ABEL SHITTIM (ā'bĕl shĭt'ĭm, Heb. ’āvēl ha-shittîm, acacia meadow). A locality in the plains of Moab where Israel rested for the last time before crossing the Jordan (
ABEL-SHITTIM ā’ bəl shĭt’ ĭm (אָבֵ֣ל הַשִּׁטִּ֑ים, meadow of the acacias). This full form occurs only in
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)
The name appears only in
For many weeks before crossing the Jordan, Israel was encamped in the vicinity of the Jordan valley, North of the Dead Sea, East of the river. The notices in the Bible, supplemented by those in Josephus and Eusebius and Jerome, indicate that the camping region was many miles in extent, the southern limit being Beth-jeshimoth, toward the Dead Sea, while Abel of the Acacias was the northern limit and the headquarters. The headquarters are often spoken of as East of the Jordan at Jericho (e.g.
Josephus is correct in saying that Abel of the Acacias is the place from which the Deuteronomic law purports to have been given. In his time the name survived as Abila, a not very important town situated there. He says that it was "sixty furlongs from Abila to the Jordan," that is a little more than seven English miles (Ant., IV, viii, 1 and V, i, 1; BJ, IV, vii, 6). There seems to be a consensus for locating the site at Kefrein, near where the wady of that name comes down into the Jordan valley.
Willis J. Beecher