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Holman Bible Dictionary


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(uh zee' kah) Place name meaning, “cultivated ground.” 1. City where Joshua defeated southern coalition of kings led by Adonizedek of Jerusalem (Joshua 10:10 ), as God cast hailstones from heaven on the fleeing armies. In the battle Joshua commanded the sun and moon to stand still (Joshua 10:12 ). Joshua allotted it to Judah (Joshua 15:35 ). Near it, the Philistines lined up their forces for battle against Saul (1 Samuel 17:1 ), resulting in the David and Goliath confrontation. Rehoboam, king of Judah, (931-913 B.C.), built up its fortifications (2 Chronicles 11:9 ). The tribe of Judah occupied it in Nehemiah's day (Nehemiah 11:30 ), after it had been one of the last cities to fall to Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon in 588 B.C. (Jeremiah 34:7 ). One of the letters found at Lachish tells of searching for signal lights from Azekah but not being able to see them. This can be dated to 588 B.C. An earlier Assyrian inscription, perhaps from 712 B.C. speaks of Azekah's location on a mountain ridge, being inaccessible like an eagle's nest, too strong for siege ramps and battering rams.

Later tradition connected Azekah with the tomb of the prophet Zechariah and then with Zechariah the father of John the Baptist, to whom a large church was dedicated. Thus the Madeba map from about 550 A.D. calls Azekah, “Beth Zechariah,” or “house of Zechariah” and pictures a large church there.

Azekah is located at tell Zakariya five and one half miles northeast of Beth Govrin above the Valley of Elah. Excavations show the site was occupied before 3000 B.C. and had a strong fortress in the period of the judges.

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Copyright Statement
These dictionary topics are from the Holman Bible Dictionary, published by Broadman & Holman, 1991. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman.

Bibliography Information
Butler, Trent C. Editor. Entry for 'Azekah'. Holman Bible Dictionary. 1991.

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