(Shitʹtim) [acacia trees].
1. A location on the desert plains of Moab to which the encampment of the Israelites extended from Beth-jeshimoth. (Num. 25:1; 33:49; Josh. 2:1) Evidently “Shittim” is a shortened form of the name “Abel-shittim” (meadow of the acacia trees). It is commonly identified with Tell el-Kefrein, a low hill about five miles (8 kilometers) NE of Beth-jeshimoth (Tell el-ʽAzeimeh, near the NE corner of the Dead Sea). However, some prefer Tell el-Hammam, a larger site occupying a very strategic position and lying about one and a half miles (2.5 kilometers) E of Tell el-Kefrein.
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, including Shittim, Jehovah frustrated Balak’s attempt to have Balaam curse the Israelites; he blocked the Moabite effort from bringing ruin to his people. He enabled them 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 “rolled away the reproach of Egypt.”—Num. 22:4–25:8; 31:3-11, 48-50; Josh. 3:1, 14-17; 5:9.
2. The “torrent valley of the Acacia Trees” (Shittim), if designating a particular torrent valley, may be the lower course of the torrent valley of Kidron.—Joel 3:18.