Catholic Encyclopedia (1913)/Chusai

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The Arachite, i.e. the native of Archi, a place south of the portion of Ephraim, near Bethel (Jos., xvi, 2). He is called in I Par. xxvii, 33. "the king's friend". This title is given him as that of counsellor is given to Achitophel, or that of leader of the army to Joab. We see a like use of the term in III K., IV, 5. In the Books of Machabees it is an official title given by the Seleucides to persons of confidence who have important military or civil functions (I Mach., ii, 18, iii, 38, vi, 10, 14, 28 vii, 6-8, etc.). It is likely then, that Chusai's title of "friend" of King David does not imply the intimate relations suggested by the term, but the account that is given of him during Absalom's rebellion (II K., xv-xvii) shows that in his case the title was not merely official. Just after David has heard of the treason of Achitophel, he is met, on his way up the Mount of Olives, by Chusai, his garments rent and his head covered with dust. He is probably an old man, for David tells him he would be a burden in the flight; but the king does honour to his cleverness by sending him to Jerusalem to "defeat the counsel of Achitophel". Chusai persuades Absalom to take him into his confidence, and, in the council held shortly afterwards in regard to the measures to be taken against David, he obtains a delay which secured the safety of the king. He is able likewise to convey information to David through Sadoc, Abiathar, and their sons. It may be questioned how far Chusai's conduct can be justified even according to the ethics of war. Scripture relates his conduct, without approving it.

W.S. REILLY