A wealthy Gileadite noble of Rogelim, who, together with two other prominent chieftains of the east-Jordanic territory, met David at Mahanaim, when he was fleeing with only a few followers from Absalom, and provided the king and his weary men with food (II Sam. xvii. 27-29). After the death of Absalom, Barzillai again appeared to escort David across the Jordan on his triumphant return to his capital. In gratitude for his loyalty the king invited Barzillai to become his permanent guest; but the aged Gileadite declined the honor, preferring to spend his few remaining years in his native town. In his stead he sent his son Chimham (II Sam. xix. 32-41 [R. V. 31-40]). On his death-bed David remembered the service of Barzillai, commending his sons to the special care and favor of Solomon (I Kings ii. 7).
Even after the Captivity the name of the loyal Gileadite was preserved in tradition; for in the census of Ezra (ii. 61) and Nehemiah (vii. 63) a priestly clan bears the name "Children of Barzillai," its members tracing their descent to a marriage with one of Barzillai's daughters.