Ancient Azeka, an important fortified city in theg geographical jurisdiction of the Tribe of Judah, dominated one of the routes from the lowlands to the Judean Mountains. It is mentioned in the scriptures in relation to Joshua's wars against the five Amorite kings and to the war between Israel and the Philistines, in which David slew Goliath: "Now the Plishtim gathered together their camps to battle and were gathered together at Sokho, which belongs to Yehuda, and pitched between Sokho and Azeka in Efes-dammim."
(I Samuel 17:1).
Azeka is one of the cities fortified by Jeroboam, king of northern Israel. It is also referred to in an Assyrian clay tablet recounting the city's conquest by Sennacherib and, later, in Jeremiah's description of the trail of destruction left by the Babylonian king, Nebuchadnezzar.
Upon the Jewish return to Zion from Babylonian exile, several families from the Tribe of Judah resettled at Azeka, with settlement there continuing through the Roman-Byzantine period. The name Azeka does not appear in the 6th-Century Madaba map; instead, the site is referred to by its Byzantine designation, Beit Zacharia, preserved to this day in the name of Moshav Zekharia, not far from the archaeological mound. At an elevation of 347 meters above sea level, Tel Azeka affords a panoramic view of the Eila Valley, the
lowlands and the mountains. A network of hidden, underground chambers was discovered on its slopes, apparently dating from the Bar Kokhba revolt.