THE BOOK OF ITTAI
The Sword of Goliath figures prominently in The Book of Ittai. Here is an excerpt from the book concerning The Sword of Goliath.
David returned to his palace in Jerusalem and he called me to a private meeting. As I entered the king’s private council chambers, King David motioned for all his attendants to leave. I knelt down with my head bowed in front of my king. This was the first time in many years that I was alone with King David.
The king spoke kindly as he placed his hand underneath my arm helping me to my feet. “Ittai, my loyal friend, may the God of Israel bless you for all the kindness you have shown me these many years.”
I said, “It is my pleasure and honor to be the king’s servant.”
“Ittai, I know you and your men and families have asked permission to return to your homes in Hebron.” The king stated.
I replied, “Yes my lord, if we have found favor in your eyes and if there is no further assignment for us, our wives and children grow weary of camp life. Harvest time is near and we are all very anxious about our crops and animals left with so few servants.”
The king said, “You may all return to Hebron with our blessing Ittai, but I wanted to give you something before you go as a token of my deep appreciation for what you and yours have done for me in this recent unpleasantness involving my son Absalom.”
“The fact that you are safe and the nation is restored is all I could ever ask from my lord the king.” I said.
King David walked over to a large wooden chest, stepping behind the chest he grasped something wrapped in an old blanket. He placed it on a table situated in the middle of the room and began to unfold the blanket revealing the contents.
“Do you know what this is?” The king asked.
“Yes my lord.” My voice quivered as I answered. It is the sword of the Philistine Goliath. My mind raced back many years to when I was a boy. The day Goliath so cruelly killed my father Gittai with this very same sword. That horrific image will never fade from my memory. Seeing Goliath as he dismounted, walking towards my father, drawing that terrible sword that now lays here before me. Blood from a dozen other villagers still dripped from his sword as he prepared to mix their blood with my father’s. I can still hear Goliath laughing as he stared at me just before he swung this mighty sword cutting me off from my father’s life. David brought me back to the present asking, “Ittai, are you all right, you are shaking, what is wrong?”
I took a deep breath and answered the king. “My lord, for a moment I was back in the village of my birth, back in Gitt. The memories of that evil day Goliath sacked our village and killed my father with this very sword came flooding back to my mind.”
“I debated at length and prayed if I should give you this sword.” The king said as he took hold of the sword’s handle and continued speaking. “The sword binds us together and in a sense it is the tool that fashioned both you and I.” King David explained.
I replied, “Yes my lord, how could I not remember the first day I ever saw you? It was there in the Valley of Elah. How you slung the stone striking our enemy in his forehead. You know, I once hit Goliath’s head with a stone but it didn’t even bother him. He laughed at me. It was just before I was captured by the Philistines.”
King David answered. “That is because my stone had God’s power propelling it. My shot gave God great glory. Your shot would not have glorified Him.”
“Yes my king, what you say is true. When Goliath was struck by the stone and fell face down, you ran over to him. You took hold of the Philistine’s sword and drew it from the scabbard. With one swing you lopped off his head. Then you turned and looked at me as I sat next to Goliath’s shield where I had fallen down. You waived your hand motioning me to go.” I reminded the king.
The king said. “That victory began my service to our God, my ministry to His people.” King David then placed his arm around my shoulders and said. “Ittai, I know this sword may represent many unpleasant memories but can’t you see that it is also a symbol of the bond between us?”
“Yes my lord,” I replied as I watched David handle the sword.
“Look at it Ittai, it is both beautiful and terrible at the same time.” King David remarked.
I replied. “That is because it has been both a sword for the righteous and for the unrighteous depending on who held it, an instrument of justice or injustice.”
Ittai, much blood is on this sword. I am a man of blood, not worthy to keep or dispose of it. I have watched you for many years and have not found any falsehood in you. This sword is much more than a symbol of the bond between you and me. You must take it. I know God will give you the wisdom to know what to do with it,” assured the king.
“My lord the king, I am humbled by your opinion of your servant. I will take the sword and pray for wisdom concerning it.” I replied as I wrapped the sword back in the blanket.
The king stood up and I knew our time together was over for now and he bid me farewell.
“Ittai, go in peace, you and your men and all your families. Go back to Hebron. Live in peace and may God bless you and yours and may he shower you with the same kindness that you have always shown me.”
We embraced and King David kissed my cheek and then turned and left the room. I stood there for a moment holding the sword. I recalled the words that David said to Goliath the Philistine that day in the Valley of Elah. “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.” Amen!