perhaps another name for Khetam, or "fortress," on the Shur or great wall of Egypt, which extended from the Mediterranean to the Gulf of Suez. Here the Israelites made their third encampment ( Exodus 13:20 ; Numbers 33:6 ). The camp was probably a little to the west of the modern town of Ismailia. Here the Israelites were commanded to change their route ( Exodus 14:2 ), and "turn" towards the south, and encamp before Pi-hahiroth. (See EXODUS; PITHOM .)
their strength; their sign
(bounded by the sea ), one of the early resting-places of the Israelites when they quitted Egypt; described as "in the edge of the wilderness." ( Exodus 13:20 ; Numbers 33:6 Numbers 33:7 ) Etham may be placed where the cultivable land ceases, near the Seba Biar or Seven Wells, about three miles from the western side of the ancient head of the gulf.
The name used to be explained as the Coptic Atium, "border of the Sea" (Gesenius, Lexicon, under the word) which would agree with the Hebrew (Numbers 33:8) where the "wilderness of Etham" is noticed instead of that of Shur (Exodus 15:22) East of the Red Sea (see SHUR). At Etham (Exodus 13:20), the Hebrews camped in the "edge," or at "the end," of the desert West of the sea that they were to cross (see EXODUS). This camp was probably near the North end of the Bitter Lakes, a march from Succoth. Brugsch (Hist. Egypt, II, 359) would compare Etham with the Egyptian Khetam ("fort"), but the Hebrew word has no guttural. The word Khetam is not the name of a place (see Pierret, Vocab. hieroglyph., 453), and more than one such "fort" seems to be noticed (see PITHOM). In the reign of Seti II a scribe's report mentions the pursuit of two servants, apparently from Zoan, to the fortress of I-k-u southward, reaching Khetam on the 3rd day; but if this was the "Khetam of Rameses II," or even that "of Minepthah," it would not apparently suit the position of Etham.
C. R. Conder.
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