🔼The name Succoth: Summary
- Booths, Weavings
- From the root סכך (sakak), to weave a protection.
🔼The name Succoth in the Bible
There are two places called Succoth in the Bible:
- The place where Jacob settled after his bout with the Angel of YHWH: "And Jacob journeyed to Succoth (סכת), and built for himself a house, and made booths (סכת) for his livestock. Therefore the place is named Succoth (סכות)" (Genesis 33:17). Some have noted that this may indicate the point in time when people began to build stables for their cattle, but the meaning of the name of Jacob's mother Rebekah may already hint at that.
- Israel's first camp out of Egypt (Exodus 12:37 and 13:20, spelled סכת).
🔼Etymology of the name Succoth
The name Succoth comes from the verb סכך (sakak), meaning to cover or to weave:
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.
For a meaning of the name Succoth, both Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names and NOBSE Study Bible Name List read Booths and although that is correct, it should be noted that the building of shelters for cattle pretty much marked the beginning of the agricultural revolution and thus of modern humanity. Modern humanity, in turn, exists because of man's amazing ability to combine different strands of wisdom (how to grow corn, how to make bronze, how to write) into one sizzling unified culture. That too sits in this name.