|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
15:13-23 David determined to quit Jerusalem. He took this resolve, as a penitent submitting to the rod. Before unrighteous Absalom he could justify himself, and stand out; but before the righteous God he must condemn himself, and yield to his judgments. Thus he accepts the punishment of his sin. And good men, when they themselves suffer, are anxious that others should not be led to suffer with them. He compelled none; those whose hearts were with Absalom, to Absalom let them go, and so shall their doom be. Thus Christ enlists none but willing followers. David cannot bear to think that Ittai, a stranger and an exile, a proselyte and a new convert, who ought to be encouraged and made easy, should meet with hard usage. But such value has Ittai for David's wisdom and goodness, that he will not leave him. He is a friend indeed, who loves at all times, and will adhere to us in adversity. Let us cleave to the Son of David, with full purpose of heart, and neither life nor death shall separate us from his love.
Verse 19. - Ittai the Gittite. Ittai was not one of the six hundred, though there was an Ittai among them, a Benjamite. He was a citizen of Gath, who had lately come ("yesterday," see ver. 20), with all his household of slaves and dependents, his clan, Hebrew, his taf - translated in ver. 22 his "little ones." He had evidently been a person of importance in his own country, whence he had been driven, perhaps by political troubles, and was now, therefore, an exile and a foreigner (Authorized Version, "stranger") at Jerusalem. As David made him joint commander of his army with Joab and Abishai (2 Samuel 18:2), he must also have been a general of recognized military skill. As he was thus not personally interested in the government of Israel, and, in fact, had only lately come thither, David recommends him to return... and abide with the king, that is, with the de facto king, Absalom. But so great was the fascination which David exercised upon those around him, that this foreigner boldly threw in his lot with him, and accompanied him in his flight. Return to thy place. This is a very daring transposition, as the Hebrew is, Return and abide with the king; for thou art a foreigner, and also an exile art thou to thy place. The Revised Version gives the same sense as the Authorized, though it shows more respect to the grammar. But the Septuagint, Syriac, and Vulgate, by "his own place" understand Gath, either taking the words as meaning "an exile as to thy own place," or having a different reading. The Hebrew then proceeds, Yesterday was thy coming, and shall 1 today make thee wander to go with us, seeing I go whither I go? that is, I go I know not whither. Return thou, and take back thy brethren - in mercy and truth. This gives a very good sense, but the Septuagint and Vulgate have a different reading: "Take back thy brethren with thee, and the Lord chew thee mercy and truth." The Syriac gives the genera] sense of the Hebrew, rendering, "Take back thy brethren well."
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Then said the king to Ittai the Gittite,.... Who was over the band of Gittites, the six hundred men, 2 Samuel 15:22,
wherefore goest thou also with us? one should think the king should not have discouraged any from joining and following him, when his numbers were not very large, and the in such fear on account of Absalom:
return to this place; to Jerusalem, where his station was:
and abide with the king; with Absalom, who set himself up for king, and whom the people perhaps had proclaimed as such in Hebron, where the conspiracy began:
for thou art a stranger, and also an exile; not a native of Israel, but of another nation, and at a distance from it, and therefore not altogether under the same obligations to attend David in his troubles as others were; and by this it seems that he was a Gittite by nation, whatever the six hundred men were, and rather favours the first sense given of them in 2 Samuel 15:18.
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