citadel, a city in the lowlands of Judah (Jos 15:44). David rescued it from the attack of the Philistines (1Sa 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" (1Sa 23:15). Here Jonathan sought him out, "and strengthened his hand in God." This was the last interview between David and Jonathan (1Sa 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.
("fortress".) In the shephelah or lower hills of Judah (Jos 15:44), hence the phrase "go down to Keilah." David in dependence on Jehovah's promise, notwithstanding his men's protest on the ground of their weakness, rescued it from the Philistines (1 Samuel 23); here Abiathar joined him with the ephod, having escaped from the massacre of priests at Nehemiah The proximity of Hareth, where David was, accounts for his helping it though he did not help other towns when robbed by the Philistines. (See HARETH.) Saul too looked to God, as if His providence had "delivered" David to him by David's entering a town with "gates and bars," Saul's hope was presumption, for God would never be the minister to gratuitous and murderous malice. David again consulted God in sincere faith, whether the men of Keilah would betray him. Like the Antitype, David was being betrayed by the ungrateful men whom he came to save.
The grain abounding character of the Judaeau lowland accords with the Philistines robbing the "threshing floors" of Keilah. Its strength, as a key to the hill country of Judah, is implied in the "armies" of the Philistines, and in Saul's calling "all the people together to go down to Keilah." All "the inhabitants of Keilah" probably did not join in the treachery against David, only the Baalites, Hebrew: Baali for "men" of Keilah (Jos 15:11-12), i.e. the Canaanite portion, votaries of Baal, to whom David's devotion to Jehovah and the presence of the sacred ephod with the priest Abiathar were an offense. Ps 31:6,8,21 alludes, with the undesignedness which characterizes genuineness, to this: "I have hated them that regard lying vanities (idols as Baal), but I trust in Jehovah."
Thou hast known my soul in adversities (David's phrase in the independent history, 2Sa 4:9). "Thou hast not shut me up into the hand of the enemy, Thou hast set my feet in a large room .... Blessed be Jehovah, for He hath shown me His marvelous kindness in a strong city," the very description of Keilah. In Ne 3:17-18 Hashabiah is "ruler of the half part (pelek) of Keilah" and Bavai ruler of the other half part. Pelek means a "breast," a "round hill", or mamelon; applied to Jerusalem composed of two swelling hills with the Tyropeon valley passing between. Each half had its military ruler. El Khuweilifeh on the edge of the great plain, the road between Gaza and Hebron, answers probably to the double stronghold Keilah. It consists of two tells or round hills, with a valley between.
A city of Judah in the Sheph
1. City in the lowlands of Judah. It was delivered by David from an attack of the Philistines. He and Abiathar with the ephod took shelter there; but warned by God that the people of the city would deliver him up to Saul, they escaped. Jos 15:44; 1Sa 23:1-13; Ne 3:17-18. Identified with Kila, 31 37' N, 35 E.
2. One called 'the Garmite,' in the genealogy of Judah. 1Ch 4:19.