A rooflike shelter constructed of tree branches and leaves, sometimes with a wooden floor elevated off the ground; in Hebrew, suk·kahʹ (sokh in La 2:6), and in Greek, ske·neʹ. (Ac 15:16) During the annual Festival of Booths at Jerusalem, booths were built on housetops, in courtyards, in public squares, even on the temple grounds, and around the roads near Jerusalem. Branches of poplar, olive, and oil trees as well as the leaves of the palm and the fragrant myrtle were used in their construction. This was to remind Israel that Jehovah made them dwell in booths when he brought them up out of Egypt.—Le 23:34, 40-43; Ne 8:15; see FESTIVAL OF BOOTHS.
Booths were also used for a number of practical purposes. Jacob made booths under which to shelter his herd, and he affixed to that place the name Succoth, meaning “Booths.” (Ge 33:17) Booths were used by armies in the field, especially by the officers.—1Ki 20:12, 16.
A booth, or hut, was often built in a vineyard or in the center of a field so that the watchman could have shelter from the hot sun as he kept guard against thieves or animals. (Isa 1:8) There the harvesters enjoyed their noonday meals in the shade and saved time otherwise lost by going in from the field. Thickly thatched leaves kept the rain off those beneath. (Isa 4:6) Jonah made himself such a booth so that it might protect him from the sun as he waited to see what would become of Nineveh, against which he had prophesied.—Jon 4:5.
Figurative Uses. Isaiah illustrates the desolated condition of Jerusalem in Jehovah’s eyes, likening it to a booth in a vineyard, in contrast to a populous, built-up city. (Isa 1:8) Jehovah pictures himself as dwelling in a booth of clouds when he temporarily descends from heaven to earth. There majestic omnipotence conceals itself, and from there come the crashings of thunder. (Ps 18:9, 11; 2Sa 22:10, 12; Job 36:29) David likens the place of concealment for those trusting in Jehovah to Jehovah’s “booth.”—Ps 31:20.
Amos refers to the rebuilding of “the booth of David that is fallen.” (Am 9:11) David was promised by Jehovah that David’s kingdom would be steadfast to time indefinite. Regarding the overthrow of the kingdom of Judah and its last king Zedekiah of the line of David, Ezekiel was inspired to prophesy: “A ruin, a ruin, a ruin I shall make it. As for this also, it will certainly become no one’s until he comes who has the legal right, and I must give it to him.” (Eze 21:27) From this time on no king of the line of David occupied “Jehovah’s throne” in Jerusalem. (1Ch 29:23) But Peter on the day of Pentecost, 33 C.E., pointed out that Jesus Christ was of David’s line and the one of whom God really spoke as being the permanent King. Peter informed the Jews gathered there at Jerusalem that, in their time, Jehovah had raised Jesus up and made him both Lord and Christ. (Ac 2:29-36) Later, the disciple James applied Amos’ prophecy as undergoing fulfillment in the gathering of disciples of Christ (Kingdom heirs) from both the Jews and the Gentile nations.—Ac 15:14-18; Ro 8:17.