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published: 3/31/13





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Succoth in the Bible



Succoth in the Old Testament

File:Jordan River.jpg
The Jordan River

Succoth (1)

After parting with Esau, Jacob journeyed to Succoth, a name which he gave to the place from the "booths" which he erected to shelter his cattle (Gen 33:17). It was in the territory of Gad, and is mentioned with Beth-nimrah (Josh 13:27). In his pursuit of Zeba and Zalmunnah, Gideon seems to have retraced the path followed by Jacob, passing Succoth before Penuel (Jdg 8:5 ff).

Their churlishness on that occasion brought dire punishment upon the men of Succoth. Gideon on his return "taught them" with thorns and briers (Jdg 8:16). In the soil of the valley between Succoth and Zarethan, which was suitable for the purpose, the brass castings of the furniture for Solomon's Temple were made (1 Ki 7:46; 2 Ch 4:17). Jerome (on Gen 33:17) says that in his day it was a city beyond Jordan in the district of Scythopolis.



From the above data it is clear that Succoth lay on the East of the Jordan and North of the Jabbok. From Ps 60:6; 108:7, we may infer that it was close to the Jordan valley, part of which was apparently known by its name. Neubauer (Geog. du Talmud, 248) gives the Talmudic name as Tar`ala. Merrill (East of the Jordan, 386) and others compare this with Tell Deir `Alla, the name of an artificial mound about a mile North of the Jabbok, on the edge of the valley, fully 4 miles East of the Jordan. There is a place called Sakut West of the Jordan, about 10 miles South of Beisan. This has been proposed by some; but it is evident that Succoth lay East of the river. No trace of the name has been found here.

Succoth (2)

The first station of the Hebrews on leaving Rameses (see &EXODUS). The word means "booths." The distance from &ETHAM (which see) suggests that the site may have lain in the lower part of Wady Tumeilat, but the exact position is unknown. This region seems possibly to have been called T-K-u by the Egyptians (see &PITHOM).

Brugsch and other scholars suppose this term to have been changed to Succoth by the Old Testament writer, but this is very doubtful, Succoth being a common Hebrew word, while T-K-u is Egyptian The Hebrew "c" does not appear ever to be rendered by "t" in Egyptian. The capital of the Sethroitic nome was called T-K-t (Pierret, Vocab. hieroglyph., 697), and this word means "bread." If the region of T-K-u was near this town, it would seem to have lain on the shore road from Edom to Zoan, in which case it could not be the Succoth of the Exodus.

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Source:

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, which is in the public domain (with minor edits).