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Tekoa (Heb. תְּקוֹעַ) is a city of Judah connected with the family of Hezron, the son of Perez (I Chron. 2:24; 4:5). It was the birthplace of Ira the son of Ikkesh, one of David’s mighty men (II Sam. 23:26; I Chron. 11:28; 27:9). From Tekoa came the wise woman who, at the instigation of Joab, persuaded David to pardon Absalom (II Sam. 14). Rehoboam included it in his line of fortifications; it is mentioned together with Etam and Beth-Zur (II Chron. 11:6). In this way, he hoped to safeguard the road leading from En Gedi to Jerusalem; it proved effective later when Jehoshaphat warded off there an invasion of the Moabites and Ammonites who came from the Dead Sea (II Chron. 20:20).

Jeremiah refers to Tekoa as being on the southern approach to Jerusalem (6:1). It was renowned, above all, as the birthplace of the prophet Amos (1:1); in later times, his tomb was worshiped there and in the Byzantine period, a church was built in his honor, remains of which are still visible. According to the Greek version of Joshua 15:59, it was in the district of Beth-Lehem in Judah. After the return from the Babylonian exile, it was possibly the capital of one of the districts of Judah.

The people of Tekoa – but not its nobles – repaired sections of the walls of Jerusalem, one part near the Old (Yeshanah) Gate, the other on the Ophel (Neh. 3:5, 6, 27). In the time of the Maccabean revolt, Bacchides fortified it (Jos., Ant., 13:15; I Macc. 9:50, as Tepho (Tappuah), which should be corrected to Theko).

In the First Jewish War, it served as an encampment for Simeon Bar Giora (Jos., Wars, 4:518) and later for Cerealis, the Roman commander (Jos., Life, 420). Eusebius places the village 12 mi. (c. 19 km.) from Aelia. It was a benefice of the Holy Sepulcher in Crusader times.

It is identified with Khirbet et Tuquʾ, a ruin southeast of Bethlehem and 2,760 ft. (850 m.) above sea level. The site was surveyed by M. Kochavi in 1968 and by Y. Hirschfeld in 1981–82. The ruins cover an area of about 17 acres and overlook an ancient road leading to En Gedi. The visible ruins are mainly from the Byzantine period, with two churches, houses, and hostels or markets. Pottery found dates from the Hellenistic to medieval times.


Suetterlin, in: PJB, 17 (1921), 31–46; Beyer, in: ZDPV, 54 (1931), 219; Avi-Yonah, Land, index. ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: Y. Hirschfeld, Archaeological Survey of Israel: Map of Herodium (108/2) (1985), 39*: Site No. 37; Y. Tsafrir, L. Di Segni, and J. Green, Tabula Imperii Romani. IudaeaPalaestina. Maps and Gazetteer. (1994), 248, S.V. "Thecoa I."

Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2007 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.