From BiblePortal Wikipedia

Fausset's Bible Dictionary [1]

1. A village in the S. of Simeon ( 1 Chronicles 4:32).

2. In Judah, garrisoned by Rehoboam ( 2 Chronicles 11:6); near Bethlehem and Tekoah. Etam was one of Judah's descendants ( 1 Chronicles 4:3).

3. Etam The Rock Now Beit 'Arab, a steep, stony, bore knoll, standing amidst the winding, narrow valleys, without a blade of grain on its sides, but olive groves at its feet and three abundant springs. This answers to Etam, which was large enough for 3,000 men of Judah to go up to its top. It is not far from Manoah's patrimony from whence Samson "went down" to it. Lower than Eshu'a (Eshtaol) toward the S., yet conspicuous from more than one side (Courier). Into a cleft of it Samson retired after slaying the Philistines for burning the Timnite woman who was to have been his wife ( Judges 15:8;  Judges 15:11-19). In Judah, with Lehi or En-hak-kore at its foot.

Probably near the city Etam (2): distant enough from Tinmath to seem a safe retreat for Samson from the Philistines' revenge, yet not too far for them to reach in searching after him; The many springs and rocky eminences round Urtas seem the likely site where to find the rock of Etam and the En-hak-kore. Conder identifying Etam with Beit 'Atab says that Etam, meaning in Hebrew "cleft," answers to the singular rock tunnel, roughly hewn in the stone, and running from the midst of the village eastward to the chief spring. This cavern, which is called "the place of refuge," is 250 ft. long, and from 5 to 8 ft. high, and 18 ft. wide.

Here Samson could hide without any one lighting, except by accident, on the entrance of the tunnel. Its lowness compared with the main ridge of the watershed accounts for the "came down." Josephus (Ant. 8:7, sec. 3) mentions an Etham 50 furlongs from Jerusalem, where were the sources from which Solomon's pleasure grounds were watered, and Bethlehem and the temple supplied. Williams (Holy City, 2:500) says there is a wady Etam still on the way from Jerusalem to Hebron. A spring exists a few hundred yards S.E. of El-Burak (Solomon's Pools) called Ain Atan, answering to the Hebrew for Etam (Tyrwhitt Drake, Palestine Exploration)

Easton's Bible Dictionary [2]

  • A city of Judah, fortified by Rehoboam ( 2 Chronicles 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.

    Copyright Statement These dictionary topics are from M.G. Easton M.A., DD Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Third Edition, published by Thomas Nelson, 1897. Public Domain.

    Bibliography Information Easton, Matthew George. Entry for 'Etam'. Easton's Bible Dictionary. 1897.

  • Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [3]

    ETAM . An altogether obscure place name, applied to a rock in a cleft of which Samson took refuge (  Judges 15:8 ), whence he was dislodged by the Judahites (v. 11), and therefore presumably in Judahite territory (cf.   1 Chronicles 4:3 ). Also applied to a village in the tribe of Simeon (  1 Chronicles 4:32 ), and a town fortified by Rehoboam (  2 Chronicles 11:6 ). Whether there are here one or two or three places, and where it or they were, are unanswered questions.

    R. A. S. Macalister.

    People's Dictionary of the Bible [4]

    Etam ( Ç'Tam ), the Rock. The place of Samson's retreat after the slaughter of the Philistines.  Judges 15:8;  Judges 15:11. Conder locates it at Beit ʾAtâb, a little north of EshuʾA (Eshtaol), which he thinks fully meets all the requisites of the case. It has clefts, caves, and a rock tunnel which would so effectually conceal one that those not acquainted with the place might not find him, nor even the entrance to the tunnel, except by accident.

    Smith's Bible Dictionary [5]

    E'tam. (Lair Of Wild Beasts).

    1. A village of the tribe of Simeon, specified only in the list in  1 Chronicles 4:32. Compare  Joshua 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.

    American Tract Society Bible Dictionary [6]

    A town in Judah near Bethlehem and Tekoa; a favorite resort of Solomon, and fortified by Rehoboam,  1 Chronicles 4:3,32   2 Chronicles 11:6 . Its supposed site is now occupied by a ruined village balled Urtas, a mile and a half southwest of Bethlehem, not far Solomon's Pools. "The rock Etam" to which Samson withdrew,  Judges 15:8-19 , may have been in this vicinity, perhaps the Frank mountain two miles east.

    Holman Bible Dictionary [7]

     Judges 15:8-13 Joshua 15:59  2 Chronicles 11:6 2 Chronicles 10:2 2 Chronicles 12:2-4 1 Chronicles 4:3 4 1 Chronicles 4:32 Joshua 19:7

    Morrish Bible Dictionary [8]

    1. Village of the tribe of Simeon.  1 Chronicles 4:32 .

    2. City of Judah,fortified by Rehoboam.  2 Chronicles 11:6 . Identified with ruins at Aitun, 31 30' N, 3455' E.

    3. A descendant of Judah.  1 Chronicles 4:3 . The meaning is doubtful; some MSS read 'sons of Etam;' and others, 'sons of the father of Etam;' it may refer to the 'founder' of the above city, No. 2.

    Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [9]

    (Hebrew Eytam', עֵיטָם , Eyrie, I.E., place of ravenous birds; Sept. Ητάμ in Judges, Αἰτάμ in  1 Chronicles 4:3, elsewhere Αἰτάν ; Josephus Αἰτάν in Ant. 5:8, 8, ᾿Ηταμέ in Ant. 8:10, 1, ῎Ηθαμ in Ant. 8:7 7, 3; Vulg. Etam), the name apparently of two places in Palestine.

    1. A village ( הָצֵר ) of the tribe of Simeon, specified only in the list in  1 Chronicles 4:32 (comp.  Joshua 19:7); but that it is intentionally introduced appears from the fact that the number of places is summed as five, though in the parallel list as four. Near this place (hence its name, q.d. eagle's nest) was probably situated a "rock" ( סֶלִע , Πέτρα , Silex) or clif, into a cleft or chasm ( סְעַי Š , A.V. "top") of which Samson retired after his slaughter of the Philistines, in revenge for their burning the Timnite woman who was to have been his wife ( Judges 15:8;  Judges 15:11). This natural stronghold ( Πέτρα Δ᾿ Ἐστὶν Ὀχυρά , Josephus, Ant. 5:8, 8) was in the territory usually assigned to the tribe of Judab yet not far from the Philistine border; and near it, probably at its foot, was Lehi or Ramath-lehi, and Enhak-kore (15:9, 14, 17, 19). As Van de Velde has, with great probability, identified Lehi with Lekiyeh, on the edge of the Philistine plain S.E. of Gaza (Narrative, 2:141), he is probably also right in locating this Etam at tell Khewefeh, a little north of it (Memoir, page 311), in the immediate vicinity of tell Hua or En-hakkore (q.v.). Schwarz's location of Etam at Khudna (he says Gutna, i.e., Utma, Palest. page 124) is without support.

    2. A city in the tribe of Judah, fortified and garrisoned by Rehoboam ( 2 Chronicles 11:6). From its position in this list we may conclude that it was near Bethlehem and Tekoah; and in accordance with this is the mention of the name among the ten cities which the Sept. insert in the text of  Joshua 15:60, "Thecoe and Ephratha, which is Bethleem, Phagor and Etan ( Αἰτάν )," etc. Here, according to the statements of the Talmudists, were the sources of the water from in which Solomon's gardens and pleasure-grounds were fed, and Bethlehem and the Temple supplied. (See Lightfoot, on  John 5:1-47) Hence we may perhaps infer that the site was identical with that of Solomon's Pools at El-Buruk, near Bethlehem (see Schwarz, Palaest. page 268). (See Jerusalem); (See Water). Josephus (Ant. 8:7, 3) places it at fifty stadia (in some copies sixty) from Jerusalem (southward), and alleges that Solomon was in the habit of taking a morning drive to this favored spot in his chariot. It is thus probable that this weas the site of one of Solomon's houses of pleasure, where he made him gardens and orchards, and pools of water ( Ecclesiastes 2:5-6). The same name occurs in the lists of Judah's descendants ( 1 Chronicles 4:3), but probably referring to the same place, Bethlehem being mentioned in the following verse. (See Jezreel)

    3. Dr. Robinson (Researches, 1:515; 2:168) inclines to find Etam at a place about a mile and a half south of Bethlehem, where there is a ruined village called Urtas, at the bottom of a pleasant valley of the same name. Here there are traces of ancient ruins, and also a fountain, sending forth a copious supply of fine water, which forms a beautiful purling rill along the bottom of the valley. This location is in accordance with all the foregoing notices, and is adjacent to Solomon's Pools (Thomson, Land and Book, 2:431). Williams (Holy City, 2:500) fully accredits the above Rabbinical account, and also states that the old name is perpetuated in a wady Etam, which is on the way to Hebron from Jerusalem, and that there are still connected with it the largest and most luxuriant gardens to be met with in the hilly region of Judaea.

    Eternal is in general the rendering in the A.V. of the Hebrews עוֹלָם olam', and the Greek Αἰών or Αἰώνιος (both frequently "everlasting," "ever," etc.), besides occasionally of קֶדֶם , Ke'Demn (strictly Early, Of Yore, referring to the past,  Deuteronomy 33:27, elsewhere "ancient," of old," etc.), and Ἀϊ v Διος ( Romans 1:20; "everlasting,"  Judges 1:6), which is kindred in etymology and import with Αἰώνιος . Both עוֹלָם and Αἰών are properly represented by "eternal," inasmuch as they usually refer to indefinite time past as well as fetusre. The former is from the root עָלִם , To Hide, and thus strictly designates the occult time of the past, q.d. "time out of mind," or time immemorial (Psalm 129:24;  Jeremiah 6:16;  Jeremiah 18:15;  Job 22:15;  Amos 9:11;  Deuteronomy 32:7;  Proverbs 22:28;  Psalms 24:7;  Psalms 143:3;  Ezekiel 26:20), but not necessarily remote antiquity ( Psalms 139:24;  Job 22:15;  Jeremiah 6:16;  Jeremiah 18:15;  Daniel 9:24; and especially.  Isaiah 58:12;  Isaiah 61:4). Prospsetively it denotes an indefinite time to come, Forever, I.E., relatively, e.g. to an individual life ( Deuteronomy 15:17,  Exodus 21:6;  1 Samuel 27:12, etc.), that of a race ( 1 Samuel 2:20;  1 Samuel 13:12;  2 Samuel 7:16;  1 Chronicles 17:12, etc.), or of the present constitution of the universe ( Ecclesiastes 1:4;  Psalms 104:5;  Psalms 78:69, etc.); or absolutely ( Genesis 17:7-8;  Exodus 12:14;  Jeremiah 51:39;  Ecclesiastes 12:5, etc.). Yet that the nature of the subject is to apply the only limitation is shown by the fact that while the term is used of God in the widest sense, both of the past and future ( Genesis 21:33;  Isaiah 40:28;  Daniel 12:7), it is also employed hyperbolically or poetically of a "good long period" ( Isaiah 30:14-15), especially in salutations and invocations ( 1 Kings 1:31;  Nehemiah 2:3). In all these significations and applications it is often used in the plural ( עוֹלָמַים ), whether past ( Isaiah 51:9;  Daniel 9:24;  Ecclesiastes 1:10) or future ( Psalms 61:5;  Psalms 77:6, etc.), and this sometimes in a reduplicated form, like "ages of ages" ( Αἰῶνες ) . Peculiar is the Rabbinical usage (Buxtorf, Lex. Talm. col. 1620) for the world (so Greek Αἰών ) , but only in  Ecclesiastes 3:11. Gesenius's and F Ü rst's Hebrews Lex. s.v.; Hommel, De vi vocis עוֹלָם (Wittemb. 1795).

    The Greek term Αἰών remarkably corresponds to the Hebrew עוֹלָם in nearly all these senses, and is its usual rendering in the Sept. It is derived from Ἄω , Ἀϊ v Ω , To Breathe, or directly from the adverb Αέί (originally Αἰεί ) , Always (itself an old dative from an obsolete noun Αί῝Ός or Αἴον =Lat. aevum, probably derived from Ἄω , and the same in root with the English ever, and also, perhaps, aye), with the locative termination Ών appended to the root. The adjective Αἰώνιος , with which we are here more directly concerned, follows most of the shades of meaning and appropriations of the primitive. Its general import is Enduring, Perpetual. In the N.T. it is spoken of the past in a restricted manner, in the sense of ancient or primeval ( Romans 16:25;  2 Timothy 1:9;  Titus 1:2); or of the past and future absolutely ( Romans 16:26;  Hebrews 9:14); elsewhere of the future, in an unlimited sense, Endless ( 2 Corinthians 4:18;  2 Corinthians 5:1;  Luke 16:9;  Hebrews 13:20;  Hebrews 9:12;  Revelation 14:6;  1 Timothy 6:16;  Philemon 1:15), as of the prospect of Christ's kingdom ( 2 Peter 1:11), but especially of the happy future of the saints in heaven (particularly in the phrase "life everlasting,"  Matthew 19:16;  Matthew 19:29;  Matthew 25:46, and often), or the miserable fate of the wicked in hell (e.g. as punishment,  Matthew 25:46; condemnation,  Mark 3:29; judgment,  Hebrews 6:2; destruction,  2 Thessalonians 1:9, or fire,  Matthew 18:8;  Matthew 25:41;  Judges 1:7). Robinson, Lex. of the N.T. s.v.; Leavitt, in the Christian Month. Spect. 9:617; Goodwin, in the Chris. Examiner, 9:20; 10:34, 166; 12:97, 169; Stuart, in the Spirit of the Pilgrims, 2:405; Cremer, Worterbuch d. N.T. Gracitat, page 46.

    International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [10]

    ē´tam עיטם , ‛ēṭam  ; Codex Alexandrinus, Απάν , Apán , Codex Vaticanus, Αἰτάν , Aitán ):

    (1) Mentioned in Septuagint along with Tekoa, Bethlehem and Phagor ( Joshua 15:59 ). In  2 Chronicles 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 ‛Aitān , which is described as the most elevated place in Palestine, occurs in the Talmud ( Zebhāḥı̄m 54 b ), and in the Jer. Talmud ( Yōmā ) 3 fol 41) it is mentioned that a conduit ran from ‛Atān to the Temple.

    The evidence all points to ‛Ain ‛Atān , 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 ‛Atān .  1 Chronicles 4:3 may also have reference to this Etam.

    (2) A town assigned to Simeon ( 1 Chronicles 4:32 ). Mentioned with En-Rimmon (which see), identified by Conder with Khurbet ‛Aiṭūn 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" ( Judges 15:8 ,  Judges 15:11 ), 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.

    Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature [11]

    E′tam, a town in the tribe of Judah, which was decorated by Solomon with gardens and streams of water, and fortified by Rehoboam along with Bethlehem and Tekoa (;; ). From this place, according to the Rabbins, water was carried by an aqueduct to Jerusalem. Dr. Robinson inclines to find Etam at a place about a mile and a half south of Bethlehem, where there is a ruined village called Urtas, at the bottom of a pleasant valley of the same name. Here there are traces of ancient ruins, and also a fountain, sending forth a copious supply of fine water, which forms a beautiful purling rill along the bottom of the valley. It is usually supposed that 'the rock Etam,' to which Samson withdrew , was near the town of the same name. Urtas seems too far inland for this; there is, however, a little to the east, the Frank mountain, which (this consideration apart) would have furnished just such a retreat as the hero seems to have found.