1 Samuel 23:1-6

David Saves the City of Keilah

1 Now they told David, "Behold, the Philistines are fighting against 1Keilah and are robbing the threshing floors."
2 Therefore David 2inquired of the LORD, "Shall I go and attack these Philistines?" And the LORD said to David, "Go and attack the Philistines and save Keilah."
3 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?"
4 Then David 3inquired of the LORD again. And the LORD answered him, "Arise, go down to Keilah, 4for I will give the Philistines into your hand.
5 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.
6 5When Abiathar the son of Ahimelech had fled to David to Keilah, he had come down with an ephod in his hand.

1 Samuel 23:1-6 Meaning and Commentary

INTRODUCTION TO FIRST SAMUEL 23

This chapter gives an account of David's relieving Keilah, when it had like to have fallen into the hands of the Philistines, 1Sa 23:1-6; and of Saul's design to surprise him there, which David having notice of, and inquiring of the Lord, departed from thence; which when Saul heard of, he forbore to come forth, 1Sa 23:7-13; and of David's being in the wilderness of Ziph, where, in a wood there, he had an interview with Jonathan, 1Sa 23:14-18; and of the Ziphites offering to deliver him up to Saul, for which he commends them, and gives them instructions how they should behave to him in that affair, 1Sa 23:19-23; and of his seeking him in the wilderness of Maon, where David and his men were in great danger of being taken; which was prevented by the news of the Philistines invading the land coming to Saul just at the nick of time, 1Sa 23:24-29.

1 Samuel 23:1-6 In-Context

1 Now they told David, "Behold, the Philistines are fighting against Keilah and are robbing the threshing floors."
2 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."
3 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?"
4 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.
5 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.
6 When Abiathar the son of Ahimelech had fled to David to Keilah, he had come down with an ephod in his hand.
7 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."
8 And Saul summoned all the people to war, to go down to Keilah, to besiege David and his men.
9 David knew that Saul was plotting harm against him. And he said to Abiathar the priest, "Bring the ephod here."
10 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.

Cross References 5

  • 1. Joshua 15:44
  • 2. See 1 Samuel 22:10
  • 3. [See ver. 2 above]
  • 4. ver. 14; Joshua 24:11; Judges 7:7; Judges 20:28
  • 5. 1 Samuel 22:20
The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.