Ittai [N] [S]

near; timely; or, with the Lord.

  • A Benjamite, one of David's thirty heroes ( 2 Samuel 23:29 ).

  • 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 ; 1 Samuel 30:9 1 Samuel 30:10 ). He is afterwards with David at Mahanaim, holding in the army equal rank with Joab and Abishai ( 2 Samuel 18:2 2 Samuel 18:5 2 Samuel 18:12 ). He then passes from view.

    These dictionary topics are from
    M.G. Easton M.A., D.D., Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Third Edition,
    published by Thomas Nelson, 1897. Public Domain, copy freely.

    [N] indicates this entry was also found in Nave's Topical Bible
    [S] indicates this entry was also found in Smith's Bible Dictionary

    Bibliography Information

    Easton, Matthew George. "Entry for Ittai". "Easton's Bible Dictionary". .


    it'-a-i, it'-i ('ittay, 'ithay):

    (1) A Gittite or native of Gath, one of David's chief captains and most faithful friends during the rebellion of Absalom (2 Samuel 15:11-22; 18:2,4,12). 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 Benjamite, one of David's 30 mighty men (2 Samuel 23:29; 1 Chronicles 11:31, "Ithai").

    J. J. Reeve

    Copyright Statement
    These files are public domain.

    Bibliography Information
    Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. "Entry for 'ITTAI'". "International Standard Bible Encyclopedia". 1915.