Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

2 Samuel 17:5

Then Absalom said, "Now call Hushai the Archite also, and let us hear what he has to say."
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Ahithophel;   Council;   Diplomacy;   Friendship;   Spies;   War;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Ahithophel;   Amasa;   Hushai;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Absalom;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Friend, Friendship;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Ahithophel;   Archite;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Becher;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Hushai;   Samuel, Books of;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Ahithophel ;   Archite ;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Absalom;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Ahith'ophel;   Ar'chite, the;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Hebrew Monarchy, the;  

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

AHITHOPHEL'S COUNSEL DEFEATED

"Then Absalom said, "Call Hushai the Archite, and let us hear what he has to say." And when Hushai came to Absalom, Absalom said unto him, "Thus hath Ahithophel spoken; shall we do as he advises? If not, speak." Then Hushai said to Absalom, "This time the counsel which Ahithophel has given is not good." Hushai said moreover, "You know that your father and his men are mighty men, and that they are enraged, like a bear robbed of her cubs in the field. Besides your father is expert in war; he will not spend the night with the people. Behold, even now he has hidden himself in one of the pits, or in some other place. And when some of the people fall at the first attack, whoever hears it will say, "There has been a slaughter among the people who follow Absalom. Then even the valiant man, whose heart is like the heart of a lion, will utterly melt with fear; for all Israel knows that your father is a mighty man, and that those who are with him are valiant men. But my counsel is that all Israel be gathered to you, from Dan to Beersheba, as the sand by the sea for multitude, and that you go to battle in person. So we shall come upon him in some place where he is to be found, and we shall light upon him as the dew falls on the ground; and of him and all the men with him not one will be left. If he withdraws into a city, then all Israel will bring ropes to that city, and we shall drag it into the valley, until not even a pebble is to be found there." And Absalom and all the men of Israel said, "The counsel of Hushai the Archite is better than the counsel of Ahithophel." For the Lord had ordained to defeat the good counsel of Ahithophel, so that the Lord might bring evil upon Absalom."

We cannot agree with the opinion that, "One reason why Absalom adopted the counsel of Hushai may have been his reluctance to kill his father, because clearly the main purpose of Ahithophel was David's death."[7] This cannot be correct, because Hushai's advice also was designed to kill not only King David, but also "all of the men who were with him; not one will be left" (2 Samuel 17:12).

"This time the counsel which Ahithophel has given is not good" (2 Samuel 17:7). The appearance of the words this time at the head of the sentence means that, "Hushai concurred with Ahithophel's counsel regarding the concubines, that it was good."[8]

All the commentators have been profuse in their praise of Hushai's speech here. Indeed it was a masterpiece. "It was: (a) eloquent; (b) appealing; and (c) flattering."[9] Furthermore, there was much cleverness in it. Ahithophel's notion, for example, that he might take David by surprise, although apparently true enough in the light of David's taking a rest at Bahurim, was refuted by Hushai's claim that, "David was not such a fool as to expose himself unnecessarily to danger and that even at that moment he was probably hiding in some cave or other secret place."[10]

"They are enraged, like a bear robbed of her cubs in the field ... Your father is expert in war ... He is a mighty man ... The men with him are valiant men" (2 Samuel 17:8-10). No one in Israel would have denied such truth as this, with which Hushai loaded his appeal. "All that Hushai said about the bravery and heroism of David and his men was well founded,"[11] and universally known in Israel.

However, there were also some bold, flattering implications and outright lies in Hushai's appeal.

"My counsel is that all Israel from Dan to Beersheba be gathered to you" (2 Samuel 17:11). "The deception lay in this very assumption."[12] There was never the slightest possibility of anything like that ever happening on behalf of Absalom.

The skillful flattery of Hushai is evident in the glorious picture of Absalom riding in majesty at the head of a vast army, and in his boastful description of how "we" (yes, he included himself in Absalom's service) would destroy any city where David may try to defend himself.

"That you go to battle in person" (2 Samuel 17:11). This word-picture of Absalom riding in his royal clothing at the head of a mighty army most certainly appealed to Absalom, especially, if there had been any suspicion on his part of Ahithophel's suggestion that he lead twelve thousand, hand-picked soldiers of Absalom's troops.

The eloquence of Hushai appeared in his simile of the bear robbed of her cubs in the field, and in that of the dew.

"We shall light upon him as the dew falls on the ground" (2 Samuel 17:12). This was a glorying picture of Absalom's triumph, "Like the drops of dew, in vast numbers, as our irresistible host falls in their unavoidable descent upon our enemies."[13] One must admit that Hushai was able to talk an overwhelmingly victorious military campaign!

"The Lord had ordained to defeat the good counsel of Ahithophel, so that the Lord might bring evil upon Absalom" (2 Samuel 17:14). Yes, Ahithophel's plan was not perfect; and Hushai had expertly pointed out some flaws in it; but, "It was still by far the best option that was open to him."[14] R. P. Smith pointed out that, "It was so plain to the sacred author here that Absalom's success depended absolutely upon his taking Ahithophel's advice for rapid action, that nothing less than the direct intervention of the Divine Providence itself could account for Absalom and his `elders of all Israel' rejecting it.[15]

Why, actually, did Absalom reject the advice that could have given him the victory? Of course, it was the will of God that he should have done so. The flattering counsel of Hushai was one link in the chain of events that caused it, but only one link. David's prayer (2 Samuel 15:31) was another link. We also believe that the temptation of Absalom regarding his sexual gratification of his lust with those ten concubines of David was another link. As we noted above, that temptation was probably the bait by which Ahithophel would have detained Absalom in Jerusalem while he got control of the army.

However, much as Absalom desired to gratify his lust with the concubines, he also desired to gratify his pride as the royal conqueror riding in front of an immense army gathered all the way from Dan to Beersheba, a conceit conveyed to him in the clever words of Hushai; so naturally, he decided on the option that would gratify both lusts. Ahithophel completely overlooked that possibility. If Ahithophel had not injected that maneuver regarding the concubines, it is not improbable that Absalom would have accepted Ahithophel's counsel for military action that very night. Thus, Ahithophel's evil counsel itself, along with the evil nature of Absalom, must be reckoned as other links in the providential chain of events that destroyed Absalom. Thus, as the Lord has said, "He taketh the wise in their own craftiness" (Job 5:13).

It is amazing to us that none of the commentaries we have consulted explored the possibilities we have suggested here. Given the evil nature, both of Ahithophel and of Absalom, there is no logical reason for denying these possibilities.

Copyright Statement
Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
Bibliographical Information
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 17:5". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/2-samuel-17.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Then said Absalom, call now Hushai the Archite also,.... For it seems he was not at the council board at this time; whether he was as yet admitted to it is not certain: there is something very remarkable in the providence of God, to incline Absalom to have the opinion of Hushai upon this point, when the counsel of Ahithophel was so universally approved of; and Hushai also being well known to have been an intimate friend and confident of David's, and not so settled and established in the interest of Absalom, and such a sworn friend of his as Ahithophel was; this can only be ascribed to the will of God, to defeat the counsel of Ahithophel, and the wisdom of divine Providence in blinding the mind of Absalom with respect to his counsel, and inclining it to take the opinion of Hushai:

and let us hear likewise what he saith; which he might say without any diffidence about the "counsel" given, but knowing that in the multitude of counsellors there is safety; and Hushai being a wise and good counsellor, he might hope and expect that he would give the same advice, and so strengthen and confirm it.

Copyright Statement
The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 17:5". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/2-samuel-17.html. 1999.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Then said Absalom, Call now Hushai the Archite also, and let us hear likewise what he saith.

Call Hushai — A wonderful effect of Divine Providence, influencing his heart, that he could not rest in Ahithophel's counsel, though it was so evidently wise, and approved by the general consent of his whole party; and that he should desire Hushai's advice, though neither his reputation for wisdom was equal to Ahithophel's, nor had he yet given anyone proof of his fidelity to Absalom. But there is no contending with that God who can arm a man against himself, and destroy him by his own mistakes and passions.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Bibliographical Information
Wesley, John. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 17:5". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/2-samuel-17.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

2 Samuel 17:5 Then said Absalom, Call now Hushai the Archite also, and let us hear likewise what he saith.

Ver. 5. Call now Hushai the Archite also.] God had said that David should not die; but Absalom was doomed to death by God’s determined counsel. If Ahithophel’s counsel had been followed, how could David have escaped, or Absalom perished? Hushai, therefore, is consulted, and the whole scene altered. This came forth "from the Lord of hosts, which is wonderful in counsel, and excellent in working." [Isaiah 28:29]

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 17:5". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/2-samuel-17.html. 1865-1868.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

A wonderful effect of Divine Providence, blinding his mind, and influencing his heart, that he could not rest in Ahithophel’s counsel, though it was so evidently wise, and good, and approved by the general consent of his whole party; and that he should desire Hushai’s advice, though neither his reputation for wisdom was equal to Ahithophel’s, nor had he yet given any one proof of his fidelity to Absalom as Ahithophel had done; nor was he so fixed by his interest to him as Ahithophel was; and though there wanted not just cause to suspect him and his counsel too. But there is no contending with that God who can arm a man against himself, and destroy him by his own mistakes and passions, without any other help.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 2 Samuel 17:5". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/2-samuel-17.html. 1685.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

2 Samuel 17:5. Then said Absalom, Call now Hushai — A wonderful effect of Divine Providence, influencing his heart, that he could not rest in Ahithophel’s counsel, though it was so evidently wise, and approved by the general consent of his whole party; and that he should desire Hushai’s advice, though neither his reputation for wisdom was equal to Ahithophel’s, nor had he yet given any one proof of his fidelity to Absalom. But there is no contending with that God who can arm a man against himself, and destroy him by his own mistakes and passions.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 17:5". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/2-samuel-17.html. 1857.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

Call now. Hebrew "Call thou "(compare "thou", 2 Samuel 17:6); but Septuagint and Vulgate read "Call ye".

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 17:5". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/2-samuel-17.html. 1909-1922.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(5) Call now Hushai.—The good sense of Absalom and all the people at once approved the counsel of Ahithophel; but, at a crisis so important, Absalom sought the advice also of the other famous counsellor of his father.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 17:5". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/2-samuel-17.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Then said Absalom, Call now Hushai the Archite also, and let us hear likewise what he saith.
Hushai
15:32-37; 16:16-19
he saith
Heb. is in his mouth.
Reciprocal: 2 Samuel 15:34 - then mayest;  1 Kings 12:6 - consulted;  1 Kings 12:9 - General2 Chronicles 10:6 - What counsel;  2 Chronicles 10:9 - What advice

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 17:5". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/2-samuel-17.html.