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SHITTIM:

Valley north of the Dead Sea on the left bank of the Jordan, in which the children of Israel, before their entry into the Promised Land, cohabited with the daughters of Moab and Midian. The Arabic name of the valley is Wady Sitti Maryam, or Wady al-Nar. According to the Biblical reports, it was in this valley that the Israelites were detained by a plague which raged until the guilty Israelites had been hanged, and until Zimri, the son of Salu, who had committed immoralities with a Midianitish woman, had been slain by Phinehas, the grandson of Aaron (Num. xxv.). It was from this valley, furthermore, that Joshua, somewhat later, sent out the two spies to Jericho (Josh. ii. 1) and the Israelites went forward to the Jordan (Josh iii. 1). The prophet Micah (vi. 5) depicts the ingratitude of Israel toward Yhwh by recalling what happenedat Shittim, and Joel (iii. 18) prophesies that the fountain which comes forth from the Temple shall water the valley of Shittim. Driver, in "Bible for Schools and Colleges," explains the place mentioned in II Sam. xv. 23 as being identical with the Kidron, in proof of this assertion quoting Ezek. xlvii. 1-12 and Zech. xiv. 8, in which merely the "naḥal" is mentioned.

According to Yalḳuṭ Shim'oni and Num. R. xxv. 1, the Shittim River is identical with the river whose waters deprave those who drink them and from which the Sodomites had drunk. With reference to the transgression of Israel it is called "Siṭṭim" (that which leads to crime) instead of "Shiṭṭim" (the acacia).

E. G. H. S. O.
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