Hushai's Advice Preferred
2 Samuel 17:7-23
And Hushai said to Absalom, The counsel that Ahithophel has given is not good at this time.…

The wisest man in the world is not wise at all times: though Achitophel commonly gives successful counsel, yet, with his good leave, he hath missed the mark at this time, and in this case.

I. Hushai's grand design was first to INVALIDATE THE PERILOUS COUNSEL ACHITOPHEL HAD GIVEN, before he gave his own opinion he hereupon discovers the danger of Achitophel's advice from three topics.

1. The first is taken from the valour of David, which he amplifies by a similitude of a bear robbed of her whelps.

2. The second argument m taken from the policy and prudence of David, as the first is from his courage and valour.

3. His third argument or topic is a periculoso from the dangerous consequences of this expedition of Achitophel's. (ver. 9, 10.)

II. When Hushai had thus invalidated Achitophel's counsel, THEN HE PRODUCETH AND INTRODUCETH HIS OWN TO Absalom, and partly contrary and partly congruous and consentaneous to that of Achitophel's. (vers. 11, 12, 13.)

1. Hushai's counsel was contrary to that of Achitophel's in three respects.

(1) In respect of time; not in the night as he hath advised, seeing night-works are not only hazardous, but also no way glorious works, we scorn to steal a victory in the dark, let us fight David in clear-daylight that the sun may behold the valour and victory of our invincible army.

(2) The second respect is, Let not so small an handful as twelve thousand (according to his advice) be employed, but a mighty host made up of all Israel, from Dan to Beersheba, &c.

(3) And the third respect is, Thou thyself shalt go general of this numerous army, for thy presence will put life into thy soldiers, to fight lustily in the fight of their King, who bath power to punish or reward them according to their merit or demerit; beside the glory of the victory (which now Achitophel seeks to have to himself) shall be wholly thine by thy going in person to the battle.

2. Mark, it was congruous as to the effect, the same in the end with that Achitophel now had advised, to wit, the destruction of David, and of his despicable company, saying, David shall not be able to defend himself neither.

(1) In the open field, for we will fall upon him there, as the dew falleth upon the field, so largely, so suddenly, and so irresistibly upon all sides, as the drops of dew are innumerable: Nor(2) Shall he be safe in, a fortified city, for we will bring ropes to it and draw it (and David in it) into the river, &c., so drown him, and all his, &c. Hushai's whole oration was wholly accommodated to the ambitious humour of a vain-glorious prince, all along stuffed with the bombast of hyperbolical flourishes, both to fill up its own emptiness, and to puff up Absalom's proud mind with heading and leading a mighty army, &c. Hushai in his thrasonical expressions puts himself into the number of the actors of this tragedy, saying [So shall we come upon him, &c.] as if he had said [I will be one of the first of them,] that he might not seem to come short of Achitophel, who had offered Absalom his service both as a counsellor, and as a commander, and [We will not. leave so much as one, &c.] This is opposed to Achitophel's promise (v. 2.) that in no point he might seem to fall behind him, so is he the sooner believed. Whatever Hushai with all his florid flatteries pretended, yet his main design intended was, that David might gain more time to increase his army, and to prepare for the battle, and that the present paroxism or heat of the people being cooled by such delays (as Absalom's raising so vast an army did necessarily require) many of David's subjects might at last bethink themselves of returning to their right allegiance, and thereby upon better consideration join to strengthen the Father's forces against his unnatural rebellious son. In all these harangues both of Acbitophel and of Hushai, there is not one word of counselling Absalom to ask counsel of God, God was not in all their thoughts. (Psalm 10:4.) Indeed Hushai purposely put Absalom upon trusting in an arm of flesh (a numberless number of soldiers) which he knew would bring a curse upon him (Jeremiah 17:5), and therefore he pusheth him forward to be present in the fight to fetch in his own fall, &c. This counsel of Hushai was better approved of by Absalom and his courtieers than that of Achitophel, because the Lord purposed it should be foiled and defeated (ver. 13, 14.)

III. HOW GREAT IS THE POWER OF FAITHFUL PRAYER; David had prayed, Lord, turn Achitophel's counsel into folly. Achitophel's counsel is rejected as foolish counsel, David's prayer of faith and fervency was answered over and over again; for

1. Achitophel's counsel was folly itself (2 Samuel 16:21.)

2. 'Tis here refused as such; and

3. he died as a fool (ver. 28.)


1. by human help, namely, by Hushai's prudence and policy, humouring an ambitious bigot to his own destruction, well knowing that his insolent temper would best be flushed up with flourishing flatteries, and

2. by a Divine hand, God giving Absalom up to believe lies, and so hasten his own end.

(C. Ness.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: And Hushai said unto Absalom, The counsel that Ahithophel hath given is not good at this time.

WEB: Hushai said to Absalom, "The counsel that Ahithophel has given this time is not good."

The Council Chamber of Absalom
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