eyrie. (1.) A village of the tribe of Simeon (1 Chr. 4:32). Into some cleft ("top," A.V.,; R.V., "cleft") of a rock here Samson retired after his slaughter of the Philistines (Judg. 15:8, 11). It was a natural stronghold. It has been identified with Beit 'Atab, west of Bethlehem, near Zorah and Eshtaol. On the crest of a rocky knoll, under the village, is a long tunnel, which may be the "cleft" in which Samson hid. (2.) A city of Judah, fortified by Rehoboam (2 Chr. 11:6). It was near Bethlehem and Tekoah, and some distance apparently to the north of (1). It seems to have been in the district called Nephtoah (or Netophah), where were the sources of the water from which Solomon's gardens and pleasure-grounds and pools, as well as Bethlehem and the temple, were supplied. It is now 'Ain 'Atan, at the head of the Wady Urtas, a fountain sending forth a copious supply of pure water.
At etam he had a magnificent park and gymnasium, which he occasionally visited.
And they bound him with two new cords, and brought him from the rock etam.
And he smote them hip and thigh with a great slaughter: and he went down and dwelt in the cleft of the rock of etam.
And he smote them hip and thigh with a great slaughter: and he went down and dwelt in the top of the rock etam.
Up the valley which runs eastward from Zorah was probably the cave and cliff of etam, where the Hebrew champion dwelt for a time.
So he fought fiercely and killed many of them; then he went and stayed in a cavern in the cliff of etam.
After this Samson went to live in a hollow place in a split rock, called the rock of etam.