|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
2:8-14 The place fixed upon for Adam to dwell in, was not a palace, but a garden. The better we take up with plain things, and the less we seek things to gratify pride and luxury, the nearer we approach to innocency. Nature is content with a little, and that which is most natural; grace with less; but lust craves every thing, and is content with nothing. No delights can be satisfying to the soul, but those which God himself has provided and appointed for it. Eden signifies delight and pleasure. Wherever it was, it had all desirable conveniences, without any inconvenience, though no other house or garden on earth ever was so. It was adorned with every tree pleasant to the sight, and enriched with every tree that yielded fruit grateful to the taste and good for food. God, as a tender Father, desired not only Adam's profit, but his pleasure; for there is pleasure with innocency, nay there is true pleasure only in innocency. When Providence puts us in a place of plenty and pleasure, we ought to serve God with gladness of heart in the good things he gives us. Eden had two trees peculiar to itself. 1. There was the tree of life in the midst of the garden. Of this man might eat and live. Christ is now to us the Tree of life, Re 2:7; 22:2; and the Bread of life, Joh 6:48,51. 2. There was the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, so called because there was a positive revelation of the will of God about this tree, so that by it man might know moral good and evil. What is good? It is good not to eat of this tree. What is evil? It is evil to eat of this tree. In these two trees God set before Adam good and evil, the blessing and the curse.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And the gold of that land is good,.... Arabia was famous for gold: Diodorus Siculus (x) speaks of gold in Arabia, called "apyrus", which is not melted by fire out of small filings, as other; but as soon as dug is said to be pure gold, and that in the size of chestnuts, and of such a flaming colour, that the most precious stones are set in it by artificers for ornament: and in Colchis and Scythia, as Strabo (y) relates, there are rivers which produce gold; and from whence came the fable of the golden fleece, the Argonauts went to Colchis for:
there is the bdellium, and the onyx stone; the first of these is either an aromatic gum; the tree, according to Pliny (z), is black, and is of the size of an olive tree, has the leaf of an oak, and its fruit is like capers; it is found in Arabia, India, Media, and Babylon; but the best, according to him, is in Bactriana, and, next to that, the bdellium of Arabia: or else it is a precious stone, and which the Jewish writers (a) commonly take to be crystal; and, according to Solinus (b), the best crystal is in Scythia. Bochart (c) would have it that the pearl is meant, because of its whiteness and roundness, for which the manna is compared to it, Numbers 11:7 and the rather because of the pearl fishery at Catipha, taking Havilah to be that part of Arabia which lies upon the Persian gulf. The latter, the onyx, is a precious stone, which has its name from its being of the colour of a man's nail; and, according to Pliny (d), the onyx marble is found in the mountains of Arabia, and the ancients thought it was nowhere else; and he speaks elsewhere of the Arabian onyx precious stone, and of the sardonyx, as in the same country (e); and some think that is here meant; though the word is sometimes by the Septuagint rendered the emerald; and the best of these, according to Solinus (f) and Pliny (g), were in Scythia. (After the global destruction of Noah's flood, it is doubtful that the location of these places could be determined with degree of certainty today. Ed.)
(x) Bibliothec. l. 2. p. 133. (y) Geograph. l. 1. p. 31. & l. 11. p. 344. (z) Nat. Hist. l. 12. c. 9. (a) Jarchi in Numb. xi. 7. David de Pomis Tzemach David, fol. 8. 3.((b) Polyhistor. c. 25. (c) Hierozoic. par. 2. l. 5. c. 5. p. 675, &c. (d) Nat. Hist. l. 36. c. 7. (e) lb. l. 37. c. 6. (f) Polyhistor. ut supra. (c. 25) (g) Ut supra, (Nat. Hist. l. 36.) c. 5.
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