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Hushai the Archite

HUSHAI THE ARCHITE (Heb. חוּשַׁי הָאַרְכִּי), biblical figure listed in I Chronicles 27:33 as holding the office of "the king's friend" under David. In II Samuel 15:37; 16:17 he is referred to as "David's friend." Hushai figures prominently in the story of the rebellion of *Absalom. At the time of David's flight from Jerusalem, Hushai, deeply grieved and wearing the traditional rent garments and ashes, sought to join David's company on The Mount of Olives, to which they had fled when Jerusalem's capitulation to Absalom appeared inevitable. David, however, persuaded Hushai to return and offer his allegiance to Absalom, so that he might defeat the counsels of *Ahithophel, David's adviser, and that he might supply information to David (II Sam. 15:32–37). Hushai, accepted as a loyal adviser by Absalom, successfully opposed Ahithophel's plan to pursue and attack David immediately, proposing instead that Absalom mass his forces and attack David in person. Having thus afforded David time to escape, Hushai sent word to David through his couriers, the sons of the priests *Abiathar and *Zadok, to cross the Jordan immediately (II Sam. 17:5–16). Although no more is heard of Hushai himself, Baana son of Hushai, one of the prefects of Solomon listed in I Kings 4:16, is probably his son.

The term "the Archite" indicates that Hushai belongs to the clan named in Joshua 16:2–3 as dwelling in the vicinity of Ataroth, on the border between Ephraim and Benjamin. The name Hushai itself is most probably a short form of the name Ahishai, Ahushai.


de Vaux, Anc Isr, 122–3; idem, in: RB, 48 (1939), 403–5; van Selms, in: JNES, 16 (1957), 118–23; Albright, in: JBL, 58 (1939), 179–80; Dupont-Sommer, in: Syria, 24 (1944–45), 42 (Fr.); Donner, in: ZAW, 73 (1961), 269–77. ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: N. Fox, In the Service of the King (2000), 121–28.

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2007 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.