For, said Hushai, you know your 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 your father is a man of war, and will not lodge with the people.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)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.
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.
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.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.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)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 17:1-3. Ahithophel said still further to Absalom, "I will choose out twelve thousand men, and arise, and pursue after David this night; and fall upon him when he is exhausted and weak, and fill him with alarm: so shall all the people that are with him flee; and I will smite the king alone (when he is alone), and will bring back all the people to thee." הלּילה, the night, is the night following the day of David's flight and Absalom's entrance into Jerusalem, as we may see very clearly from 2 Samuel 17:16. This advice was sagaciously conceived; for if David had been attacked that night by a powerful army, he might possibly have been defeated. אשׁיבה, to bring back, may be explained on the supposition that Ahithophel regarded Absalom as king, and those who had fled with David as rebels, who were to be brought back under Absalom's sceptre. The following words, וגו הכּל כּשׁוּב, "as the return of the whole (the whole nation) is the man," i.e., the return of all is dependent upon David, for whom thou liest in wait, are somewhat difficult, though the meaning of Ahithophel is evident enough from what precedes: viz., if he is beaten, they will all come over to thee; "the whole nation will be at peace" (שׁלוּם is used adverbially).
(Note: Consequently no conjectures are needed as to the rendering of the words in the lxx, viz., καθὼς (al. ὅν τρόπον) ἐπιστρέρει ἡ νύμφη πρὸς τὸν ἄνδρα αὐτῆς· πλὴν ψυχὴν ἀνδρὸς ἑνὸς σὺ ζητεῖς, such as Ewald, Thenius, and Bttcher have attempted. For it is very obvious that ἡ νύμφη πρὸς τὸν ἄνδρα αὐτῆς owes its origin simply to a false reading of האישׁ הכּל as אישׁ הכּלּה, and that πλὴν ψυχὴν ἀνδρὸς ἑνός has been interpolated by way of explanation from nothing but conjecture. No other of the ancient versions contains the slightest trace of a different reading from that given in the text.)
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