Useful Bible Studies > 1 Samuel Commentary > chapter 23

God tells David to defend Keilah

1 Samuel 23:3-6

David’s men were living in a forest in Judah (southern Israel) - 1 Samuel 22:5. They had gone there to hide from King Saul. Saul wanted to kill David; so Saul was making plans for his army to attack them. David’s men did not want anyone to know where they were.

Now, however, David was proposing to defend the town called Keilah from Philistia’s army. Clearly, there could be nothing secret about the actions that he and his men would carry out there. For some time, they would have to live in that town (23:7).

David had already inquired of God about this matter (23:2). However, he cared about his men, and they were afraid. So David asked God a second time what he should do.

Abiathar, who was now the chief priest, inquired of God by means of the sacred objects in the ephod. The ephod was a special long shirt that the chief priest wore. In it, there were the sacred objects called URIM and THUMMIM. Their name means ‘perfect lights’. By means of them, God guided the chief priest.

God’s answer was again that David should act to save Keilah. This time, God added that he would give David and his men success against Philistia’s army.

So, David and his men went. It seems that by this time, Philistia’s army was surrounding Keilah. They had brought animals to eat while they waited for Keilah’s inhabitants to hand over their town. In the meantime, Keilah’s inhabitants would become hungry and desperate.

David’s men fought well. They rescued the town, and they took the animals from Philistia for themselves. They then stayed in the town so that they could continue to defend it.

Next part: Saul tries to attack David at Keilah (1 Samuel 23:7-8)


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© 2014, Keith Simons.