2 Samuel 17:9
Behold, he is hid now in some pit, or in some other place: and it will come to pass, when some of them be overthrown at the first, that whosoever heareth it will say, There is a slaughter among the people that follow Absalom.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
2 Samuel 17:9-10. Behold, he is now hid in some pit — Having been often accustomed to that course, and well acquainted with all hiding-places from Saul’s time. In one of them, unknown to us, he will lurk with some of his chosen men, and lie in ambush for us; and when they see a fit opportunity, they will suddenly come forth and surprise some of our men, when they least expect it, and probably at first put them to flight. When some of them be overthrown — Namely, of Absalom’s men sent against David. At the first — Implying, that their good success at first would mightily animate David’s men to proceed vigorously in the fight, and intimidate Absalom’s army, and consequently would be both a presage and an occasion of their total defeat. Whosoever heareth it will say, &c. — They who first hear these ill tidings will propagate them, and strike terror with them into the rest of the army, whose fear will make them think the slaughter greater than it is. He also that is valiant shall utterly melt — For men, even the most valiant, are apt to form conjectures of the final issue by the beginning; and it is a great encouragement to men to fight, when they prosper at the first onset, and a great discouragement when they are worsted. All Israel knoweth that thy father is a valiant man, &c. — The known fame of the prodigious valour of thy father and his followers will easily gain credit to the report of their being victorious, and strike the stoutest of our men with dread, even Ahithophel himself, if he should go with them.

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.Some pit, or in some other place - The Hebrew has "in one of the pits," or "in one of the places." Hence, "place" must have some defined meaning. It probably is used here, as elsewhere, for a "dwelling-house" or "village," which might in that district be fortified houses 2 Samuel 17:12; 1 Samuel 26:25.

Hushai's argument is that there was no chance of seizing David by surprise as Ahithophel suggested. There was sure to be sharp fighting, and the terror of the names of David, Joab, Abishai, Ittai, and their companions, would magnify the first few blows received into a victory, and Absalom's men would flee in panic. It is likely that Absalom was not a man of courage, and Hushai, knowing this, adroitly magnified the terror of the warlike prowess of David and his mighty men.

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.

He is hid now in some pit, or in some other place; having been oft accustomed to that course, and well acquainted with all hidingplaces from Saul’s time. In one of them, unknown to us, he will lurk with some of his chosen men, and lie in ambush for us; and when they see a fit opportunity, they will suddenly come forth and surprise some of our men when they least expect it, and fall upon them with great fury, and probably will at first put them to flight.

Some of them, to wit, of Absalom’s men sent against David.

Overthrown at the first; implying that their good success at first would mightily animate David’s men to proceed vigorously in the fight, and intimidate Absalom’s army, and consequently would be both a presage and an occasion of their total defeat.

Whosoever heareth it will say; they who first hear these ill tidings will propagate it, and strike terror with it into the rest of the army.

Behold, he is hid now in some pit, or in some other place,.... Some lurking place, as he was acquainted with many when he fled from Saul, and where he preserved himself from him; so that he could never take him, as he would now from Absalom, as he insinuates: but this is not all; not only by this means he would shelter himself, and be in safety; but lying thus concealed with others, and in ambush, there would be danger of his staring out of his hiding place when opportunity should offer, and falling on some of Absalom's troops unawares:

and it will come to pass, when some of them be overthrown at the first; that is, some of Absalom's party, on whom David and his men coming out of an ambush should fall, and make a slaughter among them first, before they could do anything of consequence; and so having got the first advantage, it would serve to animate them, and dishearten their enemies:

that whosoever heareth it; at that time, or the next day:

will say, there is a slaughter among the people that follow Absalom; there has been a defeat of them, and that may cause a defection.

Behold, he is hid now in some pit, or in some other place: and it will come to pass, when some of them be overthrown at the first, that whosoever heareth it will say, There is a slaughter among the people that follow Absalom.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
9. in some pit, or in some other place] Omit other. By pit is meant a cave or natural hiding-place; by place an artificially strengthened position.

when some of them be overthrown] Or, when he (David) falleth upon them (his assailants).

Verse 9. - When some of them be overthrown at the first; Hebrew, in the falling on them; that is, at the first onslaught of David's champions. Even though overpowered finally by force of numbers, they are sure to make a large slaughter at first, which may easily lead to a panic. 2 Samuel 17:9In 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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