(Shitʹtim) [Acacia [Trees]].
1. A location on the desert plains of Moab to which the encampment of the Israelites extended from Beth-jeshimoth. (Nu 25:1; 33:49; Jos 2:1) Evidently “Shittim” is a shortened form of the name Abel-shittim (Watercourse of the Acacia [Trees]). Some have identified it with Tell el-Kefrein, a low hill about 8 km (5 mi) NE of Beth-jeshimoth (Tell el-ʽAzeimeh, near the NE corner of the Dead Sea). However, Tell el-Hammam, a larger site occupying a strategic position and lying 2.5 km (1.5 mi) E of Tell el-Kefrein, is preferred.
By means of his prophet Micah, Jehovah reminded the Israelites of what he had done in their behalf: “O my people, remember, please, what Balak the king of Moab counseled, and what Balaam the son of Beor answered him. From Shittim it was, all the way to Gilgal, to the intent that the righteous acts of Jehovah might be known.” (Mic 6:5) While Israel was encamped on the Plains of Moab, which included Shittim, Jehovah frustrated Balak’s attempt to have Balaam curse the Israelites; he blocked the Moabite effort to bring ruin to his people. He enabled Israel to defeat the Midianites, who, along with the Moabites, had shared in getting many Israelites to become involved in immorality and idolatry. Jehovah brought Israel across the Jordan by a miracle, and at Gilgal he “rolled away the reproach of Egypt.”—Nu 22:4–25:8; 31:3-11, 48-50; Jos 3:1, 14-17; 5:9.
2. If it designates a particular torrent valley, “the torrent valley of the Acacia Trees” (Shittim) may be the lower course of the torrent valley of Kidron.—Joe 3:18.