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.
These files are public domain.