From BiblePortal Wikipedia

Fausset's Bible Dictionary [1]

1. "The Gittite" of the Philistine Gath. Last in the host that defiled past David, while standing beneath the olive tree below Jerusalem ( 2 Samuel 15:18, Septuagint) on the morning of his flight from Absalom, were 600 Gathites who had emigrated with him to Gath ( 1 Samuel 27:2-3;  1 Samuel 27:8;  1 Samuel 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 ( 1 Samuel 30:18:2, 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:  1 Samuel 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:  1 Samuel 27:3;  1 Samuel 30:3;  1 Samuel 30:6), 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 ( Matthew 26:30;  Matthew 26:35). At the battle of Mahunaim Ittai had equal rank with Joab and Abishai ( 2 Samuel 18:2;  2 Samuel 18:5;  2 Samuel 18:12). 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 ( Mark 10:29-30;  Matthew 8:11-12).

2. Ittai or Ithai, of the heroes of David's body guard; from the Benjamite Gibeah, son of Ribai ( 2 Samuel 23:29;  1 Chronicles 11:31).

Smith's Bible Dictionary [2]

It'ta-i. (With The Lord).

1. "Ittai, the Gittite," that is, 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,  2 Samuel 15:18-19, compare  1 Samuel 23:13;  1 Samuel 27:2;  1 Samuel 30:9-10;  1 Samuel 30:19-20, 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 Samuel 18:2;  2 Samuel 18:5;  2 Samuel 18:12.

2. Son of Ribai, from Gibeah of Benjamin; one of the thirty heroes of David's guard.  2 Samuel 23:29.

Easton's Bible Dictionary [3]

  • A native of Gath, a Philistine, who had apparently the command of the six hundred heroes who formed David's band during his wanderings ( 2 Samuel 15:19-22; Compare  1 Samuel 23:13;  27:2;  30:9,10 ). He is afterwards with David at Mahanaim, holding in the army equal rank with Joab and Abishai ( 2 Samuel 18:2,5,12 ). He then passes from view.

    Copyright Statement These dictionary topics are from M.G. Easton M.A., DD Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Third Edition, published by Thomas Nelson, 1897. Public Domain.

    Bibliography Information Easton, Matthew George. Entry for 'Ittai'. Easton's Bible Dictionary. 1897.

  • Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [4]

    ITTAI. 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’ (  2 Samuel 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 (  2 Samuel 18:2 ). 2. A Benjamite, son of Ribai, who was one of David’s mighty men (  2 Samuel 23:29 ,   1 Chronicles 11:31 [in the latter Ithai ]).

    W. O. E. Oesterley.

    Morrish Bible Dictionary [5]

    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.  2 Samuel 15:19-22;  2 Samuel 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.

    2. Son of Ribai a Benjamite, and one of David's mighty men.  2 Samuel 23:29 . Called ITHAI in  1 Chronicles 11:31 .

    Holman Bible Dictionary [6]

     2 Samuel 15:19-22 2 Samuel 18:2 2 Samuel 23:29 1 Chronicles 11:31

    Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [7]

    (Heb. Ittay', אַתִּי , perh. Szea. or Timely, other Wise Possessor), the name of two men.

    1. (Sept. Ε᾿Σθαϊ v .) Son of Ribai, a Benjamite of Gibeah, one of David's thirty heroes ( 2 Samuel 23:29), called in the parallel passage ( 1 Chronicles 11:31) ITHAI (Heb. Ithaly, אַיתִי , a fuller form; Sept. ᾿Ηθού ). B.C. 1046.

    2. (Sept. Ε᾿Θί [and so Josephus] v.r. Ε᾿Θθεί ). "Ittai The Gittite' i.e. the native of Gath, a Philistine in the army of king David. He appears only during the rebellion of Absalom, B.C. cir. 1023. We first discern him on the morning of David's flight, while the king was standing under the olive-tree, below the city, watching the army and the people defile past him. (See David). Last in the procession came the 600 heroes who had formed David's band during his wanderings in Judah, and who had been with him at Gath ( 2 Samuel 15:18; comp.  1 Samuel 23:13;  1 Samuel 27:2;  1 Samuel 30:9-10; and Josephus, Ant. 7:9. 2). Among these, apparently commanding them, was Ittai the Gittite ( 2 Samuel 5:19). He caught the eye of the king, who at once addressed him and besought him as "a stranger and an exile," and, as one who had but very recently joined his service, not to attach himself to a doubtful cause, but to return "with his brethren" and abide with the king (5. 19,20). But Ittai is firm; he is the king's slave ( עֶבֶד , A.V. "servant"), and wherever his master goes he will go. Accordingly, he is allowed by David to proceed, and he passes over the Kedron with the king (xv, 22, Sept.), with all his men, and "all the little ones that were with him." These"' little ones" ( כָּלאּהִטִּ , "all the children") must have been the families of the band-their "households" ( 1 Samuel 27:3). They accompanied them during their wanderings in Judah, often at great risk ( 1 Samuel 30:6), and they were not likely to leave them behind in this fresh commencement of their wandering life.

    When the army was numbered and organized by David at Mahanaim, Ittai again appears, now in command of a third part of the force, and (for the time at least) enjoying equal rank with Joab and Abishai ( 2 Samuel 18:2;  2 Samuel 18:5;  2 Samuel 18:12). But here, on the eve of the great battle, we take leave of this valiant and faithful stranger; his conduct in the fight and his subsequent fate are alike unknown to us. Nor is he mentioned in the lists of David's captains and of the heroes of his body-guard (see 2 Samuel 23; 2 Samuel 1 Chronicles 11), lists which are possibly of a date previous to Ittai's arrival in Jerusalem.

    An interesting tradition is related by Jerome (Quaest. Hebr. on  1 Chronicles 20:2). "David took the crown off the head of the image of Milcom (A.V. their king'). But, by the law, it was forbidden to any Israelite to touch either gold or silver of an idol. Wherefore they say that Ittai the Gittite, who had come to David from the Philistines, was the man who snatched the crown from the head of Milcom; for it was lawful for a Hebrew to take it from the hand of a man, though not from the head of the idol." The main difficulty to the reception of this legend lies in the fact that if Ittai was engaged in the Ammonitish war, which happened several years before Absalom's revolt, the expression of David ( 2 Samuel 15:20), "thou camest but yesterday," loses its force. However, these words may be merely a strong metaphor.

    From the expression "thy brethren" (15:20) we may infer that there were other Philistines besides Ittai in the six hundred; but this is uncertain. Ittai was not exclusively a Philistine name, nor does "Gittite" as in the case of Obed-edom, who was a Levite necessarily imply Philistine parentage. Still David's words, "stranger and exile," seem to show that he was not an Israelite. Smith. Others, however, have hazarded the supposition that this Ittai is the same as the preceding, having been called a Gittite as a native of Gittaim, in Benjamin ( 2 Samuel 4:3). and a "stranger and an exile" as a Gibeonite, who, having fled from Beeroth, a Gibeonitish town ( Joshua 9:17), had, with his brethren, taken up his residence in Gittaim. All this. is very improbable. (See Gittite).

    International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [8]

    it´ā̇ - ı̄ , it´ı̄ ( אתּי , 'ittay , איתי , 'ithay ):

    (1) A G ittite or native of Gath, one of David's chief captains and most faithful friends during the rebellion of Absalom ( 2 Samuel 15:11-22;  2 Samuel 18:2 ,  2 Samuel 18:4 ,  2 Samuel 18:12 ). The narrative reveals David's chivalrous and unselfish spirit in time of trouble, as well as the most self-sacrificing loyalty on the part of Ittai. He seems to have but recently left his native city and joined David's army through personal attachment to the king. David rapidly promoted him. Hearing of Absalom's rebellion and approach to Jerusalem, he flees with David. The latter remonstrates, urges him to go back and join Absalom, as he is a foreigner and in exile. His interests are in the capital and with the king; there is no reason why he should be a fugitive and perhaps suffer the loss of everything; it would be better for him, with his band of men, to put himself and them at the service of Absalom, the new king. "Mercy and truth be with thee," says David in his magnanimity. Ittai, with a double oath, absolutely refuses to go back, but will stand by David until the last. Remonstrance being useless, the monarch orders him across the river, doubtless glad that he had such a doughty warrior and faithful friend by his side. On mustering his hosts to meet Absalom, David makes Ittai a chief captain with the intrepid Joab and Abishai. He doubtless did his part in the battle, and as nothing more is said of him it is possible that he fell in the fight.

    (2) A B enjamite, one of David's 30 mighty men ( 2 Samuel 23:29;  1 Chronicles 11:31 , "Ithai").