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SOCO, SOCOH (sō'kō, Heb. sōkhōh, branches)

One of the cities given to the tribe of Judah (Josh.15.35). Later, King Rehoboam strengthened this city after the northern tribes had revolted (2Chr.11.7). From this city Solomon drew his supplies (1Kgs.4.10). It is identified with Khirbet Shuweikeh.About ten miles (seventeen km.) SW of Hebron lies another city by this name (Josh.15.48).

2. A town in the Shephelah near Azekah (Josh 15:35) on the Valley of Elah, modern Wadi es-Sant. The name is preserved in another Khirbet Shuweikeh, although the actual site is prob. Khirbet ’Abbad, slightly to the W. 1 Samuel 17:1 relates how the Philistines, with Goliath, took over Socoh and then “encamped between Socoh and Azekah, in Ephes-dammim,” when preparing to attack the armies of Israel. Soco was one of the cities that Rehoboam repossessed and fortified after the revolt of the northern tribes (2 Chron 11:7). It was retaken by the Philistines in the reign of Ahaz (2 Chron 28:18).

3. A city in the Sharon Plain under the administration of Ben-hesed in the time of Solomon (1 Kings 4:10). This Socoh is prob. no. 67 in the topographical list of Thut-mose III and no. 38 in the list of Shishak. It has been identified with modern Khirbet Shuweikeh, a little N of modern Tul-Karem.

4. In 1 Chronicles 4:18 it is difficult to know whether Soco is the name of a person or place. It occurs in a genealogy of the “sons of Judah,” yet some of the other names listed are place names in S Judah (cf. Josh 15:48-58). Either the person took his name from the town (see 1 above), or “the sons of various clans are mentioned along with the names of their respective settlements in such a way that a clansman becomes the father of the place occupied” (Y. Aharoni, The Land of the Bible, 225).


G. A. Smith, The Historical Geography of the Holy Land (1931, 1966), 143-162, 460-463; IDB, R-Z (1962), 395; Y. Aharoni, The Land of The Bible, A Historical Geography (1962, 1967), 22f., 45-55, 98-110, 149-155, 226f., 250-255, 288-300, 328-364.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

(sokkhoh, "branches"), (sokho (in Chronicles only); Socho, most usual, but many forms in Septuagint and in the King James Version: Socoh, Shochoh, Shoco, Shocho):

(1) A city in the Shephelah of Judah mentioned along with Jarmuth, Adullam, Azekah, etc. (Jos 15:35); the Philistines "gathered together at Socoh, which belongeth to Judah, and encamped between Socoh and Azekah" (1Sa 17:1); it is mentioned as one of the districts from which Solomon drew his supplies (1Ki 4:10, the King James Version "Sochoh"); the association of Socoh in this verse with Hepher is worth noticing in connection with 1Ch 4:18 ("Heber"). Soco (the King James Version "Shoco") was one of the cities fortified by Rehoboam for the defense of Judah (2Ch 11:7); it was captured by the Philistines in the time of Ahaz (2Ch 28:18). The site is, without doubt, Khirbet esh Shuweikeh (Shuweikeh is a diminutive of Shaukeh, "a thorn"), a rounded, elongated hilltop, showing clear traces of ancient city walls. The situation is one of considerable natural strength on the south side of the Vale of Elah just where the Wady ec Cur makes a sweep to the West and becomes the Wady es Sunt. Like so many such ancient sites, the hill has very steep slopes on 3 sides (South, West, and North), and is isolated from the ridge of higher ground to the East by a narrow neck of lower ground. In the valley to the Southwest is a plentiful spring. The site was known to Jerome in the 4th century. He described it as 8 or 9 Roman miles from Eleutheropolis (Beit Jibrin) (PEF, III, 53, 125, Sh XVII, BR, II, 21). The Sucathites (1Ch 2:55) were probably inhabitants of Soco.

(2) A city of Judah in the South, associated (Jos 15:48) with Shamir and Jattir. This is doubtless Khirbet Shuweikeh, a large ruin occupying a low hill, 10 miles Southwest of Hebron; there are many caves and rock-cut cisterns as well as drafted stones. Cheyne doubtfully locates the Socoh of 1Ki 4:10 here. See PEF, 404, 410, Sh XXV; B R, I, 494.