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Bible Dictionaries

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible


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SUCCOTH . A place first mentioned in Genesis 33:17 , where it is said to have been so called because Jacob, on his return from Haran to Canaan, halting at it after his wrestling with the angel at Penuel, built there ‘booths’ (Heb. succôth ) for his cattle. Gideon also, after crossing the Jordan in his pursuit of the Midianites, passed Succoth, and afterwards ‘went up’ to Penuel ( Judges 8:5; Judges 8:8 ). The name has not been preserved; and the site is thus matter of conjecture. From the passages quoted and other notices it is clear that it was E. of the Jordan; and it may further be inferred that, while Penuel was close to the Jabbok ( Genesis 32:22; Genesis 32:30 f.), on higher ground than Succoth, and to the E. or S.E. ( Judges 8:5; Judges 8:8 , cf. v. 11), Succoth was on the route between Penuel and Shechem, which would pass most naturally over the ford ed-Dâmiyeh (a little S. of the point at which the Jabbok enters the Jordan), in the territory of Gad, in a ‘vale’ ( Joshua 13:27 , Psalms 60:5 ), presumably, therefore, in that part of the Jordan valley through which the Jabbok flows into the Jordan, and which is very fertile. Jacob came from Mizpah (see No. 1 in art. s.v. ), which is most naturally to be sought somewhere on the N. or N.E. of the Jebel ‘Ajlun; and any one journeying thence to the ford ed-Dâmiyeh would naturally descend as soon as possible into the Ghôr (or Jordan valley), and join the track which passes along it from N. to S. The rest of Jacob’s route would be consistent and intelligible, if Mahanaim (his last halting-place before Penuel, Genesis 32:2 ) were (say) at Deir ‘Allâ, 4 miles N. of the ford by which the track down the Ghôr crosses the Jabbok, Penuel near where the same track crosses the route from es-Salt to ed-Dâmiyeh (see the map), and Succoth on one of the lower terraces of the Jordan valley (which here sinks from -500 ft. to -1000 ft.), W. of the point just suggested for Penuel, S. of the Jabbok, and in the territory of Gad ( Joshua 13:27 ). Whether towns actually stood at or near the sites thus indicated can, of course, be determined only by excavation.

Succoth is said in the Talmud to have been called in later times Tar‘alah or Dar‘alah; and hence it has often been identified with Deir ‘Allâ mentioned above. But it is very doubtful whether Deir ‘Allâ has any connexion with this Talm. name; for Deir is a Syriac and Arabic word (common in names of places) meaning ‘monastery,’ which there is no reason whatever for seeing in the Tar or Dar (without the yod ) of the Talm. name. Nor does the geographical position of Deir ‘Allâ seem to agree with the narrative of either Jacob or Gideon. See, further, Driver in ExpT [Note: Expository Times.] xiii. (1902), p. 457 ff., more briefly in Gen . p. 300 ff.

S. R. Driver.

SUCCOTH (meaning in Heb. ‘booths’). The name of the first encampment in the Exodus, which started from Rameses ( Exodus 12:37; Exodus 13:20 , Numbers 33:5-6 ). It is probably the Egyptian Thuke , the same as or near to Pithom (wh. see), capital of the 8th nome, and situated in the Wady Tumilat.

F. Ll. Griffith.

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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Succoth'. Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible. 1909.

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