TEKOA, TEKOAH, TEKOITE (tĕ-kō'a, tĕ-kō'aīt, Heb. teqôa‘, tekô‘âh). A city of Judah, an inhabitant of it. Tekoa lay twelve miles (twenty km.) south of Jerusalem and the same distance NE of Hebron. It was fortified by Rehoboam (
TEKOA tə kō’ ə (תְּקֹ֔ועָה; LXX Θεκώε). KJV TEKOAH in
Tekoa, the wilderness.
Here is a rather wild, arid, and stony district, a dozen m. S of Jerusalem, deserted “save for donkeys and sure-footed men.” Its soil is a kind of chalk marl, the “frontier of tillable land.” Beyond is desert, the part toward the E characterized by Dr. George Adam Smith as “fifteen miles of chaos sinking to...the Dead Sea.”
There was scant cultivation in valley pockets where was preserved the once rich if sparse vegetable mold that overlay the hills of Judah, when anciently they afforded a forest. The region produced olives and a peculiar fruit called “sycomore fruit” (
In this general district, David, the fugitive from vindictive Saul, spent much time (
In this district,
Tekoa is mentioned a number of times in Scripture, though not listed among Judah’s possessions in the OT Heb. of
Both Jeremiah and Amos lived in the face of the wilderness of Judea. In Tekoa, the rustic Amos was born in the 8th century b.c., a prophet to the northern kingdom. Reading his book, one has the feeling that Amos haunted the heights, living in sight of “very wide horizons.”
Tekoa is in Judah, ten m. S of Jerusalem, and half as far S of Bethlehem, on a prominent elevation 2,700 ft. high, from which the
Rehoboam of the southern kingdom thought Tekoa of sufficient importance to warrant fortification (
Tekoa was a city of some prominence in early Christian centuries and in the a.d. 1138, citizens escaping to a large cave. The site of Amos’ tomb was confirmed by Isaac Chelo, a.d. 1134 (HDB, IV, 693). A number of traditions have centered in this place. Nathanael was one of the condemned infants of Herod’s slaughter, but he escaped to Tekoa. From near the tomb of Amos, the prophet Habbakuk was carried by angels to Babylon. Prophets met there to discuss divine things.. In the opening years of the 6th cent., a monastery was erected by a man named Saba; shortly after his death it became the scene of conflict between the orthodox and the Monophysites. A certain Willibald of some two centuries later made report of a church and a prophet’s grave in Tekoa. In the times of the Crusades, many Christians inhabiting Tekoa aided the Franks during the first siege of Jerusalem. The place was destroyed by Turks in
It seems most likely that the Tekoa of
G. A. Smith, Historical Geography of the Holy Land (1896); J. Bright,(1959), 244, 360.
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)
(teqoa’, or teqo`ah; Thekoe; the
1. Scripture References:
From here came the "wise woman" brought by Joab to try and make a reconciliation between David and Absalom (
Jonathan Maccabeus and his brother Simon fled from the vengeance of Bacchides "into the wilderness of Thecoe (the(British and American) "Tekoah") and pitched their tents (the Revised Version (British and American) "encamped") by the water of the pool Asphar" (1 Macc 9:33).
2. Later History:
Josephus calls Tekoa a village in his day (Vita, 75), as does Jerome who describes it as 12 miles from Jerusalem and visible from Bethlehem; he says the tomb of the prophet Amos was there (Commentary on Jeremiah, VI, 1). "There was," he says, "no village beyond Tekoa in the direction of the wilderness." The good quality of its oil and honey is praised by other writers. In the 6th century a monastery, Laura Nova, was founded there by Saba. In the crusading times Tekoa was visited by pious pilgrims wishing to see the tomb of Amos, and some of the Christian inhabitants assisted the Crusaders in the first siege of Jerusalem. In 1138 the place was pillaged by a party of Turks from the East of the Jordan, and since that time the site appears to have lain desolate and ruined, although even in the 14th century the tomb of Amos was still shown.
3. The Site of Tequ`a:
The site is without doubt the Khirbet Tequ’a, a very extensive ruin, covering 4 or 5 acres, about 6 miles South of Bethlehem and 10 miles from Jerusalem, near the Frank Mountain and on the road to `Ain Jidy. The remains on the surface are chiefly of large cut stone and are all, apparently, medieval. Fragments of pillars and bases of good hard limestone occur on the top of the hill, and there is an octagonal font of rose-red limestone; it is clear that the church once stood there. There are many tombs and cisterns in the neighborhood of a much earlier period. A spring is said to exist somewhere on the site, but if so it is buried out of sight. There is a reference in the "Life of Saladin" (Bahaoddenus), to the "river of Tekoa," from which Richard Coeur de Lion and his army drank, 3 miles from Jerusalem: this may refer to the Arab extension of the "low-level aqueduct" which passes through a long tunnel under the Sahl Tequ`a and may have been thought by some to rise there.
The open fields around Teqa’a are attractive and well suited for olive trees (which have now disappeared), and there are extensive grazing-lands. The neighborhood, even the "wilderness" to the East, is full of the flocks of wandering Bedouin. From the site, Bethlehem, theand Nebi Samuel (Mizpah) are all visible; to the Northeast is a peep of the Jordan valley near Jericho and of the mountains of Gilead, but most of the eastern outlook is cut off by rising ground (PEF, III, 314, 368, Sh XXI).