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ETAM (Ἤτταν), a place in Judaea mentioned by Josephus, 50 stadia from Jerusalem, very pleasant in its fine gardens, and abounding in rivulets of water, to which the great king Solomon was accustomed to resort. (Ant. 8.7.3.) It must obviously be the place celebrated in the book of Ecclesiastes (2.5, 6), and in the Canticles; and the Rabbinical notices of the fountain of Etam from which waters were conveyed by aqueducts to Jerusalem, teach us to look for the site between Bethlehem and Hebron. Accordingly we find the name perpetuated among the natives to this day, and assigned to gardens the largest and most luxuriant that are to be met with in the mountain region of Judaea. The three well-known pools of Solomon, on the road to Hebron, are situated at the head of a valley [p. 1.855]called Wady Etân; and the aqueduct which derives its supply of water from these tributary fountains, has its proper commencement below the lowest of the pools, from whence it runs along the western side of Wady Etân to Bethlehem. In the bed of the valley, below the aqueduct, is another copious fountain, ‘Ain Etân, and around this fountain are the gardens just mentioned. (Williams, Holy City, vol. ii. p. 500.) The aqueduct by which this water is conducted to Jerusalem was constructed by Pontius Pilate, the Roman procurator. (Joseph. B. J. 2.9.4.)

The rock Etam (Ἡταμ) in the history of Samson, although in the tribe of Judah, was probably in no way connected with the foregoing, and cannot now be identified. (Judges, 15.8, 11.)


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