🔼The name Hachilah: Summary
- Dark, Dull
- From the verb חכל (hakal), to be darkened, dull or unclear.
🔼The name Hachilah in the Bible
Hachilah, or more complete: גבעת החכילה (gibeat hahakila), the "hill of the hakila", was located on the south of Jeshimon and near a highway worth of note. On that hill were the strongholds at Horesh, and that's where David took refuge from king Saul. The locals Ziphites, however, were on Saul's side and reported the whereabouts of David (1 Samuel 23:19), but David had already moved on.
Much later, the Ziphites again came to Saul to tell about David and Saul gave chase again (1 Samuel 26:1-3). That night David famously swiped Saul's spear and water jug and presented his pursuer with them to prove his benevolence.
🔼Etymology of the name Hachilah
The name Hachilah derives from the verb חכל (hakal), to be darkened, and particularly of eyes and due to wine:
The verb חכל (hakal) means to be darkened, and particularly to be darkened due to drinking wine. Adjective חכלילי (haklili) means dull or darkened, and noun חכלילות (haklilut) means dullness or darkness. Both these words apply to eyes after drinking wine.
The story of David, which culminates in the building of the temple of YHWH by his son Solomon, is the story of how the Hebrew alphabet won from Egyptian hieroglyphs, Babylonian cuneiform and all sorts of other efforts to create a working script (see our article on the name Philistine for a closer look at this).
How the Ziphites and their murky mount Hachilah fit into this story isn't immediately clear, but it's obvious that they bet on the wrong horse and rooted for Saul rather than for David. The latter, however, prevailed and his meditation on the doings of the Ziphites was immortalized as Psalm 54.
For a meaning of the name Hachilah, NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads Dark, Gloomy, Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names has Dark, Dusky, and BDB Theological Dictionary has Dark.