the Fifth Week of Lent
Fausset's Bible Dictionary
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)
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Fausset, Andrew R. Entry for 'Etam'. Fausset's Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/​dictionaries/​eng/​fbd/​e/etam.html. 1949.