SHITTAH; TREE; SHITTIM WOOD
shit'a, (shiTTah; Septuagint xulon asepton; the Revised Version (British and American) ACACIA TREE (Isaiah 41:19)); (`ace shiTTim; the Revised Version (British and American) ACACIA WOOD (Exodus 25:5,10,13; 26:15,26; 27:1,6; Deuteronomy 10:3)):
The word was originally shinTah, derived from the Arabic sanT, now a name confined to one species of acacia, Acacia nilotica (Natural Order, Leguminosae), but possibly was once a more inclusive term. The Acacia nilotica is at present confined to the Sinaitic peninsula and to Egypt. Closely allied species, the Acacia tortilis and Acacia seyal, both classed together under the Arabic name sayyal, are plentiful in the valleys about the Dead Sea from Engedi southward. Those who have ridden from `Ain Jidy to Jebel Usdum will never forget these most striking features of the landscape. They are most picturesque trees with their gnarled trunks, sometimes 2 ft. thick, their twisted, thorny branches, which often give the whole tree an umbrella-like form, and their fine bipinnate leaves with minute leaflets. The curiously twisted pods and the masses of gum arabic which exude in many parts are also peculiar features. The trees yield a valuable, hard, close-grained timber, not readily attacked by insects.
E. W. G. Masterman
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