International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
ker'-e-thits (kerethim, ha-kerethi; Chelethi "executioners," "life-guardsmen"): A people in South Palestine whose territory bordered upon that of Judah (1 Samuel 30:14). In 1 Samuel 30:16 this land is apparently identical with that of the Philistines. In Ezekiel 25:16 the Philistines and the Cherethites are threatened together; while in Zep 2:5 the Cherethites are evidently the dwellers in "the land of the Philistines," "the inhabitants of the seacoast." Septuagint in both Ezekiel and Zephaniah renders the name "Cretans." The translators may have been "guided only by the sound." But Zeus Cretagenes in Gaza suggests a connection with the island of Crete. See , however, CAPHTOR. It may be taken as certain that the Cherethites were a Philistine clan. In conjunction with the Pelethites they are frequently named as forming the guard of David (2 Samuel 8:18, etc.). It was the custom of many ancient monarchs to have a guard of foreign mercenaries.