"The place dug up with a
The first excavation of the site was done by F. J. Bliss (Palestinian Exploration
Fund) between 1898 and 1900. The most notable finds from this early
period were scarabs of Thutmosis III and Amenhotep III. The Canaanite
town was of smaller proportions than that of Rehoboam.
CONQUEST: In the Bible
the first reference to Azekah was during Joshua's conquest of the land
when Joshua was called upon to aid the men of Gibeon from the coalition
of southern kings (Joshua 10:1-15).
It was given to the tribe of Judah when the land was divided (Joshua 15:35).
UNITED MONARCHY: In the
reign of Saul when Goliath suggested that the matter between the Philistines
and the Israelites be settled by trial by champion with the losers becoming
the slaves of the winners. It was between Socoh and Azekah
that the fight was decided with David taking off the giants head.(1)
Of course the Philistines did not keep to the agreement and a battle followed
the contest with the Philistine army losing as well.
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the Solomonic kingdom split (931/922 B.C.) Rehoboam instituted a massive
military buildup with an army of 180,000 men being his chief offensive
weapon. His defensive measures included the fortification and provisioning
of key cities, including Azekah, in his greatly diminished kingdom.
THE DESTRUCTION OF JERUSALEM
The city played a dramatic role
in the final days of Judah according to Jeremiah 34 and the Lachish Letters.
Jeremiah has the city (with Lachish) being one of the last to fall to the
(Jeremiah 34:7) when the army of the
king of Babylon was fighting against Jerusalem and against all the remaining
cities of Judah, that is, Lachish and Azekah,
for they alone remained as fortified cities among the cities of Judah.
In the Lachish Letters (#4)
it was Azekah that the men of Lachish watched in the middle of the night
for their fire signals that all was well, but none burned. It was
are watching for the fire signals of Lachish, according to all the signs
my lord gave, because we do not see Azekah."
In Nehemiah 11:30 the city was a center for the people who had returned
1The act of cutting off the Head of
a defeated foe was a custom of the general area. It is mentioned
in the Baal Epic (Ugarit) as a practice of the goddess Anat. Later
the Philistines would cut off the heads of Saul and his sons. The
statue of Dagon has its head broken off when it bowed before the ark of
the covenant of Yahweh.