I’m excited to welcome my friend and fellow author, Barbara M. Britton, back to Romancing History today. I’ve read and reviewed several of Barb’s books including her most recent release, Defending David. Barb has a gift for finding little known Biblical characters and fleshing out their stories with authentic dialogue and historical accuracy. Her stories are both action-packed and insightful and there’s usually a sweet romance as well.
Whether you’ve never had an opportunity to read one of Barb’s novels or you’re a die hard fan, make sure to visit the Giveaway section at the bottom of this post to enter the drawing for a signed print copy of Defending David.
Today, Barb is going to share some practical faith lessons we can learn from the story of Ittai and King David.
About the Book
When a quiet journey to Jerusalem turns tragic, newly orphaned Rimona must flee a kinsman set on selling her as a slave. Racing into the rocky hills outside of Hebron, Rimona is rescued by a Philistine commander journeying to Jerusalem with six-hundred warriors.
Exiled commander, Ittai the Gittite, is seeking refuge in the City of David. Protecting a frantic Hebrew woman is not in his leadership plan. Although, having a nobleman’s niece in his caravan might prove useful for finding shelter in a foreign land.
Rimona and Ittai arrive in Jerusalem on the eve of a rebellion. In the chaos of an heir’s betrayal, will they be separated forever, or can they defend King David and help the aging monarch control his rebellious son?
Faith Among the Faithless
by Barbara M. Britton
My latest work of Biblical Fiction follows a little-known Bible character named Ittai the Gittite. Several readers have told me that they believed Ittai was created by my imagination, but Ittai is a historic Bible hero. A man that the world needs to discover.
Ittai is a Philistine from the warring neighbor of Israel. If you have read the Old Testament, you know that Israel and Philistia battled for hundreds of years. The restless Philistines worshiped idols while Israel followed the One True God.
When I discovered Ittai in II Samuel, chapter fifteen, I laughed. God must have a sense of humor. As a boy, David killed the Philistine giant Goliath with a sling and a stone. As a king, when David’s son was trying to kill him, God sent David a Philistine giant to protect him. Does this seem odd to you? If it does, wait until you hear Ittai speak.
As King David is fleeing his palace barefoot because his life is in peril, Ittai the Gittite appears and pledges his support to the beleaguered king. Ittai is not alone. He arrives with six-hundred Philistine warriors. Quite the gift when you need to form an army. Here’s my first surprise in this story. King David tries to send Ittai and his soldiers away and the king even suggests they fight for his rebellious son, Absalom. I want to shake David and yell, “Snap out of it.” Ittai has better words. Words that are shocking and inspiring.
Here is Ittai’s pledge from II Samuel 15:2.
Ittai replied to the king, “As surely as the Lord lives,”
Did you catch the capitalization of Lord? The first words out of Ittai’s mouth praise the Living God. The God of Israel. This is extraordinary to hear this praise from a Philistine.
And as my lord the king lives,
Whoa. They have a king in Gath where Ittai is from, but Ittai pledges alliance to King David—with a little l. Is this love of God and David why Ittai was exiled? We are never told in Scripture why Ittai was banished from Philistia.
wherever my lord the king may be, whether it means life or death,
Following King David and the One True God is going to cost Ittai something. He will need to fight and kill and possibly be killed. The road ahead is difficult, but Ittai is willing to make that sacrifice for his beliefs.
there will your servant be.
What does Ittai call himself? Not commander, or warrior, or friend. He calls himself a servant. I was stunned. In the 21st century, do we have the same commitment to God as an exile named Ittai? How could we change the world if the first words out of our mouths were about Jesus and His unfailing love? What if we were willing to share God’s love with the world even if it was going to cost us something? Something substantial like our lives?
With Ittai, we see faith in action. He is using the gifts God gave him to serve God and God’s anointed king.
Are we using our gifts in 2022 to expand God’s kingdom?
One verse in II Samuel sets a challenge before believers thousands of years after it was written. Ittai lived the Great Commission before Jesus stepped into time, lived a perfect life, died on a cross, and conquered death, so we could spend eternity worshiping God.
You can see why I had to bring Ittai into the spotlight to encourage fellow Christians and those who don’t have a faith in God. Ittai is a true hero. He is willing to use his talents to help a friend, and willing to serve God, all the while knowing it may not end well.
And whose parents came from the line of King David? Mary, the mother of Jesus, and Jesus’s stepfather Joseph, both come from the line of King David.
Ittai is a faithful friend to King David, but Jesus is our faithful forever friend, Lord, and Savior.
When King David needed an inspiring pep talk about God, The One True God sent him an exiled Philistine ready to be a witness and encouraging messenger.
Can I get an Amen!
May you go forth with God today and share about His love with the boldness of an exiled Philistine commander.
Excerpt from Defending David
Another pep talk that Ittai gives King David after the rebellion.
“Your sons have failed you.” Ittai choked back tears. What he wouldn’t have given for a father like David. “Your sons knew the laws of God, of God’s justice. They failed to let God be God.”
“Oh, Ittai. Why couldn’t I be that raider of Ziklag that you remember so well? One who rights wrongs and is feared by men because God rests at his side?”
Hamuran was right. Ittai was not good with words. How did one comfort a warrior king who fought champions and claimed victory? He would tell the truth and share the knowledge in his heart.
“You are the raider of Ziklag, and you will always be that man to me.” Ittai’s throat grew as thick as the reeds along the bank. “You lead a nation in worship of the One True God. Your words and deeds brought that God into my life. Look at the forgiveness you extended to Absalom after his sin. A sin against you and against God.” Ittai stood and brushed the mud from his knee. The raven darted to the other side of the Jordan. “God has brought us this far even with Absalom and Ahithophel aligned against us. If God desired your death, it would have happened in Jerusalem, and you wouldn’t be sitting under an oak with a smelly exile like me. Your son is the man who must answer to God for his actions. I must answer to God as well. And I will not explain to God how I let a traitor kill a man after God’s own heart.”
David rose and laid a hand on Ittai’s bronze-studded breastplate. “Don’t flatter me. I am not the raider of Ziklag at the moment.”
“No, you’re not. Aren’t we going to Mahanaim?” Ittai grinned through unstable lips. “You are the gray haired, disheveled raider of Mahanaim, who needs a dunk in the river.” He met David’s gaze and gripped his mentor’s hand. “I cannot think of a man that I am more honored to fight for. I don’t know the mind of God. But I have witnessed your faithfulness to Him, and I have seen His faithfulness to you.” Ittai stepped away from the king, remaining close enough to still clasp his hand. “I will walk with you as you join your family and your officials. And I will considerate it an honor.”
About the Author
Barbara M. Britton lives in Southeast, Wisconsin and loves the snow—when it accumulates under three inches. She is published in Biblical Fiction and loves bringing little-known Bible characters to light in her stories. Barb is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, and Romance Writers of America. She has a nutrition degree from Baylor University but loves to dip healthy strawberries in chocolate.
This giveaway is now closed.
Congratulations to our winner, Julia White!
Barb is generously giving away a signed print copy of Defending David to one lucky Romancing History reader. If you’ve already read Defending David, you have the pick of any of her novels you haven’t read. To enter, share what inspires you most about Ittai’s story.