1 Samuel 23:1
Then they told David, saying, Behold, the Philistines fight against Keilah, and they rob the threshingfloors.
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(1) Then they told David. . . .—For this and like duties the prophet Gad (1Samuel 22:5) had summoned David to return with his armed band to Judah. There was a great work ready to his hand in his own country at that juncture. Saul was becoming more and more neglectful of his higher duty—that of protecting his people; as time went on and his malady increased, his whole thoughts were concentrated on David’s imaginary crimes, and the history of the latter part of his reign is little more than a recital of his sad, bewildered efforts to compass the young hero’s destruction. The task of protecting the people from the constant marauding expeditions of the Philistines, and probably of the neighbouring nations, then was entrusted to David. To point this out to the son of Jesse was evidently the first great mission of Gad the seer. Samuel’s mind was, no doubt, busied in this matter. It is more than probable that Gad was first dispatched to join David at the instigation of the aged, but still mentally vigorous, prophet.

Keilah.—“This town lay in the lowlands of Judah, not far from the Philistine frontier, some miles south of Adullam, being perched on a steep hill overlooking the valley of Elah, not far from the thickets of Hareth” (Conder; Tent Life in Palestine).

1 Samuel 23:1. Then they told — Or rather, Now they had told David. For it is evident from 1 Samuel 23:6, that David had received the information here referred to, and had even delivered the inhabitants of Keilah before Abiathar came to tell him of the slaughter of the priests. The Philistines fight against Keilah — Probably the Philistines were encouraged to make this inroad into the land of Israel by hearing that David was forced to flee his country, and that God had departed from Saul. When princes begin to persecute God’s people and ministers, let them expect nothing but vexation on all sides. Keilah was a city in the tribe of Judah, Joshua 15:44. They rob the thrashing-floors — Which were commonly without their cities, for the convenience of wind, to separate the chaff from the corn. See Ruth 3:2.

23:1-6 When princes persecute God's people, let them expect vexation on all sides. The way for any country to be quiet, is to let God's church be quiet in it: if Saul fight against David, the Philistines fight against his country. David considered himself the protector of the land. Thus did the Saviour Jesus, and left us an example. Those are unlike David, who sullenly decline to do good, if they are not rewarded for services.David's growing importance, fugitive as he was, is marked by this appeal to him for deliverance from the Philistines. The "threshing floors" were the natural objects of plunder Judges 6:11. Keilah was in the Shephelah (marginal reference), probably close to the Philistine border, but its site is uncertain.

Joshua 2:11 Samuel Joshua 23:1 PP1


1Sa 23:1-6. David Rescues Keilah.

1. Then they told David—rather, "now they had told"; for this information had reached him previous to his hearing (1Sa 23:6) of the Nob tragedy.

Keilah—a city in the west of Judah (Jos 15:44), not far from the forest of Hareth.

and they rob the threshing-floors—These were commonly situated on the fields and were open to the wind (Jud 6:11; Ru 3:2).David, inquiring of the Lord by Abiathar, rescueth Keilah, and goeth into it, 1 Samuel 23:1-6. God showing him the coming of Saul, and treachery of the Kennites, 1 Samuel 23:7-12, he flieth thence to the wilderness of Ziph, with his six hundred men, 1 Samuel 23:13-15. Here Jonathan cometh to him, and reneweth the covenant of friendship with him, 1 Samuel 23:16-18. The Ziphites discover him to Saul, 1 Samuel 23:19-23; who pursueth him into the wilderness of Maon, 1 Samuel 23:24-26. He is called away by a message that the Philistines had invaded the land, 1 Samuel 23:27,28. David dwelleth at En-gedi, 1 Samuel 23:29.

Then they told David; or, Now they had told David, to wit, before he heard of the slaughter of the priests. Keilah; a city in the tribe of Judah, Joshua 15:44, not far from the forest of Hareth, where David now was, 1 Samuel 22:5.

The threshing-floors usually were without the cities, in places open to the wind. See Judges 6:11 Ruth 3:2, &c.

Then they told David,.... Either the men of Keilah sent to him, being near them, or some well wishers of theirs, and of their country, acquainted him with their case:

saying, behold, the Philistines fight against Keilah; had laid siege to it, being a fortified place, 1 Samuel 23:7; it was a city in the tribe of Judah, on the borders of the Philistines; of which See Gill on Joshua 15:44,

and they rob the threshing floors; took away the corn upon them, which they were threshing and winnowing, which were usually done without the city for the sake of wind, see Judges 6:11; it was harvest time when the three mighty men came to David in the cave of Adullam, and so now it might be the time of threshing, harvest being over, see 1 Samuel 22:1; compared with 2 Samuel 23:13.

Then they told David, saying, Behold, the Philistines fight against {a} Keilah, and they rob the threshingfloors.

(a) Which was a city in the tribe of Judah, Jos 15:44.

1 Samuel 23:1-6. The rescue of Keilah

1. Then they told David] Simply, And they told. There is no mark of time. The appeal to David shews that he was growing to be regarded as the champion of Israel.

Keilah] A fortified city (v, 7), named in Joshua 15:44 as one of a group of cities in the Shephêlah or “Lowland,” which included the low limestone hills bordering on the Philistine plain. It was perched on a steep hill above the valley of Elah, about three miles south of Adullam, where the name Kila still survives to mark the site.

they rob the threshing floors] This indicates that the raid took place immediately after harvest, when the corn was stacked by the floors ready for threshing.

Verse 1. - They told David, etc. The return of David into his own land was quickly followed by exploits which not only increased his power, but turned the eyes of all the people towards him as their protector. His first success was the deliverance of the city of Keilah from a body of Philistines who were plundering it of the produce of its harvest. This place lay a few miles south of the stronghold of Adullam, and itself occupied a defensible position, being perched on a steep hill overlooking the valley of Elah, not far from the thickets of Hareth (Condor, 'Tent Work,' 2:88). Being thus at no great distance from the Philistine border, a band of men started thence on a foray for the purpose of robbing the threshing floors. As no rain falls in Palestine in the harvest season (1 Samuel 12:17), the corn is threshed out in the open air by a heavy wooden sledge made of two boards, and curved up in front, with pieces of basalt inserted for teeth, drawn over it by horses, or it is trampled out by cattle. Conder ('Tent Work,' 2:259) describes the threshing floor as "a broad flat space on open ground, generally high. Sometimes the floor is on a flat rocky hill top, and occasionally it is in an open valley, down which there is a current of air; but it is always situated where most wind can be found, because at the threshing season high winds never occur, and the grain is safely stored before the autumn storms commence." As the grain after winnowing is made into heaps until it can be carried home, there is always a period when the threshing floors have to be watched to guard them from depredation, and this was the time chosen by the Philistines for a foray in force. 1 Samuel 23:1Rescue of Keilah. - After his return to the mountains of Judah, David received intelligence that Philistines, i.e., a marauding company of these enemies of Israel, were fighting against Keilah, and plundering the threshing-floors, upon which the corn that had been reaped was lying ready for threshing. Keilah belonged to the towns of the lowlands of Judah (Joshua 15:44); and although it has not yet been discovered, was certainly very close to the Philistian frontier.
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