II Samuel 17:15-18:18 Hushai Warns David, And Absalom’s Defeat And Death.
Through speaking with Zadok and Abiathar the priests, Hushai sought to warn David of Absalom’s intent to assemble his whole army to wage war against him. The plan was that a female servant would carry this news to the priests’ sons, Jonathan and Ahimaaz, who would then seek out David (vv. 15-17). “Nevertheless a lad saw them, and told Absalom.” (v. 18a) However, they hid themselves in a well, and a woman covered it and put grain on top, and then she lied and told the servants that the men had fled across the water brook (vv. 18b-20). In lying this woman bore true witness that these men had done nothing deserving of death. They then went on to warn David, and he and those with him crossed the Jordan (vv. 21-22). When Ahithophel learned that his advice had not been followed, he set his house in order and hung himself (v. 23).
David, on the other hand, continued on, while Absalom crossed over the Jordan also, in pursuit (vv. 24-26). Absalom then did something reminiscent of the advice from Ahithophel, when he slept with his father’s concubines, in that he promoted a man named Amasa, one of David’s nephews, who had sex with Abigail, who “was either David’s sister (1 Chr. 2:15-17) or perhaps his half-sister since she is here described as ‘the daughter of Nahash, sister of Zeruiah.’” (NGSB. 451) When David arrived in Mananaim, Shobi and the people of Ammon, helped David and those with him with supplies of food and beds (vv. 27-29). David then numbered those with him and set up leaders of hundreds and thousands, all under the command of his three generals – Joab, Abishai, and Ittai (18:1-2).
David wanted to lead the charge himself, but the people convinced him to stay behind at the gate of the city, he then gave his orders, including one to be gentle with Absalom (vv. 3-5). 20,000 Israelites died that day at the hands of David’s men (vv. 7-8). Then we read that Absalom was caught in a tree and hung there. Joab asked the man who sent the news why he did not slay Absalom, but he said he did not kill him because David had commanded them to deal gently with him (vv. 9-13). Joab then decided to kill Absalom himself, and they buried him in a pit in the woods (vv. 14-17). At that time, and even yet today, men have children to keep their name in remembrance. However, Absalom did not have a son, therefore he set up a pillar “and called it after his own name…Absalom’s Monument.” (v. 18)*
*Apparently his three sons died (14:27).