David Delivers Keilah From The Philistines

In the autumn of 1944 Germany had been beaten back behind its borders. The Nazi war machine was nearly destroyed. The repeated bombing raids of the Allies all but assured that Hitler’s forces would never rise again. Around the perimeter of Germany’s borders, the Allie … More


David is asked to deliver Keilah, which is a Philistine border town about 15 miles southwest of Bethlehem (vv.1-5). This town was continually being robbed of its grain by the Philistines (v. 1). David asked the Lord what he should do and was told to attack the Philistines and save Keilah (v. 2).

David’s followers were afraid and did not want to go against the Philistines (v.3). However the Lord promised to give them victory, so David and his men rescued the people of Keilah (vv. 4-5 ). Meanwhile Saul heard that David was in Keilah and decided to surround the town and trap David and his men (vv. 6-8). The people repay his kindness by betraying him to Saul (vv.7-12). David Hides From Saul in The Cave of Adullham

When David hears about Saul’s plans, he is faced with a new dilemma. By this time, Abiathar, the priest,  had joined David, who asked Abiathar, to bring the ephod (v.9). The ephod Abiathar had was a bright colored, sleeveless vest with 12 gemstones representing each tribe. David prayed and asked the Lord what he should do (v. 10). He asked if the leaders of Keilah will turn him over to Saul (v. 11) The Lord answered that Saul is coming and that the leaders would be turning him over to Saul (v. 12). After seeking the Lord’s guidance, David and his 600 men got out of there and stayed in hideouts in the wilderness of Ziph (v. 13). This was a desolate, hilly and wooded area between Hebron and the Dead Sea. Saul heard that David had left Keilah, and he decided not to go after him. Saul kept searching but God never let him catch David (v. 14).


When the people of Keilah showed their lack of gratitude to David, it would have been natural for him to express his disappointment over their shallowness and lack of true loyalty. Instead, Psalms says that he rejoiced in God’s goodness (Psalm 31:23). What is my reaction when an adversity strikes?

I Samuel 23:1-14 (English Standard Version)

Now they told David, "Behold, the Philistines are fighting against Keilah and are robbing the threshing floors." Therefore David inquired of the LORD, "Shall I go and attack these Philistines?" And the LORD said to David, "Go and attack the Philistines and save Keilah." But 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?" Then David inquired of the LORD again. And the LORD answered him, "Arise, go down to Keilah, for I will give the Philistines into your hand." And David and his men went to Keilah and fought with the Philistines and brought away their livestock and struck them with a great blow. So David saved the inhabitants of Keilah. When Abiathar the son of Ahimelech had fled to David to Keilah, he had come down with an ephod in his hand. Now it was told Saul that David had come to Keilah. And Saul said, "God has given him into my hand, for he has shut himself in by entering a town that has gates and bars." And Saul summoned all the people to war, to go down to Keilah, to besiege David and his men. David knew that Saul was plotting harm against him. And he said to Abiathar the priest, "Bring the ephod here." Then said David, "O LORD, the God of Israel, your servant has surely heard that Saul seeks to come to Keilah, to destroy the city on my account. Will the men of Keilah surrender me into his hand? Will Saul come down, as your servant has heard? O LORD, the God of Israel, please tell your servant." And the LORD said, "He will come down." Then David said, "Will the men of Keilah surrender me and my men into the hand of Saul?" And the LORD said, "They will surrender you." Then David and his men, who were about six hundred, arose and departed from Keilah, and they went wherever they could go. When Saul was told that David had escaped from Keilah, he gave up the expedition. And David remained in the strongholds in the wilderness, in the hill country of the wilderness of Ziph. And Saul sought him every day, but God did not give him into his hand.

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