|Easton's Bible Dictionary|
Citadel, a city in the lowlands of Judah (Joshua 15:44). David rescued it from the attack of the Philistines (1 Samuel 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 Samuel 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.
Int. Standard Bible Encyclopedia
ke-i'-la (qe`ilah; Keeilam):
(1) A city of the Shephelah mentioned (Joshua 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" (Nehemiah 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 (1 Samuel 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 (1 Samuel 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" (1 Samuel 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.
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 (Joshua 15:44). An early Christian tradition states that the prophet Habakkuk was buried at Keilah.
(2) The Garmite (which see), 1 Chronicles 4:19; see PEF, 314, Sh XXI.
E. W. G. Masterman
Keilah (16 Occurrences)
Joshua 15:44 Keilah, Achzib, and Mareshah; nine cities with their villages. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS NIV)
1 Samuel 23:1 David was told, "Behold, the Philistines are fighting against Keilah, and are robbing the threshing floors." (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS NIV)
1 Samuel 23:2 Therefore David inquired of Yahweh, saying, "Shall I go and strike these Philistines?" Yahweh said to David, "Go strike the Philistines, and save Keilah." (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS NIV)
1 Samuel 23:3 David's men said to him, "Behold, we are afraid here in Judah: how much more then if we go to Keilah against the armies of the Philistines?" (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS NIV)
1 Samuel 23:4 Then David inquired of Yahweh yet again. Yahweh answered him, and said, "Arise, go down to Keilah; for I will deliver the Philistines into your hand." (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS NIV)
1 Samuel 23:5 David and his men went to Keilah, and fought with the Philistines, and brought away their livestock, and killed them with a great slaughter. So David saved the inhabitants of Keilah. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS NIV)
1 Samuel 23:6 It happened, when Abiathar the son of Ahimelech fled to David to Keilah, that he came down with an ephod in his hand. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS NIV)
1 Samuel 23:7 It was told Saul that David had come to Keilah. Saul said, "God has delivered him into my hand; for he is shut in, by entering into a town that has gates and bars." (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS NIV)
1 Samuel 23:8 Saul summoned all the people to war, to go down to Keilah, to besiege David and his men. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS NIV)
1 Samuel 23:10 Then David said, "O Yahweh, the God of Israel, your servant has surely heard that Saul seeks to come to Keilah, to destroy the city for my sake. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS NIV)
1 Samuel 23:11 Will the men of Keilah deliver me up into his hand? Will Saul come down, as your servant has heard? Yahweh, the God of Israel, I beg you, tell your servant." Yahweh said, "He will come down." (WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS NIV)
1 Samuel 23:12 Then said David, "Will the men of Keilah deliver me and my men into the hand of Saul?" Yahweh said, "They will deliver you up." (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS NIV)
1 Samuel 23:13 Then David and his men, who were about six hundred, arose and departed out of Keilah, and went wherever they could go. It was told Saul that David was escaped from Keilah; and he gave up going there. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS NIV)
1 Chronicles 4:19 The sons of the wife of Hodiah, the sister of Naham, were the father of Keilah the Garmite, and Eshtemoa the Maacathite. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS NIV)
Nehemiah 3:17 After him repaired the Levites, Rehum the son of Bani. Next to him repaired Hashabiah, the ruler of half the district of Keilah, for his district. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS NIV)
Nehemiah 3:18 After him repaired their brothers, Bavvai the son of Henadad, the ruler of half the district of Keilah. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS NIV)