🔼The name Socoh: Summary
- [His/Her] Hedge, Thicket
- From the root סכך (sakak), to weave a protection.
🔼The name Socoh in the Bible
There are one man and two towns named Socoh (also transliterated as Soco, or even Shocho) in the Bible, both situated in the territory of the tribe of Judah. The man named Socoh (שוכו) is a son of Heber, who was a son of Jehudijah and her husband Ezrah (1 Chronicles 4:18). Some commentators believe that this Socoh wasn't really a man but rather the first of the two towns named Socoh (because the phrase "father of" may also denote the founder or leader of a town):
- A town (שוכה) in the southern lowland of Judah (Joshua 15:35). This town appears to have been situated in the valley of Elah, because in the introduction of the story of the battle in the valley of Elah (during which young David killed Goliath of Gath), we are told that the Philistines gathered at Socoh of Judah (1 Samuel 17:1). During the reign of king Solomon, an official named Ben-hesed was stationed at Arubboth and "Socoh (שכה) was his and all the land of Hepher". (1 Kings 4:10). Solomon's successor Rehoboam fortified Socoh (2 Chronicles 11:7) but during the reign of king Ahaz, the Philistines invaded Judah again and captured Socoh (2 Chronicles 28:18).
- A town in the highlands of Judah (Joshua 15:48).
🔼Etymology of the name Socoh
The name Socoh probably comes from the noun שוך (suk), meaning hedge, and ultimately from the root סכך (sakak), meaning to weave a protection:
The root סכך (sakak) or שכך (sakak) speaks of the creation of a hedge of sorts from interwoven strands of sorts. It commonly describes how prickly branches interweave to create a defensive hedge to hide behind and to look intently out from. In a figurative sense it may describe any sort of protective thing that consists of many separate branches, and from which one looks out.
The Psalmist famously connected this verb to the formation of a human fetus (Psalm 139:13), but it also obviously links to human culture and science and technology at large. The evangelists openly referred to all this by means of the famous "crown of thorns."
Nouns מסך (masak), מסכה (mesuka) and מוסך (musak) describe coverings or screens (mostly of the tabernacle). Noun סך (sak) means throng or multitude; an "interwoven mass" of people. Nouns סך (sok) and סכה (sukka) describe a thicket or lair from where a lion would lay in wait to pounce on a prey. The latter noun is also often used to describe woven booths to stall cattle or even to house soldiers or guards. This noun occurs frequently in the legislation concerning the Feast Of Booths.
Noun שך (sok) means booth or pavilion. Noun משכה (mesukka) means hedge. Noun שך (sek) means thorn and noun שכה (sukka) means barb. Noun שכון (sakkin) means knife. This noun may actually be a loanword but it fits right in.
Verb סוך (suk) or סיך (syk) describes the administration of oil — apparently in the expectation that this would protect the recipient, since this two-faced verb may also be used to mean to hedge in. To solve this conundrum, dictionaries propose a whole separate verb, which accidentally may also be spelled in two identical ways. Noun אסוך ('asuk) means [oil-] flask. Noun מסכה (mesuka) means hedge and is obviously similar to משכה (mesukka) meaning hedge.
Verb שוך (suk) means to hedge or fence up. It too yields a noun משכה (mesuka), meaning hedge. Nouns שוך (sok) and שוכה (soka) mean branch.
Verb שכה (saka) means to look out, keep watch or even hope for. Nouns שכוי (sekwi) and שכיה (sekiya) denote a kind of celestial sign or appearance. Noun משכית (maskit) denotes a kind of show-piece, real or imaginary.
The letter ו (waw) may have originated in the third person masculine possessive pronoun: his. The letter ה (he) could be the feminine equivalent: her.
For a meaning of the name Socoh, NOBSE Study Bible Name List appears to go after the noun שך (sek) and reads Thorn. Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names takes our name from the verb שוך (suk) and translates it as Hedge or Fence. BDB Theological Dictionary does not offer an interpretation of this name but does list it under the verb שוך (suk).