City of southern Judea, frequently mentioned in the Old Testament. The "wise woman" who brought about the recall of Absalom was a resident of the city (II Sam. xiv. 2 et seq.), and it was also the home of the prophet Amos (i. 1), the herdsman and the gatherer of sycamore fruit. The fortification of Tekoa by Rehoboam (II Chron. xi. 6) gave it strategic importance. In the post-exilic period its inhabitants were Calebites (I Chron. ii. 24); and they aided [Nehemiah in rebuilding the wall (iii. 5, 27).
The site of Tekoa is fixed by Biblical data. It was in the south (Jer. vi. 1), and in the vicinity of the valley of Berachah ("blessing"), near the desert to which it gave its name (II Chron. xx. 20, 26; I Mace. ix. 33). The place is still more accurately localized in Josh. xv. 60, where the Greek text of a passage lost in the Hebrew places it, together with Beth-lehem and other towns of the hill-country of Judah, south of Jerusalem. According to the "Onomasticon" of Eusebius and Jerome, it lay twelve Roman miles (eighteen kilometers) south of that city and to the east of Beth-lehem on the edge of the desert. The site of the city is represented by the modern Khirbat Taḳu'ah, a mass of scantily inhabited ruins, with ancient cisterns and tombs and the remains of a church, lying on a hill which commands a wide landscape. Since the days of Jerome the grave of Amos has been shown there. The Mishnah speaks in high praise of the oil of Tekoa; and medieval Arabic authors mention its honey.