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 (2Sa 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 (2Sa 23:29; 1Ch 11:31, "Ithai").
J. J. Reeve