KEILAH (kē-ī'la, Heb. ke‘îlâh)
A city lying in the foothills of Judah (
KEILAH ke ī’ lə (קְעִילָ֔ה). 1. A fortified town in the Shephelah district of Libnah-Mareshah near Achzib, now identified with modern Khirbt Qila 8 1/2 m. NW of Hebron. Mentioned as one of the towns given by lot to Judah (
David led a daring expedition to Keilah to deliver it from attacks by the Philistines who were robbing the threshing floors. Saul heard that he was there and sent troops to capture David and his men. David was forced to retreat again into the wilderness of Ziph, when it became apparent after consulting the ephod that the men of Keilah might turn him over to Saul (
Keilah is mentioned in the Amarna Letters as Qilti, an Egyp. base. Letters to Akh-en-Aton, pharaoh of Egypt, from the princes of Jerusalem and Hebron complained of each other’s occupation of Keilah at various times.
Keilah was inhabited by Jews returning from the Exile and was included in the roster of those who participated in rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem under Nehemiah (
There is a tradition that the prophet Habakkuk was buried in Keilah.
2. A descendant of Caleb son of Jephunneh, called a Garmite (
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)
(1) A city of the Shephelah mentioned (
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 (
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 (
(2) The Garmite (which see),