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HEBREW: 5862 Mjye `Eytam
NAVE: Etam
EBD: Etam
Esther | Esther, Book of | Esther, The Rest Of | Estimate | Esyelus | Etam | Etam, The Rock | Eternal | Eternal death | Eternal Life | Eternal Punishment


In Bible versions:

a town of Simeon 8 km west. of Beer-Sheba
a town of Judah near Bethlehem built by Rehoboam
father of Jezreel, Ishma, and Idbash and sister Hazzelelponi
a place; a steep precipice in Judah and a cave in its face

their bird, their covering
Google Maps: Etam (1) (31° 44´, 35° 3´); Etam (2) (31° 22´, 34° 51´); Etam (3) (31° 41´, 35° 10´)


Strongs #05862: Mjye `Eytam

Etam = "lair of wild beasts"

1) a village of the tribe of Simeon
2) a town in Judah fortified and garrisoned by king Rehoboam of Judah
and located between Bethlehem and Tekoa
3) a cliff; site uncertain

5862 `Eytam ay-tawm'

from 5861; hawk-ground; Etam, a place in Palestine:-Etam.
see HEBREW for 05861

Etam [EBD]

eyrie. (1.) A village of the tribe of Simeon (1 Chr. 4:32). Into some cleft ("top," A.V.,; R.V., "cleft") of a rock here Samson retired after his slaughter of the Philistines (Judg. 15:8, 11). It was a natural stronghold. It has been identified with Beit 'Atab, west of Bethlehem, near Zorah and Eshtaol. On the crest of a rocky knoll, under the village, is a long tunnel, which may be the "cleft" in which Samson hid.

(2.) A city of Judah, fortified by Rehoboam (2 Chr. 11:6). It was near Bethlehem and Tekoah, and some distance apparently to the north of (1). It seems to have been in the district called Nephtoah (or Netophah), where were the sources of the water from which Solomon's gardens and pleasure-grounds and pools, as well as Bethlehem and the temple, were supplied. It is now 'Ain 'Atan, at the head of the Wady Urtas, a fountain sending forth a copious supply of pure water.

Etam [NAVE]

1. A village of Simeon, 1 Chr. 4:32.
2. A city in Judah, 2 Chr. 11:6.
3. A name in list of Judah's descendants, but probably referring to No. 2, 1 Chr. 4:3.
4. A rock where Samson was bound and delivered to the Philistines, Judg. 15:8, 11-13.


(lair of wild beasts).
  1. A village of the tribe of Simeon, specified only in the list in (1 Chronicles 4:32) comp. Josh 19:7
  2. A place in Judah, fortified and garrisoned by Rehoboam. (2 Chronicles 11:6) Here, according to the statements of Josephus and the Talmudists, were the sources of the water from which Solomon?s gardens and the pleasure-grounds were fed, and Bethlehem and the temple supplied.


ETAM - e'-tam `eTam; Codex Alexandrinus, Apan, Codex Vaticanus, Aitan):

(1) Mentioned in Septuagint along with Tekoa, Bethlehem and Phagor (Josh 15:59). In 2 Ch 11:6 it occurs, between Bethlehem and Tekoa, as one of the cities built "for defense in Judah" by Rehoboam. Josephus writes that "there was a certain place, about 50 furlongs distant from Jerusalem which is called Ethan, very pleasant it is in fine gardens and abounding in rivulets of water; whither he (Solomon) used to go out in the morning" (Ant., VIII, vii, 3). Mention of `Ain `Aitan, which is described as the most elevated place in Palestine, occurs in the Talmud (Zebhachim 54b), and in the Jer. Talmud (Yoma' 3 fol 41) it is mentioned that a conduit ran from `Atan to the Temple.

The evidence all points to `Ain `Atan, the lowest of the springs supplying the aqueduct running to Solomon's pools. The gardens of Solomon may very well--by tradition, at any rate--have been in the fertile valley below `Urtas. The site of the ancient town Etam is rather to be looked for on an isolated hill, with ancient remains, a little to the East of `Ain `Atan. 1 Ch 4:3 may also have reference to this Etam.

(2) A town assigned to Simeon (1 Ch 4:32). Mentioned with EN-RIMMON (which see), identified by Conder with Khurbet `AiTun in the hills Northwest of Beersheba.

(3) The rock of Etam, where Samson took up his dwelling after smiting the Philistines "hip and thigh with a great slaughter" (Jdg 15:8,11), was in Judah but apparently in the low hill country (same place) . The rocky hill on which lies the village of Beit `Atab, near Sur`ah (Zorah), was suggested by Conder, but unless (3) is really identical width (1), which is quite possible, the cavern known as `Arak Isma`in, described by Hanauer (PEFS, 1886, 25), suits the requirements of the story better. The cavern, high up on the northern cliffs of the Wady Isma`in, is a noticeable object from the railway as the train enters the gorge.

E. W. G. Masterman

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