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Ahithophel’s counsel overthrown. (1-21):

Ahithophel’s former counsel was followed, for God intended to correct David; but his latter counsel was not followed, for God meant not to destroy him. He can overrule all counsels. Whatever wisdom or help any man employs or affords, the success is from God alone, who will not let his people perish. – Mathew Henry.

Vs. 1-4:… Advise of Ahithophel: Unlike the first advise of Ahithophel’s, this time Absalom opted a 2nd advise before he could come to a final decision. …I will arise and pursue… Ahothophel advised that he himself would lead the army against David and his men. He gave a great proposal to attack David at the earliest. Probably, this is the most viable advise that would have killed David.

Vs. 5-13:… Kings turns to Hushai: King trusted Hushai enough to call him for counsel also. Hushai gave an advice filled with details and facts which would convince Absalom.

1. Hushai creates a fear in the mind and heart of Absalom.. …they are mighty men…enraged….like a bear robbed of her cubs….your father is a man of war…. (v. 8). This is just opposite to what Ahithophel told Absalom about David in verse 2 …while he is weak and weary.
2. Hushai warrants a much bigger army opposed to Ahithophel’s 12,000 men .. …Israel be fully gathered… for multitude…. This is also spoken in contrary to Ahithophel’s advice.
3. Hushai strongly suggests that Absalom himself should go. …that you go to battle in person…(v. 11). This also boosts Absalom’s ego.

V. 14:…the LORD has purposed… : Rejection of Ahithophel’s advise was the work of the LORD.

Vs. 15-16:…send quickly and tell David… Hushai warns David to escape. Having no time to waste, Hushai went to Abiathar to inform the counsel of Ahithophel, even before knowing the choice of Absalom.

Vs. 17-21: With difficulty, the message reaches David.

Ahithophel hangs himself (23): Ahithophel might have realized that Absalom was heading towards a great defeat and his execution is not too far. So he went home settled everything and committed suicide.

Absalom pursues David.

V. 24:…David went to Mahanaim… : Mahanaim was a fortified city and Ish-bosheth, son of Saul (2 Samuel 2:8,9) had his capital in Mahnaim. Since David did favor to Mephibosheth, this city became friendly to David. This city was located about 37 miles north from where David crossed river Jordon. Absalom…and all the men… Absalom took Hushai’s counsel, and pursued his Dad.

V. 25:…made Amasa captain of the army instead of Joab…: Since Joab had been faithful to David, Absalom put Amasa in charge of the army. Amasa’s father Jithra married Abigail (Said to be David’s maternal half- sister; and not Nabal’s wife). So Amasa was nephew to David and cousin to Absalom and Joab.

V. 27-29:…Shobi the son of Nahash from Rabbah of the Ammonites…… : This Nahash should be the brother of hanun, the king of Ammon (2 Sam 10:2). Probably David made him to the throne in his brother’s place (2 Sam 12:30). However these people were supporters and providers for David and his camp.