Perhaps Saul ordered the deaths of the priests so that David would be unable to inquire of God again (22:17). If so, the effect was the opposite. Abiathar, who became the chief priest at his father’s death, ran away to join David. The result was that David now had the chief priest with him. So David could inquire of God whenever he needed to do that.
Keilah was near to Adullam (22:1), on the border between Philistia and Israel. Because of the constant wars between the two nations, Keilah’s inhabitants had made their town very strong (23:7). They could not, however, protect their threshing-floors, which would be outside the town’s walls.
The threshing-floors were yards where the farmers prepared the grain after harvest. Until the grain was ready to store or to sell, farmers had to keep the grain at the threshing-floor. They even slept outside on the threshing-floor to try to protect the grain (Ruth 3:1-7).
However, men from Philistia were stealing the grain from Keilah’s threshing-floors. They were preparing to attack Keilah itself. Usually, an army would surround the town’s walls and then wait for the inhabitants to run out of food. Without stores of grain, Keilah’s inhabitants would have to hand over their town very quickly.
David had been a commander in Israel’s army; he knew how to defend a town from such attacks. A group of 600 men was supporting him (23:13). However, David did not act until he had first inquired of God. He wanted to know what God wanted him to do.
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© 2014, Keith Simons.