Verses 15-21 (2 Samuel 17:15-21)

We must now leave David?s enemies pleasing themselves with the thoughts of a sure victory by following Hushai?s counsel, and sending a summons, no doubt, to all the tribes of Israel, to come to the general rendezvous at a place appointed, pursuant to that counsel; and we next find David?s friends consulting how to get him notice of all this, that he might steer his course accordingly. Hushai tells the priests what had passed in council, 2 Sam. 17:15. But, it should seem, he was not sure but that yet Ahithophel?s counsel might be followed, and was therefore jealous lest, if he made not the best of his way, the king would be swallowed up, and all the people that were with him, 2 Sam. 17:16. Perhaps, as he was called in to give advice (2 Sam. 17:5), so he was dismissed before they came to that resolve (2 Sam. 17:14) in favour of his advice, or he feared they might afterwards change their mind. However, it was good to provide against the worst, and therefore to hasten those valuable lives out of the reach of these destroyers. Such strict guards did Absalom set upon all the avenues to Jerusalem that they had much ado to get this necessary intelligence to David. 1. The young priests that were to be the messengers were forced to retire secretly out of the city, by En-rogel, which signifies, as some say, the fountain of a spy. Surely it went ill with Jerusalem when two such faithful priests as they were might not be seen to come into the city. 2. Instructions were sent to them by a poor simple young woman, who probably went to that well under pretence of fetching water, 2 Sam. 17:17. If she carried the message by word of mouth, there was danger of her making some mistake or blunder in it; but Providence can make an ignorant girl a trusty messenger, and serve its wise counsels by the foolish things of the world. 3. Yet, by the vigilance of Absalom?s spies, they were discovered, and information was brought to Absalom of their motions: A lad saw them and told him, 2 Sam. 17:18. 4. They, being aware that they were discovered, sheltered themselves in a friend?s house in Bahurim, where David had refreshed himself but just before, 2 Sam. 16:14. There they were happily hidden in a well, which now, in summer time, perhaps was dry, 2 Sam. 17:18. The woman of the house very ingeniously covered the mouth of the well with a cloth, on which she spread corn to dry, so that the pursuers were not aware that there was a well; else they would have searched it, 2 Sam. 17:19. Thus far the woman did well; but we know not how to justify her further concealing them with a lie, 2 Sam. 17:20. We must not do evil that good may come of it. However, hereby the messengers were protected, and the pursuers were defeated and returned to Absalom without their prey. It was well that Absalom did not hereupon fall upon their two fathers, Zadok and Abiathar, as Saul on Ahimelech for his kindness to David: but God restrained him. Being thus preserved, they brought their intelligence very faithfully to David (2 Sam. 17:21), with this advice of his friends, that he should not delay to pass over Jordan, near to which, it seems, he now was. There, as some think, he penned the Ps. 42:1-11; Ps. 43:1-5, looking back upon Jerusalem from the land of Jordan, Ps. 42:6.

- Matthew Henry's Complete Commentary