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Keilah definitions

Easton's Bible Dictionary

citadel, a city in the lowlands of Judah (Josh. 15:44). David rescued it from the attack of the Philistines (1 Sam. 23:1-8); but the inhabitants proving unfaithful to him, in that they sought to deliver him up to Saul (13), he and his men "departed from Keilah, and went whithersoever they could go." They fled to the hill Hareth, about 3 miles to the east, and thence through Hebron to Ziph (q.v.). "And David was in the wilderness of Ziph, in a wood" (1 Sam. 23:15). Here Jonathan sought him out, "and strengthened his hand in God." This was the last interview between David and Jonathan (23:16-18). It is the modern Khurbet Kila. Others identify it with Khuweilfeh, between Beit Jibrin (Eleutheropolis) and Beersheba, mentioned in the Amarna tablets.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia

ke-i'-la (qe`ilah; Keeilam):

(1) A city of the Shephelah mentioned (Jos 15:44) along with Nezib, Aehzib and Mareshah. Among those who repaired the walls of Jerusalem was "Hashabiah, the ruler of half the district of Keilah, for his district. After him repaired their brethren, Bavvai the son of Henadad, the ruler of half the district of Keilah" (Ne 3:17,18).

1. David and Keilah:

It is, however, from the story of the wandering of David that we have most information regarding this place. It was a city with gates and bars (1Sa 23:7). The Philistines came against it and commenced robbing the threshing-floors. David, after twice inquiring of Yahweh, went down with his 600 men (1Sa 23:13) and "fought with the Philistines, and brought away their cattle, and slew them with great slaughter." Saul hearing that David and his men were within a fortified town "summoned all the people to war, to go down to Keilah, to besiege David and his men" (1Sa 23:8). Then David asked Abiathar the priest to bring him an ephod, and he inquired of Yahweh whether, if Saul came, the men of Keilah would surrender him to save that city; hearing from Yahweh, "They will deliver thee up," he and all his men escaped from Keilah and went into the wilderness. The reputed strength of Keilah is confirmed by its mention in 5 tablets in the Tell el-Amarna Letters under the name of Kilts (qilti, Petrie) with Gedor, Gath, Rabbah and Gezer.

2. Identification:

Although other identifications were proposed by the older topographers, there is now a general consensus of opinion that the site of this city is Khurbet Kila (Josephus, Ant, VI, xiii, 1, in his account of David's adventure calls the place "Killa"). It is a hill covered with ruins in the higher part of Wady es Sur, 1,575 ft. above sea-level, whose terraced sides are covered with grainfields. The Eusebius, Onomasticon (Latin text) states that it was 8 miles from Eleutheropolis, which is about the distance of Khurbet Kila from Beit Jibrin. Beit Nusib (Nezib) is a couple of miles away, and Tell Sandahannah (Mareshah) but 7 miles to the West (Jos 15:44). An early Christian tradition states that the prophet Habakkuk was buried at Keilah.

(2) The Garmite (which see), 1Ch 4:19; see PEF, 314, Sh XXI.

E. W. G. Masterman



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