In 2 Samuel 15:13–23, news quickly reached the capital that Absalom had effected a coup and that all was lost. David, convinced of the hopelessness of his cause and anxious to spare the city from destruction, made his plans to depart and head east for the Transjordan.
He left behind 10 housekeeping concubines. The people, including 600 Gittites (faithful men who had followed him from Gath in Philistia when he was pursued by Saul; 1 Sam. 23:13; 27:2; 30:9), fled with David. He tried to persuade his Philistine mercenary officer, Ittai of Gath, to remain behind since he had nothing to fear from Absalom. But to his credit Ittai refused, preferring to honor his commitment of loyalty by joining the king in banishment.