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From Eternity Past

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    Hushai Suggests Alternate Plan

    He suggested a plan attractive to a vain and selfish nature: “I counsel that all Israel be generally gathered together unto thee, from Dan even to Beersheba, as the sand that is by the sea for multitude; and that thou go to battle in thine own person. So shall we come upon him in some place where he shall be found, and we will light upon him as the dew falleth on the ground: and of him and of all the men that are with him there shall not be left so much as one. Moreover, if he be gotten into a city, then shall all Israel bring ropes to that city, and we will draw it into the river, until there be not one small stone found there.”EP 537.1

    “And Absalom and all the men of Israel said, The counsel of Hushai the Archite is better than the counsel of Ahithophel.”EP 537.2

    But there was one who clearly foresaw the result of this fatal mistake of Absalom's. Ahithophel knew that the cause of the rebels was lost. And he knew that whatever might be the fate of the prince, there was no hope for the counselor who had instigated his greatest crimes. Ahithophel had encouraged Absalom in rebellion; he had counseled him to the most abominable wickedness, to the dishonor of his father; he had advised the slaying of David; he had cut off the last possibility of his own reconciliation with the king; and now another was preferred before him by Absalom. Jealous, angry, and desperate, Ahithophel “gat him home to his house, ... and hanged himself, and died.” Such was the result of the wisdom of one who did not make God his counselor.EP 537.3

    Hushai lost no time in warning David to escape beyond Jordan without delay: “Lodge not this night in the plains of the wilderness, but speedily pass over; lest the king be swallowed up, and all the people that are with him.”EP 538.1

    David, spent with toil and grief after that first day of flight, received the message that he must cross the Jordan that night, for his son was seeking his life. What were the feelings of the father and king in this terrible peril? In the hour of his darkest trial, David's heart was stayed upon God, and he sang:EP 538.2

    Lord, how are they increased that trouble me!
    Many are they that rise up against me.
    Many there be which say of my soul,
    There is no help for him in God.
    But Thou, O Lord, art a shield for me;
    My glory, and the lifter up of mine head.
    I cried unto the Lord with my voice,
    And He heard me out of His holy hill.
    I laid me down and slept;
    I awaked; for the Lord sustained me.
    I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people,
    That have set themselves against me round about.
    Psalm 3:1-6
    EP 538.3

    David and all his company, in the darkness of night, crossed the deep, swift-flowing river. “By the morning light there lacked not one of them that was not gone over Jordan.”EP 538.4

    David and his forces fell back to Mahanaim, which had been the royal seat of Ishbosheth, a strongly fortified city surrounded by a mountainous district favorable for retreat in case of war. The country was well-provisioned and the people were friendly to David.EP 538.5

    Absalom, the rash and impetuous prince, soon set out in pursuit of his father. His army was large, but it was undisciplined and poorly prepared to cope with the tried soldiers of his father.EP 539.1

    David divided his forces into three battalions under the command of Joab, Abishai, and Ittai.EP 539.2

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