AZEKAH (a-zē'ka). A town in NW Judah, mentioned as a place to which Joshua pursued the kings at the battle of Gibeon (
AZEKAH ə ze’ kə (עֲזֵקָ֖ה, LXX ̓Αζκα, hoed ground?). A Palestinian town which existed from before 1300 b.c. through Byzantine times.
Azekah was a fortified city S of the Valley of Aijalon, identified as Tell ez Zakariyeh, a triangular mound about 1,000 ft. by 500 ft., which rises about 350 ft. above the, modern Wadi es Sunṭ. It was located three m. NW of Socoh, about nine m. N of Beit Jibrin (Eleutheropolis) and fifteen m. NW of Hebron. On a plateau at the top of the tell there remains a wall and towers of ancient fortifications. The Byzantine city of Azekah may be Khirbet el ’Alami just E of the tell. the site was partially excavated in 1898-1899 by Frederick J. Bliss and R. A. S. Macalister for the Fund.
When Joshua defeated the Amorites near Gibeon he chased the remnants of the coalition to Azekah (
Following the revolt of the northern kingdom, Rehoboam fortified the city with a large walled stockade. Possibly Rehoboam was actuated by the invasion of Shishak, c. 918 b.c. (
Azekah was one of the last towns to fall to Nebuchadnezzar before he attacked Jerusalem c. 588 b.c. (
After the Exile Azekah was reoccupied (
Possibly the “covering” of
Palestine Exploration Fund (Quarterly Statement) (1899), 10-36; G. E. Wright, Biblical Archaeology (1956), 149, 179.
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)
`azekah: A town of some importance in the Shephelah of Judah mentioned (
All the data suit Tell Zaqareyeh on the North side of the(Wady es-Sunt) and some 3 miles Northwest of Socoh (Kh. Shuweikeh). This site, which was partially excavated by the Fund, is one of great natural strength. "The hill stands almost isolated, rising abruptly for almost 350 ft. above the Vale of Elah; .... to the West the fall is also very great, while to the South the tell is joined by a neck of land (about 100 ft. below the summit) to a hill behind." The summit is about 350 yds. by 150 yds., and is much larger than Tell el-Chesy (Lachish) (Bliss). Excavations showed that it was a very ancient site which had been powerfully fortified, and the rock under the city was excavated in a series of very extraordinary underground chambers which could be used as places of refuge. The site suits the narrative of Joshua’s battle every well, as there is a long-used high route running North to South from the neighborhood of Ajalon. Its position as a frontier fortress is comparable with that of Lachish: the name Zakareyeh, seems to be a survival of Azekah. See PEFS, 1899, 10 ff; PEF, III, 441.