their Lord David, wait in exile until the great King will return to Zion" (GEM).

Vv 1-3: This counsel was the best calculated to succeed. A quick strike would catch David before he was organized, and cut short a civil war by killing David.

2Sa 17:2

I WOULD STRIKE DOWN ONLY THE KING: "You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish" (Joh 11:50).

2Sa 17:3

AND BRING ALL THE PEOPLE BACK TO YOU: "And I will bring back all the people to thee, as a bride returns to her husband: only thou seekest the life of one man, and all the people shall have peace" (LXX). Such was the depth of loyalty to David in the nation. He had once delivered them, but how soon they forget!

2Sa 17:7

Hushai had a difficult task: he had to make the worst solution look better in the face of a man famous for his wisdom, and devoted to Absalom, while his own fidelity was questionable. As Absalom flattered Israel, so Hushai flattered Absalom.


2Sa 17:11

Hushai's advice is laced with blatant flattery -- which wins over Absalom. He plays on Absalom's pride and ambition. Absalom falls victim to the same type of subterfuge he used against David (2Sa 15:2-6).

2Sa 17:12

AS DEW SETTLES ON THE GROUND: Silently, irresistibly, and with a rapid descent.

2Sa 17:14

And so often, today also, the good counsel of nations' leaders is thwarted.

2Sa 17:16

DO NOT SPEND THE NIGHT AT THE FORDS... CROSS OVER: Hushai fears that Absalom may yet heed Ahithophel's sensible advice, and mount a lightning attack.

2Sa 17:22

AND CROSSED THE JORDAN: Here see Psa 42; 43. The reversal of the exodus and conquest of the land.

2Sa 17:23

WHEN AHITHOPHEL SAW THAT HIS ADVICE HAD NOT BEEN FOLLOWED: Ahithophel saw that following Hushai's advice meant failure to the rebellion in the long run. There could be no doubt now that David would ultimately triumph.


2Sa 17:24

A lapse of time implied here: Absalom has prepared his army, but David has also!

MAHANAIM: Sig "two armies": David's and God's! Cp Gen 32:2.

2Sa 17:27

MAHANAIM: A strong city in a well-provisioned country. A mountainous district, with a warlike population who loved David.

SHOBI SON OF NAHASH FROM RABBAH OF THE AMMONITES: The governor of Ammon, placed in power by David after his conquest (JFB, Josephus).

MAKIR SON OF AMMIEL FROM LO DEBAR: The leader of those who had followed Saul and Ishbosheth (2Sa 9:4; Eder). Perhaps David's kindness to Mephibosheth had influenced him.

BARZILLAI: A wealthy old land-owner.

2Sa 17:28

Vv 28,29: "You have filled my heart with greater joy than when their grain and new wine abound. I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety" (Psa 4:7,8).

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