|Succoth - |
("booths"), from saakak "to entwine" or "shelter."
1. Jerome places it "beyond Jordan" (Quaest. Hebrew). In Joshua 13:27-28 Succoth is assigned to Gad. The mention of the "house" and "booths" marks that Jacob stayed there for long, in contrast to his previous pilgrim life in tents, Succoth lay on the route between Pentel on the E. of Jordan and Shechem on the W. of Jordan (Genesis 32:30; Genesis 33:17-18). (See PENUEL; SHALEM.) Subsequently, in Gideon's days Succoth had 77 chiefs and elders (zeqeenim, "sheikhs", i.e. headmen, literally, old men). See also 1 Kings 7:46; 2 Chronicles 4:17. The Talmud makes Succoth a district (so Psalm 60:6, "the valley of Succoth") as well as a town, called Ter'alah; this corresponds to the tell or mound Der'ala, thickly strewed with pottery, in the great plain N. of the Jabbok, one mile from the river and three miles from where it leaves the hills. Close by is a smaller mound with ruins. The Bedouin say a city existed formerly on the large mound. E. of tell Der'ala is the ford of the Jabbok, "Mashra'a Canaan," i.e. Canaan's crossing.
The route into Canaan which the nomadic tribes, as Midian, always took ("the way of them that dwell in tents," Judges 8:11) was along the course of the Jabbok and so across Jordan opposite Bethshean, thence spreading over the Esdraelon plain. Gideon (Judges 8:4-17) in pursuing Midian took the same course in reverse order until he reached Succoth. The men of Succoth, as living on this great army route between Canaan and the East, and having regard only to self and no concern for Israel's deliverance and no compassion for the sufferings of Gideon's gallant little band, would give no bread to their brethren lest they should incur the vengeance of Midian; nay more, they added insolence to unkindness. As then they classed themselves with the wicked, of whom thorns are the symbol, their retributive punishment was to be chastised with thorns of the wilderness (the strongest thorns: Isaiah 5:6; Isaiah 27:4; Amos 1:3; 2 Samuel 23:6-7). frontPalestine Exploation Quarterly Statement, April 1878, p. 81.)
2. Israel's first camping place after leaving Egypt, half way between Rameses and Etham, Succoth of the Birket Timseh ("the lake of crocodiles") on the road which led by the shortest way to the edge of the wilderness. Possibly from Hebrew sukowt "booths," but probably from the Egyptian sechet or sochot, the "domain of an officer of state" in Lower Egypt not far from Memphis, in the time of Chufu (Exodus 12:37; Exodus 13:20; Numbers 33:5-6).