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Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary


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SITTIM, SITTAH, שתים , שתח , Exodus 25:5 ; Exodus 25:10 ; Exodus 25:13 ; Exodus 25:23 ; Exodus 25:28 ; Exodus 26:26 ; Exodus 26:32 ; Exodus 26:37 ; Exodus 27:1 ; Exodus 27:6 ; Exodus 30:5 ; Exodus 35:7 ; Exodus 35:24 ; Exodus 36:20 ; Exodus 36:31 ; Exodus 36:36 ; Exodus 37:1 ; Exodus 37:4 ; Exodus 37:10 ; Exodus 37:15 ; Exodus 37:25 ; Exodus 37:28 ; Exodus 38:1 ; Exodus 38:6 ; Deuteronomy 10:3 ; Isaiah 41:19 . What particular species of wood this is, interpreters are not agreed. The LXX render ασηπτα ξυλα , incorruptible wood. St. Jerom says, the shittim wood grows in the deserts of Arabia, and is like white thorn, as to its colour and leaves: but the tree is so large as to furnish very long planks. The wood is hard, tough, smooth, and extremely beautiful. It is thought that this wood is the black acacia, because that, it is said, is the most common tree growing in the deserts of Arabia; and agrees with what the Scriptures say of the shittim wood. The acacia vera grows abundantly in Egypt, in places far from the sea; in the mountains of Sinai, near the Red Sea, and in the deserts. It is of the size of a large mulberry tree. The spreading branches and larger limbs are armed with thorns which grow three together; the bark is rough; the leaves are oblong, and stand opposite each other; the flowers, though sometimes white, are generally of a bright yellow; and the fruit, which resembles a bean, is contained in pods like those of the lupin. "The acacia tree," says Dr. Shaw, "being by much the largest and most common tree in these deserts, Arabia Petraea, we have some reason to conjecture, that the shittim wood was the wood of the acacia; especially as its flowers are of an excellent smell, for the shittah tree is, in Isaiah 41:19 , joined with the myrtle and other fragrant shrubs."

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Bibliography Information
Watson, Richard. Entry for 'Shittim'. Richard Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary. 1831-2.

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