near; timely; or, with the Lord. (1.) A Benjamite, one of David's thirty heroes (2Sa 23:29).
(2.) A native of Gath, a Philistine, who had apparently the command of the six hundred heroes who formed David's band during his wanderings (2Sa 15:19-22; comp. 1Sa 23:13; 27:2; 30:9-10). He is afterwards with David at Mahanaim, holding in the army equal rank with Joab and Abishai (2Sa 18:2,5,12). He then passes from view.
1. "The Gittite" of the Philistine Gath. Last in the host that defiled past David, while standing beneath the olive tree below Jerusalem (2Sa 15:18, Septuagint) on the morning of his flight from Absalom, were 600 Gathites who had emigrated with him to Gath (1Sa 27:2-3,8; 30:9-10), and returned thence. Possibly vacancies in the body had been filled up with men of Gath, who had joined him with Ittai their countryman. This accounts for the command being given to a Gittite, Ittai, which would be strange if he had no tie of connection with the 600 veterans of the body guard (1Sa 30:2, where Ittai appears in command of a third of the army). The reading gibowrim (heroes) for Gittim, "Gittites," is therefore needless.
David with characteristic generosity said to Ittai: "Wherefore goest thou also with me? return to thy place, and abide with the king (not that David recognizes Absalom as king, but he means 'with whoever shall prove king,' with the king de facto; whether he be rightful king you as a recent settler here are not called on to decide), for thou art a stranger (not an Israelite) and also an exile (not yet having a fixed fatherland) ... Seeing I go whither I may (not yet knowing where it shall be: 1Sa 23:13) ... return and take back thy brethren," implying that Ittai as a Philistine general brought with him a body of his fellow countrymen. Ittai with unflinching loyalty, which David's misfortunes could not shake, replied: "As the Lord liveth ... surely in what place my lord the king shall be, whether in death or life, even there also will thy servant ("slave"; Hebrew) be."
So David desired him to pass forward over the Kedron, and Ittai the Gittite, and all his men, and all the little ones with him (for he and his men brought their whole families: 1Sa 27:3; 30:3,6), passed on. His resolution foreshadows the like resolution, though not so faithfully kept, of the disciples of the Son of David almost on the same spot (Mt 26:30,35). At the battle of Mahunaim Ittai had equal rank with Joab and Abishai (2Sa 18:2,5,12). Ittai typifies the gospel truth that from the Gentile world some of the most devoted heroes of the cross should join the Son of David, and so share in His triumphs (Mr 10:29-30; Mt 8:11-12).
1. A Gittite leader who, with a following of six hundred Philistines, attached himself to David at the outbreak of Absalom's rebellion. In spite of being urged by David to return to his home, he determined to follow the king in his misfortune, affirming his faithfulness in the beautiful words: 'As the Lord liveth, and as my lord the king liveth, surely in what place my lord the king shall be, whether for death or for life, even there also will thy servant be' (2Sa 15:21). He therefore remained in the service of David, and soon rose to a position of great trust, being placed in command of a third part of the people (2Sa 18:2). 2. A Benjamite, son of Ribai, who was one of David's mighty men (2Sa 23:29; 1Ch 11:31 [in the latter Ithai]).
W. O. E. Oesterley.
1. A Philistine of Gath, head of a portion of David's guard. He was faithful to David at the revolt of Absalom, returned with the king, and had a command in his army. 5/19/type/leb'>2Sa 15:19-22; 18:2,5,12. He illustrates how Gentiles will be associated with the remnant of Israel, both in the sufferings and reign of their Messiah, and serve Him in a future day.
(with the Lord).
1. "Ittai the Gittite," i.e. the native of Gath, a Philistine in the army of King David. He appears only during the revolution of Absalom. (B.C. 1023.) We first discern him on the morning of David's flight. The king urges him to return.
Comp. 1Sam 23:13; 27:2; 30:9,10,19,20 But ittai is firm; he is the king's slave, and wherever his master goes he will go. Accordingly he is allowed by David to proceed. When the army was numbered and organized by David at Mahanaim, Ittai again appears, now in command of a third part of the force.
2. Son of Ribai, from Gibeah of Benjamin; one of the thirty heroes of David's guard.