SHITTAH TREE (שִׁטָּה, H8847). From the shittâ tree is derived “shittim wood,” mentioned twenty-six times in the OT, largely in Exodus. However, in
Shittim is the place from which Joshua sent out the spies—a place where there was a forest of Shittahs.
Actually, the word shiṭṭâ is the sing. and shiṭṭîm the pl. The RSV trs. the words as “acacia tree” and “acacia wood,” which is undoubtedly right.
There are two acacia species, Acacia seyal and Acacia tortilis. They are the only trees that grow well in the barren regions. The tortilis is the most common and the largest, the brown wood being fine-grained and much used in furniture making. It was particularly suitable for making the ark, the altar and tables for the Tabernacle.