2 Samuel 15:20
Whereas you came but yesterday, should I this day make you go up and down with us? seeing I go where I may, return you, and take back your brothers: mercy and truth be with you.
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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.Thou camest but yesterday - Meaning, "Thou art not a native Israelite, but only a sojourner for a few years, it is not reason therefore that thou shouldst share my calamities. Return to thy place, thy adopted home Jerusalem, and to the king, Absalom" 2 Samuel 15:34-35. 18-20. all the Gittites, six hundred men—These were a body of foreign guards, natives of Gath, whom David, when in the country of the Philistines, had enlisted in his service, and kept around his person. Addressing their commander, Ittai, he made a searching trial of their fidelity in bidding them (2Sa 15:19) abide with the new king. Thou camest but yesterday; by which it may be gathered that these were not the Israelitish soldiers which went with David to Gath, and came up with him from thence to Hebron, which was above thirty years before this time, but some proselytes which came from thence more lately. For though this word

yesterday be sometimes used of a time long before past, as @2Ki 9:26 Job 8:9 Isaiah 30:33; yet it seems to be here restrained to a shorter compass by the following words, and by the argument here used.

Go whither I may; I know not whither; having now no certain dwelling-place.

Thy brethren; thy countrymen and soldiers the Gittites, 2 Samuel 15:18.

Mercy and truth be with thee; since I am now unable to recompense thy kindness and fidelity to me, my hearty prayer to God is, that he would show to thee his mercy, in blessing thee with all sorts of blessings, and his faithfulness, in making good all those promises which he hath made, not to Israelites only, but in and with them to all true-hearted proselytes, such as thou art. Whereas thou camest but yesterday,.... From Gath, or from an expedition he and his men had been on:

should I this day make thee, go up and down with us? wander up and down from place to place with David, when he was but just come off a journey, weary and fatigued:

seeing I go whither I may; where it will be most safe for me, I know not where; may be obliged to flee here and there, which would be very inconvenient to Ittai in his circumstances:

return thou, and take back thy brethren; the six hundred men under him, and whom David could ill spare at this time, and yet, consulting their ease, advises to return to Jerusalem with them:

mercy and truth be with thee; the Lord show mercy and kindness to thee, in that thou hast shown favour and respect to me, and make good all his promises to thee, who hast been true and faithful to me.

Whereas thou camest but yesterday, should I this day make thee go up and down with us? seeing I go whither I may, return thou, and take back thy {m} brethren: mercy and {n} truth be with thee.

(m) Meaning, those of his family.

(n) God require of you your friendship and fidelity.

20. I go whither I may] Not knowing where he might find a home, as in the old days of his flight from Saul. Cp. 1 Samuel 23:13.

take back thy brethren: mercy and truth be with thee] The Hebrew as it stands must be rendered: take back thy brethren with thee in mercy and truth: but the true text is probably preserved by the Sept. and Vulg. Take back thy brethren with thee: and the Lord shew thee [or, shall shew thee] mercy and truth: to which some texts of the Vulg. add: because thou hast shewn kindness and faithfulness. Cp. ch. 2 Samuel 2:5-6.David's flight from Jerusalem. - 2 Samuel 15:13, 2 Samuel 15:14. When this intelligence reached David, "The heart of the men of Israel is after Absalom" (אהר היה, as in 2 Samuel 2:10, to be attached to a person as king; see at 1 Samuel 12:14), he said to his servants that were with him in Jerusalem, "Arise, let us flee, for there will be no escape for us from Absalom! Make speed to depart, lest he overtake us suddenly, and drive the calamity (the judgment threatened in 2 Samuel 12:10-11) over us, and smite the city with the edge of the sword." David was perhaps afraid that Jerusalem might fall into Absalom's power through treachery, and therefore resolved to fly as speedily as possible, not only in order to prevent a terrible massacre, but also to give his own faithful adherents time to assemble.
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