Shittim

Shit'tim (Heb. with the art. hash-Shittim, הִשַּׁטַּי, the acacias; Sept. Σαττενί; in the Prophets, τὰ σχοῖνα; . Vulg. Settim, Abel-satim), a designation rather than proper name of at least two localities in Palestine. SEE SHITTAH.

1. The place of Israel's encampment between the conquest of the Transjordanic highlands and the passage of the Jordan (Nu 33:49; Nu 25:1; Jos 2:1; Jos 3; Jos 1; Mic 6:5). Its full name appears to be given in the first of these passages — Abel (אָבֵל) hash-Shittim — "the meadow or moist place of the acacias." SEE ABEL-SHITTIM. It was "in the Arboth-Moab, by Jordan-Jericho:" such is the ancient formula repeated over and over again (Nu 22:1; Nu 26:3; Nu 31:12; Nu 33:48-49); that is to say, it was in the Arabah or Jordan valley, opposite Jericho, at that part of the Arabah which belonged to and bore the name of Moab, where the streams which descend from the eastern mountains and force their winding way through the sandy soil of the plain nourished a vast growth of the Seyal, Sant, and Sidr trees, such as is nourished by the streams of the Wady Kelt and the Ain Sultan on the opposite side of the river. SEE MOAB. It was in the shade and the tropical heat of these acacia groves that the people were seduced to the licentious rites of Baalpeor by the Midianites; but it was from the same spot that Moses sent forth the army, under the fierce Phinehas, which worked so fearful a retribution for that license (21-12). It was from the camp at Shittim that Joshua sent out the spies across the river to Jericho (Jos 2; Jos 1). Tristram thinks that the situation of Keferein [of which he gives a view] at the northern margin of the oasis (the Ghor es-Seisam), and its marshy verdure, unmistakably identify it with Abel-shittim" (Land of Israel, p. 525).

2. A "valley" (נִחִל, nachal, winter torrent) of Shittim, or Wady Sunt, as it would now be called, of Joel (Joe 3:18), can hardly be the same spot as that described above, as it must certainly have been west of the Jordan, and probably in the neighborhood of Jerusalem, althomugh the particular vale cannot now be distinguished. The name is probably to be regarded as an appellative "acacia vale" denoting, perhaps, as that tree delights in a dry soil, an arid, unfruitful vale.

Bible concordance for SHITTIM.

See also the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

 
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