AZEKAH
"The place dug up with a hoe"
Tell ez-Zakariah
Location: Shephelah
VERSE LIST

PRE-ISRAELITE:  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.
 

(C)opyright 1997
Hugh Henry
All Rights Reserved
 
DIVIDED MONARCHY:When 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 (587/586)

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 Babylonians.

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 said, POST EXILIC: In Nehemiah 11:30 the city was a center for the people who had returned from captivity.



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.