2 Samuel 17:8
For, said Hushai, thou knowest thy father and his men, that they be mighty men, and they be chafed in their minds, as a bear robbed of her whelps in the field: and thy father is a man of war, and will not lodge with the people.
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17:1-21 Here was a wonderful effect of Divine Providence blinding Absalom's mind and influencing his heart, that he could not rest in Ahithophel's counsel, and that he should desire Hushai's advice. But there is no contending with that God who can arm a man against himself, and destroy him by his own mistakes and passions. 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.At this time - Rather, "The counsel which Ahithophel has given this time is not good." He contrasts it with that given before 2 Samuel 16:21, which was good. This gave an appearance of candour to his conduct, and so gave weight to his dissent. Observe the working of David's prayer 2 Samuel 15:31. CHAPTER 17

2Sa 17:1-14. Ahithophel's Counsel Overthrown by Hushai.

1-11. 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 councillor. 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.

Mighty men; of approved courage and strength, therefore not so soon vanquished as Ahithophel supposeth.

Chafed in their minds, Heb. bitter of soul, inflamed with rage; desperate, and therefore resolved to sell their lives at a dear rate.

A man of war; a wise prince and general; who knowing of what importance it is to secure his own person, and that your great design is against his life, will doubtless use extraordinary care to keep out of your reach, which he may easily do.

For (said Hushai) thou knowest thy father and his men, that they be mighty men,.... Men of courage and valour, and not such weak-handed and weak-hearted men, and so easily intimidated, as Ahithophel suggests:

and they be chafed in their minds; or "bitter in soul" (f); not merely filled with trouble and anguish, and depressed in their spirits, on account of that, as the phrase sometimes signifies; but enraged and full of wrath at the rebellion raised against their prince, which obliged them with him to leave their habitations; and now being desperate, their all lying at stake, their wives and children, their families and estates, they would fight furiously in the defence of the king and themselves, and not so soon flee as Ahithophel had represented:

as a bear robbed of her whelps in the field; a bear is a very furious creature, especially a she bear, and the more when it has whelps, and more so when deprived of them (g), when it ranges about in the field, and in its fury attacks whomsoever it meets with; See Gill on Hosea 13:8,

and thy father is a man of war; not only bold and courageous, but expert and skilful in all the arts of war and not easy to be surprised and circumvented, as Ahithophel intimated:

and will not lodge with the people; in the camp, but at some distance from it; partly to prevent any traitorous design upon him in it, and partly that he might not be surprised by the enemy, knowing that their chief view was to seize his person; and therefore as it would not be easy to find him where he was, he could not be smitten alone, as Ahithophel proposed.

(f) "amari animo", Pagninus, Montanus; "amaro animo", V. L. Tigurine version, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator. (g) Aristot. Hist. Animal. l. 6. c. 18. & 9. 1.

For, said Hushai, thou knowest thy father and his men, that they be mighty men, and they be chafed in their minds, as a bear robbed of her whelps in the field: and thy father is a man of war, and will not lodge with the people.
8. For, said Hushai] And Hushai said.

chafed in their minds] Lit. bitter of soul: embittered and exasperated. Cp. Jdg 18:25; 1 Samuel 22:2.

as a bear robbed of her whelps] Proverbial for its ferocity. Cp. Proverbs 17:12; Hosea 13:8. The Syrian bear is said to be particularly ferocious. See 1 Samuel 17:34. The Sept. adds, “and like a savage sow in the plain,” which is rather a Greek than a Hebrew simile. Cp. Hom. Il. xiii. 471 ff.

2 Samuel 17:8In answer to Absalom's inquiry, "Shall we do his word (i.e., follow Ahithophel's advice) or not?" Hushai said, "The advice is not good that Ahithophel hath given this time;" and then still further explained (2 Samuel 17:8): "Thou knowest thy father and his men, that they are heroes, and of a ferocious disposition (like Judges 18:25), like a bear in the field robbed of her young; and thy father is a man of war, and will not pass the night with the people," sc., so that it would be possible to come upon him unawares and slay him (לין with את, as in Job 19:4). The idea that ילין is to be taken as a Hiphil, in the sense of "and does not let the people lodge for the night" (Bttcher), is quite untenable, since it does not tally with 2 Samuel 17:9, "Behold, he is hid now in one of the pits, or one of the places (פּחתים are hiding-places that are strong by nature, מקומת are places rendered strong by art); and it comes to pass that he falls upon them at the first: so will men hear it, and say a defeat has taken place among the people that follow Absalom." נפל with בּ, as in Joshua 11:7, to fall upon a person. The subject to נפל is David, but it is not mentioned as being evident enough from the context; so that there is no necessity for the emendation נפלו, which Thenius proposes. The suffix בּהם relates to those making the attack, the hosts of Absalom. Thenius has given the meaning correctly: "The report that David has made an attack will be sufficient to give rise to the belief that our men have sustained a severe defeat."
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