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 Then David mustered the men who were with him and set over them commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds.  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.”  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.”  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.  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.
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
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