(Heb. shittim) Exodus 25:5 , RSV probably the Acacia seyal (the gum-arabic tree); called the "shittah" tree ( Isaiah 41:19 ). Its wood is called shittim wood ( Exodus 26:15 Exodus 26:26 ; Exodus 25:10 Exodus 25:13 Exodus 25:23 Exodus 25:28 , etc.). This species (A. seyal) is like the hawthorn, a gnarled and thorny tree. It yields the gum-arabic of commerce. It is found in abundance in the Sinaitic peninsula.
a-ka'-sha (shiTTah, the shittah tree of the King James Version, Isaiah 41:19, and `atse-shiTTah, acacia wood; shittah wood the King James Version, Exodus 25:5,10,13; 26:15,26; 27:1,6; Deuteronomy 10:3.):
ShiTTah (= shinTah) is equivalent to the Arabic sant which is now the name of the Acacia Nilotica (NO, Leguminosae), but no doubt the name once included other species of desert acacias. If one particular species is indicated in the Old Testament it is probably the Acacia Seyal--the Arabic Seyyal--which yields the well-known gum- arabic This tree, which has finely leaves ular flowers, grows to a height of twenty feet or more, and its stem may sometimes reach two feet in thickness. The tree often assumes a characteristic umbrella-like form. The wood is close-grained and is not readily attacked by insects. It would be well suited for such purposes as described, the construction of the ark of the covenant, the altar and boarding of the tabernacle. Even today these trees survive in considerable numbers around `Ain Jidy and in the valleys to the south.
E. W. G. Masterman
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