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IRA (ī'ra, Heb. ‘îr̄’a)

A chief minister or priest in the time of David (2Sam.20.26).A son of Ikkesh, a Tekoite, one of David’s mighty men (2Sam.23.26; 1Chr.11.28).An Ithrite, one of David’s heroes (2Sam.23.38; 1Chr.11.40).

IRA ī’ rə (עִירָא). 1. A Jairite who was called “David’s priest” (2 Sam 20:26). Since the Jairites were of the tribe of Manasseh, his position could not have been sacerdotal. Either, in David’s time, some non-Levites were permitted to serve in some sort of priestly capacity, or the office of priest had reference to some chief official in the service of the king (2 Sam 8:18; 1 Chron 18:17).

2. An Ithrite; one of David’s thirty mighty men (2 Sam 23:38; 1 Chron 11:40).

3. Son of Ikkesh, one of David’s mighty men and a captain of the temple guard for the sixth month (1 Chron 11:28; 27:9).

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

(`ira’; Eiras):

(1) A person referred to in 2Sa 20:26 as "priest" (so the Revised Version (British and American) correctly; the King James Version "a chief ruler," the American Standard Revised Version "chief minister") unto David. The translation of the Revised Version (British and American) is the only possible one; but, according to the text, Ira was "a Jairite," and thus of the tribe of Manasseh (Nu 32:41) and not eligible to the priesthood. On the basis of the Peshitta some would correct "Jairite" of 2Sa 20:26 into "Jattirite," referring to Jattir, a priestly city within the territory of Judah (Jos 21:14). Others point to 2Sa 8:18 margin, "David’s sons were priests," as an indication that in David’s time some non-Levites were permitted to serve--in some sense--as priests.

(2) An "Ithrite," or (with a different pointing of the text) a "Jattirite," one of David’s "thirty" (2Sa 23:38 parallel 1Ch 11:40); possibly identical with (1).

(3) Another of David’s "thirty," son of Ikkesh of Tekoa (2Sa 23:26; 1Ch 11:28) and a captain of the temple guard (1Ch 27:9).