Acacia Tree


Hebrew: shitta or shittim

Acacia seyal and Acacia tortilis

The shittah tree is mentioned only once in the Bible (Isaiah 41). Referred to many times as shittum, which is the Hebrew plural, the tree is an acacia, one of the thorny trees found in the Holy Land. It is sweet smelling with leaves colored soft green. Acacia flowers are yellow. The tree grows abundantly across Egypt. Smaller numbers are found in arid areas. It is as large as the mulberry tree. Sharp thorns grow from its angular, spreading branches. The bark is gnarly, black, and rough-textured.

The ark built for the Tabernacle was about 2.9 feet long. It was the first piece of furniture built for the Tabernacle. Shittim wood, from which it was made, is a beautiful orange-colored wood, quite heavy and close grained. As it ages, this wood will darken. It is quite insect-resistant. This tree grows as a torrent tree, thriving in the wadies of Sinai and the Dead Sea, but is not found in upper Palestine. The book of Numbers however, does record that the Israelites pitched their tents by Jordan, from Beth-jesimoth even unto Abel-shittum. "Abel-shittum" is translated "meadow of the acacias." Acacia trees also are found in northeast Africa.


Winifred Walker

This tree grows in the deserts of Sinai and et-Tih and around the Dead Sea. Its wood is very hard and heavy and is indestructible by insects. Acacia has a fine, beautiful grain which makes it suitable for construction of the Tabernacle and for the furniture in the Tabernacle.

It yields the official gum Arabic. Shittim, Abel-shittim and the valley of Shittim are named from this tree. Acacia (seyal) is remarkably hearty in arid places growing up to twenty feet. It bears beautiful yellow flowers. The wood is used in tanning leather, as fuel and for parts of mummy cases.

Unger's Bible Dictionary

Exodus 25:10-13 (KJV) And they shall make an ark of shittim wood: two cubits and a half shall be the length thereof, and a cubit and a half the breadth thereof, and a cubit and a half the height thereof..... And thou shalt overlay it with pure gold, within and without shalt thou overlay it, and shalt make upon it a crown of gold round about..... And thou shalt cast four rings of gold for it, and put them in the four corners thereof; and two rings shall be in the one side of it, and two rings in the other side of it. .... And thou shalt make staves of shittim wood, and overlay them with gold.

Isaiah 41:18-20 (KJV) I will open rivers in high places, and fountains in the midst of the valleys: I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water..... I will plant in the wilderness the cedar, the shittah tree, and the myrtle, and the oil tree; I will set in the desert the fir tree, and the pine, and the box tree together: ..... That they may see, and know, and consider, and understand together, that the hand of the LORD hath done this, and the Holy One of Israel hath created it.

You may email your comments to

This page hosted by Get your own Free home page

Back to The Ancient Grove and Garden Home Page