The king set out, with his entire household following him; but he left ten concubines1 to take care of the palace.
So the king set out, with all the people following him, and they halted at a place some distance away.
All his men marched past him, along with all the Kerethites2 and Pelethites; and all the six hundred Gittites who had accompanied him from Gath marched before the king.
The king said to Ittai3 the Gittite, "Why should you come along with us? Go back and stay with King Absalom. You are a foreigner,4 an exile from your homeland.
You came only yesterday. And today shall I make you wander5 about with us, when I do not know where I am going? Go back, and take your countrymen. May kindness and faithfulness6 be with you."
But Ittai replied to the king, "As surely as the LORD lives, and as my lord the king lives, wherever my lord the king may be, whether it means life or death, there will your servant be."722
David said to Ittai, "Go ahead, march on." So Ittai the Gittite marched on with all his men and the families that were with him.
The whole countryside wept aloud8 as all the people passed by. The king also crossed the Kidron Valley,910 and all the people moved on toward the desert.
Zadok11 was there, too, and all the Levites who were with him were carrying the ark12 of the covenant of God. They set down the ark of God, and Abiathar13 offered sacrificesa until all the people had finished leaving the city.
Then the king said to Zadok, "Take the ark of God back into the city. If I find favor in the LORD's eyes, he will bring me back and let me see it and his dwelling place14 again.
But if he says, 'I am not pleased with you,' then I am ready; let him do to me whatever seems good to him.15"