Useful Bible Studies > 2 Samuel Commentary > chapter 15

Ittai the Gittite

2 Samuel 15:19-20

Ittai and the men who supported him were not from Israel. They were Gittites, soldiers from Gath in Philistia, where David had formerly lived. When David became king, they came to Israel in order to support his government. They had learned from David about the real God; they wanted to help David to establish a good and right government over Israel.

Now, however, David’s rule over Israel seemed to have ended. His son Absalom had popular support, and he was coming to take control over Jerusalem. Absalom was not a good man, but he clearly had authority over Israel now.

So, David urged Ittai and the soldiers whom he led, to return, with their families to Jerusalem. Absalom would be pleased to have such a capable group of soldiers to support his new government.

In David’s opinion, Ittai had only left Jerusalem because he wanted to help David, as a friend. David did not want to use their friendship as a reason to demand Ittai’s help. If Ittai came with David, Ittai would be risking his life, and the lives of his soldiers. In addition, Ittai had a comfortable home in Jerusalem. If he remained with David, he and his family would wander in the desert without a home.

David insisted that he would always consider Ittai to be a true friend. Ittai should accept that circumstances in Israel had changed. David did not want to put Ittai, his soldiers, or their families in danger. So, he blessed them as he sent them away. He asked God always to show them his (God’s) goodness and kindness. It was hard to send a friend away in such circumstances; but David was sure that it was the right thing to do.

Next part: Ittai declares his support for David (2 Samuel 15:21)


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