ZELAH, ZELA (zē'la, Heb. tsēla‘). A town in Benjamin probably close to Jerusalem (Josh.18.28). Here David reinterred the bones of Saul and Jonathan in the family tomb, which had belonged to Kish (2Sam.21.14). “Zela” is closer to the Hebrew.

ZELA ze’ lə, KJV, ZELAH (צֵ֨לַע, rib, side, of man, Gen 2:21, 22; of a hill, 2 Sam 16:13). A city in Benjamin.

In Joshua 18:28 Zela is mentioned as a part of a group of fourteen cities which in general lay a few m. to the N of Jerusalem. Zela’s exact location is not certain but some have suggested Khirbet Salah, between Jerusalem and Gibeon, as a possible site. The Heb. name in Joshua 18:28 may possibly have been Zela ha-eleph (“ox rib”) as the LXX A text, Σηλαλεφ suggests; but the Heb. of 2 Samuel 21:14 has Zela, the LXX giving πλευρά, G4433, (side). This latter reference tells how David buried here the bones of Saul and Jonathan in the ancestral tomb of Kish, thus identifying this place as important to that family.


E. G. Kraeling, Bible Atlas (1956), 208; Y. Aharoni, M. Avi-Yonah, The Macmillan Bible Atlas (1968), 83.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

(tsela` (2Sa 21:14)): A city in the territory of Benjamin (Jos 18:28; the Septuagint here omits). Here was the burying-place of the family of Saul, whither the bones of the king and of Jonathan were brought for burial (2Sa 21:14; the Septuagint here reads en te pleura, translating tsela`, "side"). The place is not identified. It may be the Zilu of the Tell el-Amarna Letters.