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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature


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(Heb. Abel' hash-Shittim', הִשַּׁבַּים אָבֵל , meadow of the acacias Sept. ‘Αβελσαττείν, Vulg. Abel-satim), a town in the plains of Moab, on the east of the Jordan, between which and Beth-Jesimoth was the last encampment of the Israelites on that side the river (Numbers 33:49). (See EXODE). The place is noted for the severe punishment which was there inflicted upon the Israelites when they were seduced into the worship of Baal-Peor, through their evil intercourse with the Moabites and Midianites. (See BAAL). Eusebius (Onomast. Σατγεῖν ) says it was situated near Mount Peor (Reland, Paloest. p. 520). In the time of Josephus it was a town embosomed in palms, still known as Abila or Abile (‘Αβίλα or ‘Αβίλη ), and stood sixty stadia from the Jordan (Ant. 4:8, 1; v. 1, 1). Rabbinical authorities assign it the same relative position (Schwarz, Palest. p. 229). It is more frequently called SHITTIM (See SHITTIM) merely (Numbers 25:1; Joshua 2:1; Micah 6:5). From the above notices (which all refer to the sojourn of the Israelites there), it appears to have been situated nearly opposite Jericho, in the eastern plain of Jordan, about where Wady Seir opens into the Ghor. The acacia-groves on both sides of the Jordan still "mark with a line of verdure the upper terraces of the valley" (Stanley, Palestine, p. 292), and doubtless gave name to this place (Wilson, Lands of the Bible, 2:17).

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Abel-Shittim'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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