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Daily Bible Readings

Welcome, Foreigner that is Loyal to the King

Posted by Dan Sullivan on with 1 Comments

[1] Then David mustered the men who were with him and set over them commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds. [2] And David sent out the army, one third under the command of Joab, one third under the command of Abishai the son of Zeruiah, Joab’s brother, and one third under the command of Ittai the Gittite. And the king said to the men, “I myself will also go out with you.” [3] But the men said, “You shall not go out. For if we flee, they will not care about us. If half of us die, they will not care about us. But you are worth ten thousand of us. Therefore it is better that you send us help from the city.” [4] The king said to them, “Whatever seems best to you I will do.” So the king stood at the side of the gate, while all the army marched out by hundreds and by thousands. [5] And the king ordered Joab and Abishai and Ittai, “Deal gently for my sake with the young man Absalom.” And all the people heard when the king gave orders to all the commanders about Absalom.

2 Samuel 2 Samuel 18:1–5 ESV Read More

A full-blown civil war has broken out as Absalom tries to take the kingdom of Israel by force from his father, King David. As you read about the army that David forms, you might recognize some names. He splits his army into three parts, each led by a lead warrior.

Joab is one of three brothers that were bad bad dudes. They were up part of David’s ‘Mighty Men’ and there were legends about their fighting ability even while they were still alive. He led David’s army many times against foreign enemies and always came back victorious. 

Abishai is Joab’s last surviving brother. You might remember him as the guy that killed 300 men single-handedly or the guy that was whisper-fighting with King David in Saul’s tent. He was the “I can kill him with a single hit!” guy.

Last but not least is the record scratch guy. Ittai the Gittite just joined David the day before they fled Jerusalem. He’s only been around for a few days, and now he is leading an army?! Ittai has sworn allegiance to David deep enough that he is trusted. Pragmatically speaking, he had an entire house and people with him when he came, so he could be leading them, but the fact that they are also going to fight for David says something too. 

At the end of the battle, we don’t hear anything about Ittai but we hear about how Joab didn’t follow King David’s instructions about Absalom. It goes to show that there is experience and there is loyalty, and they don’t always go together. 

The commissioning of Ittai also fits into the bigger Biblical picture of God calling people from all nations to be a part of His family. Remember a Gittite is a person from Gath, home of Goliath. For David to welcome a Gittite shows that he is not bitter towards foreigners. David even lived with them in Gath for a while and may have met Ittai there (we don’t know). David, like the Lord, didn’t let someone’s beginnings affect where they would end up. From Gath to exile into Israel, and now fighting as a leader of the King’s army, Ittai had a gracefully successful path. 

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Tags: community, grace, loyalty, racism, team, trust


Jason McCord August 16, 2017 8:22am

David was no dummy when it came to war apparently. I don't know how he could have let 600 men strong from Gath come into the fold of his army. Hearing the countryside sobbing through the Kidron Valley, most likely upset with the choice of warriors that he associated with to make the march.
I would like to know how the troops responded to David when he tapped Ittai for a commander as well?
This battle that was to ensue was so emotionally driven I don't know how anyone wasn't sobbing!