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Bible Encyclopedias

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia


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shit´im ( השּׁטּים , ha - shiṭṭı̄m , "the acacias"; Σαττείν , Satteı́n ):

(1) This marked the last camping-ground of Israel before they crossed the Jordan to begin the conquest of Western Palestine. Here it was that the people fell into the snare set for them by the satanic counsel of Balaam, who thus brought upon them greater evil than all his prohibited curses could have done (Numbers 25:1 ff; Numbers 31:16 ). In Numbers 33:49 it is called Abel-shittim . It was from Shittim that Joshua sent the spies to view out the land and Jericho (Joshua 2:1 ); and from this point the host moved forward to the river (Joshua 3:1 ). The place is mentioned by Micah in a passage of some difficulty (Joshua 6:5 ): after "what Balaam the son of Beor answered," perhaps some such phrase as "remember what I did" has fallen out. This would then be a reference to the display of divine power in arresting the flow of Jordan until the host had safely crossed. Josephus places the camp "near Jordan where the city Abila now stands, a place full of palm trees" (Ant. , IV, viii, 1). Eusebius, Onomasticon says Shittim was near to Mt. Peor (Fogor). It may possibly be identical with Khirbet el -Kefrain , about 6 miles South of the Jordan, on the lip of Wâdy Seisebān , where there are many acacias.

(2) In Joel 3:18 we read of the valley of Shittim which is to be watered by a fountain coming forth of the house of the Lord. It must therefore be sought on the West of the Jordan. The waters from the Jerusalem district are carried to the Dead Sea down the Wâdy which continues the Brook Kidron: Wâdy en -Nār . The acacia is found plentifully in the lower reaches of this valley, which may possibly be intended by the prophet.

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Bibliography Information
Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. Entry for 'Shittim'. International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. 1915.

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