The story of David and Goliath in 1 Samuel 17 opens with this geographical description of the military camps of the Philistines and Israelites:
Now the Philistines gathered their armies for battle; they were gathered at Socoh, which belongs to Judah, and encamped between Socoh and Azekah, in Ephes-dammim. Saul and the Israelites gathered and encamped in the valley of Elah, and formed ranks against the Philistines.
Azekah was a fortified town to the west of, and overlooking, the Valley of Elah – the latter the site of the legendary encounter between David and Goliath:
Azekah is today named Tel Zakariyya/Zakariya, after the name of the Arabic town Khirbat Zakariyya (خربة زكريا), lying to the north-east. The town was continuously occupied by Palestinians since the Roman or Byzantine periods, until ethnically cleansed by Israeli Defence Forces in 1948 and forcibly resettled in 1950. The town of Zakariyya was…
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