Acacia tree in the desert near Masada.

ACACIA ə kā’ shə. There are a number of Acacias mentioned in the Bible, i.e. different species under common names.

1. סְנֶה, H6174, (Exod 3:2-4). The word bush here is prob. the thorny Acacia nilotica, i.e. Egyp. mimosa. It is seen around about the Dead Sea. Moffatt tr. the word as “thorn bush,” and this is undoubtedly right.

3. Acacia arabica may possibly be the tree referred to in Exodus 3. This is the tree which yields gum arabic, though this may not have been known to the ancient Hebrews.

Probably the Acacia was not a native of N Pal., as it is not mentioned at all in the later Biblical books.

If the camphire (כֹּ֤פֶר) referred to in Song of Solomon is henna (see Camphire), then it may be that there is some reference to Acacia catechu—for henna paste is made by mixing the henna leaves when dried and powdered with an extract of the wood of this particular tree.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

ShiTTah (= shinTah) is equivalent to the Arabic sant which is now the name of the Acacia Nilotica (NO, Leguminosae), but no doubt the name once included other species of desert acacias. If one particular species is indicated in the Old Testament it is probably the Acacia Seyal--the Arabic Seyyal--which yields the well-known gum- arabic This tree, which has finely leaves ular flowers, grows to a height of twenty feet or more, and its stem may sometimes reach two feet in thickness. The tree often assumes a characteristic umbrella-like form. The wood is close-grained and is not readily attacked by insects. It would be well suited for such purposes as described, the construction of the ark of the covenant, the altar and boarding of the tabernacle. Even today these trees survive in considerable numbers around `Ain Jidy and in the valleys to the south.

See also

  • Plants