Because of its strategic position in the Valley of Elah, the city of Azekah was often attacked and destroyed. Both Assyria and Babylon traveled through the valley of Elah and destroyed Azekah during ancient times.
The city of Lachish (located southwest of Azekah) also guarded a significant valley. When Azekah was attacked, the inhabitants of Lachish knew that the enemy would soon close in on them as well.
The famous Lachish letters, discovered in 1937, contain correspondence between the commanders of Azekah and Lachish during the last days before the Babylonian captivity. A watchman would look for the signal fires of Azekah each day and then write a report for the King of Lachish, saying something like, “I can still see the fires of Azekah. As long as Azekah’s fires kept burning, the king of Lachish knew that the city still stood. But when Azekah finally fell to the Babylonians, their signal fires stopped: The inhabitants of Lachish knew that the Bablyonians would soon attack.
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