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E’lam (eternity).

1. This seems to have been originally the name of a man, the son of Shem. Gen. 10:22; 1 Chron. 1:17. Commonly, however, it is used as the appellation of a country. Gen. 14:1, 9; Isa. 11:11; 21:2. The Elam of Scripture appears to be the province lying south of Assyria and east of Persia proper, to which Herodotus gives the name of Cissia (iii. 91, v. 49, etc.), and which is termed Susis or Susiana by the geographers. Its capital was Susa. This country was originally peopled by descendants of Shem. By the time of Abraham a very important power had been built up in the same region. It is plain that at this early time the predominant power in lower Mesopotamia was Elam, which for a while held the place possessed earlier by Babylon, Gen. 10:10, and later by either Babylon or Assyria.

2. A Korhite Levite in the time of King David. 1 Chron. 26:3. (b.c. 1014.)

3. A chief man of the tribe of Benjamin. 1 Chron. 8:24.

4. “Children of Elam,” to the number of 1254, returned with Zerubbabel from Babylon. Ezra 2:7; Neh. 7:12; 1 Esd. 5:12. (b.c. 536 or before.) Elam occurs amongst the names of the chief of the people who signed the covenant with Nehemiah. Neh. 10:14.

5. In the same lists is a second Elam, whose sons, to the same number as in the former case, returned with Zerubbabel, Ezra 2:31; Neh. 7:34, and which for the sake of distinction is called “the other Elam.”

6. One of the priests who accompanied Nehemiah at the dedication of the new wall of Jerusalem. Neh. 12:42.