Acacia raddiana (Shittah from Original Hebrew) / Red Acacia

The famous Irish comic Frank Carson’s punch line was it’s a cracker sums this one up.  However, when first mentioned in scriptures the wood of the tree is mentioned first as “shittim wood” in Ex 25 v 5.  This was a collective term for a very large family (Genus) of desert growing thorny trees called Acacia’s

Acacia raddiana (Shittah from Original Hebrew) Red Acacia

This tree very similar to our common hawthorn but grows taller has more vicious thorns and a more gnarled and twisted main stem.  It is found in abundance in the Sinai peninsula still.

One could suggest that “shittim” is not a very complementary name for a tree to produce wood to be used to construct the Ark of The Covenant that would contain the Tablets of Stone and that would be placed in the Holy of Holies in the Tabernacle behind specially made curtains held on poles also made from Shittam wood specially crafted by the Israelites as they wandered through the Sinai peninsula due to their indifference to God after their rescue from slavery in Egypt.

So why Acacia raddiana? Recently after much botanical and dendrological debate, Acacia being such a huge group of plants in 2002 was subdivided into 5 sub-divisions for each continent.

So why did God ask the Children of Israel to use “Shittim Wood” for the most important of uses in the Tabernacle.

  1. Could it be that the timber used to growing in dessert conditions would not shrink, twist, warp, or crack as they would be wandering in the wilderness and desert for 40 years. (See picture attached)
  2. The literal translation of raddiana means radiant meaning that the future of the covenant within the Ark would one day radiate around the world and not just for the Jewish Nation. Matt 27 v 51
  3. It was the Red Acacia and possibly its vicious thorns if touched would draw blood (See picture attached)

Years of slavery had taught the Israelites many skills and many were now master Woodworkers, Goldsmiths, Tanners, Robe Makers, Vintners etc., and they had taken as much as their own and Pharaohs belongings with them with their hasty exit. So what God had asked them to do was exceptionally rewarding, and kept them occupied in their wanderings in the desert.  Sound familiar.  Jesus had, wandered, fasted and was tempted for 40 days, and never shrank, twisted warped or cracked.  He prayed in Gethsemane and never cracked, He hung on a cross pierced by vicious thorns and nails, and on Good Friday when He cried “IT IS FINISHED”, the big beautifully made Purple Curtain hung on Acacia poles was torn from top to bottom by God our Heavenly Father, to allow His Son’s presence to radiate throughout the world.  Every Easter Day, we celebrate His radiance filling the earth, because of what He did at Calvary.