Identification Of Succoth And Penuel -- By: Selah Merrill

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 034:136 (Oct 1877)
Article: Identification Of Succoth And Penuel
Author: Selah Merrill


Identification Of Succoth And Penuel

Rev. Selah Merrill

These places are mentioned in the Bible in connection with such men and events as to make their identification a matter of peculiar interest and importance. Although the references to them are clear and explicit, it has at the same time required an unusual amount of study and research to find a definite and reliable clew to their location. And this remark applies with equal force to other sites east of the Jordan of which we have notices in the Bible. If sometimes there appears to be confusion in such biblical notices, it arises not from ignorance or carelessness on the part of the sacred writers, but from our inability to obtain the key to the topography of the country at the particular periods of history when those writers lived. The number of puzzling questions in biblical geography that have already been solved by patient research is something remarkable, and encourages us to hope that by a thorough exploration of the country we shall be able to locate with absolute or approximate certainty the larger part of those biblical sites which still remain unidentified. Among the places that have been brought to light by recent and careful researches carried on in the country itself I may mention, besides Succoth and Penuel, Horonaim, the Cities of the Plain, Ephron of the Maccabees, “the land of Tob “where Jephthah was living when called to be captain and judge of Israel, Golan, “the wood of Ephraim “where the battle took place between the forces of David and Absalom, Pella, Jabesh,Gilead, and Tishbi the home of Elijah. It is hoped that the details with regard to the identification of these and other places will, when published, prove of interest to the students of the Bible.

I dislike to say anything that shall appear like a criticism of so eminent a biblical scholar as Dr. Grove, yet it seems to me that in his Article in Smith’s Bible Dictionary he has misunderstood Burckhardt’s account of “Sukkot.” Burckhardt (p. 345, note) says: “Near where we crossed, to the south, are the ruins of Sukkot.” There can be no doubt that the whole paragraph from which this sentence is taken refers to the west bank of the Jordan; for it begins with the Lake of Tiberias, and ends with Jericho. Dr. Grove, however, supposes that Burckhardt refers to a place on the east side of the river. But it will be noticed that in his text (pp. 345, 346), after he has crossed the river, he gives with great minuteness the names of all wadies, ruins, and tombs between the crossing and the Zerka or Jabbok, and among them Sukkot is not mentioned. Burckhardt did not himself visit Sukkot. Dr. Robinson and Mr. Van de Velde visited a place on the west of the river, about ten miles south of Beisan, which th...

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