E'tam (Hebrew Eytam', עֵיטָם, eyrie, i.e., place of ravenous birds; Sept. Ητάμ in Judges, Αἰτάμ in 1Ch 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 1Ch 4:32 (comp. Jos 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 (סעַיŠ, 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 (Jg 15:8,11). 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 (2Ch 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 Jos 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) 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 (Ec 2:5-6). The same name occurs in the lists of Judah's descendants (1Ch 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, De 33:27, elsewhere "ancient," ''of old," etc.), and ἀϊvδιος (Ro 1:20; "everlasting," Jude 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 (Ps 129:8; Jer 6:16; Jer 18:15; Job 22:15; Am 9:11; De 32:7; Pr 22:28; Ps 24:7; Ps 143:3; Eze 26:20), but not necessarily remote antiquity (Ps 139:24; Job 22:15; Jer 6:16; Jer 18:15; Da 9:24; and especially. Isa 58:12; Isa 61:4). Prospsetively it denotes an indefinite time to come, forever, i.e., relatively, e.g. to an individual life (De 15:17; Ex 21:6; 1Sa 27:12, etc.), that of a race (1Sa 2:20; 1Sa 13:12; 2Sa 7:16; 1Ch 17:12, etc.), or of the present constitution of the universe (Ec 1:4; Ps 104:5; Ps 78:69, etc.); or absolutely (Ge 17:7-8; Ex 12:14; Jer 51:39; Ec 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 (Ge 21:33; Isa 40:28; Da 12:7), it is also employed hyperbolically or poetically of a "good long period" (Isa 30:14-15), especially in salutations and invocations (1Ki 1:31; Ne 2:3). In all these significations and applications it is often used in the plural (עוֹלָמַים), whether past (Isa 51:9; Da 9:24; Ec 1:10) or future (Ps 61:5; Ps 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 Ec 3:11. — Gesenius's and Fürst'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, ἀϊvω, 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 (Ro 16:25; 2Ti 1:9; Tit 1:2); or of the past and future absolutely (Ro 16:26; Heb 9:14); elsewhere of the future, in an unlimited sense, endless (2Co 4:18; 2Co 5:1; Lu 16:9; Heb 13:20; Heb 9:12; Re 14:6; 1Ti 6:16; Phm 1:15), as of the prospect of Christ's kingdom (2Pe 1:11), but especially of the happy future of the saints in heaven (particularly in the phrase "life everlasting," Mt 19:16,29; Mt 25:46, and often), or the miserable fate of the wicked in hell (e.g. as punishment, Mt 25:46; condemnation, Mr 3:29; judgment, Heb 6:2; destruction, 2Th 1:9, or fire, Mt 18:8; Mt 25:41; Jude 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.