Genesis 2:10
Parallel Verses
English Standard Version
A river flowed out of Eden to water the garden, and there it divided and became four rivers.

King James Bible
And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads.

American Standard Version
And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became four heads.

Douay-Rheims Bible
And a river went out the place of pleasure to water paradise, which from thence is divided into four heads.

English Revised Version
And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became four heads.

Webster's Bible Translation
And a river went out of Eden to water the garden: and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads.

Genesis 2:10 Parallel
Commentary
Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament

"And there was a river going out of Eden, to water the garden; and from thence it divided itself, and became four heads;" i.e., the stream took its rise in Eden, flowed through the garden to water it, and on leaving the garden was divided into four heads or beginnings of rivers, that is, into four arms or separate streams. For this meaning of ראשׁים see Ezekiel 16:25; Lamentations 2:19. Of the four rivers whose names are given to show the geographical situation of paradise, the last two are unquestionably Tigris and Euphrates. Hiddekel occurs in Daniel 10:4 as the Hebrew name for Tigris; in the inscriptions of Darius it is called Tigrâ (or the arrow, according to Strabo, Pliny, and Curtius), from the Zendic tighra, pointed, sharp, from which probably the meaning stormy (rapidus Tigris, Hor. Carm. 4, 14, 46) was derived. It flows before (קדמת), in front of, Assyria, not to the east of Assyria; for the province of Assyria, which must be intended here, was on the eastern side of the Tigris: moreover, neither the meaning, "to the east of," nor the identity of קדמת and מקדם has been, or can be, established from Genesis 4:16; 1 Samuel 13:5, or Ezekiel 39:11, which are the only other passages in which the word occurs, as Ewald himself acknowledges. P'rath, which was not more minutely described because it was so generally known, is the Euphrates; in old Persian, Ufrâtu, according to Delitzsch, or the good and fertile stream; Ufrâtu, according to Spiegler, or the well-progressing stream. According to the present condition of the soil, the sources of the Euphrates and Tigris are not so closely connected that they could be regarded as the commencements of a common stream which has ceased to exist. The main sources of the Tigris, it is true, are only 2000 paces from the Euphrates, but they are to the north of Diarbekr, in a range of mountains which is skirted on three sides by the upper course of the Euphrates, and separates them from this river. We must also look in the same country, the highlands of Armenia, for the other two rivers, if the description of paradise actually rests upon an ancient tradition, and is to be regarded as something more than a mythical invention of the fancy. The name Phishon sounds like the Phasis of the ancients, with which Reland supposed it to be identical; and Chavilah like Cholchis, the well-known gold country of the ancients. But the Φάσις ὁ Κόλχος (Herod. 4, 37, 45) takes its rise in the Caucasus, and not in Armenia. A more probable conjecture, therefore, points to the Cyrus of the ancients, which rises in Armenia, flows northwards to a point not far from the eastern border of Colchis, and then turns eastward in Iberia, from which it flows in a south-easterly direction to the Caspian Sea. The expression, "which compasseth the whole land of Chavilah," would apply very well to the course of this river from the eastern border of Colchis; for סבב does not necessarily signify to surround, but to pass through with different turns, or to skirt in a semi-circular form, and Chavilah may have been larger than modern Colchis. It is not a valid objection to this explanation, that in every other place Chavilah is a district of Southern Arabia. The identity of this Chavilah with the Chavilah of the Joktanites (Genesis 10:29; Genesis 25:18; 1 Samuel 15:7) or of the Cushites (Genesis 10:7; 1 Chronicles 1:9) is disproved not only by the article used here, which distinguishes it from the other, but also by the description of it as land where gold, bdolach, and the shohamstone are found; a description neither requisite nor suitable in the case of the Arabian Chavilah, since there productions are not to be met with there. This characteristic evidently shows that the Chavilah mentioned here was entirely distinct from the other, and a land altogether unknown to the Iraelites.

What we are to understand by הבּדלח is uncertain. There is no certain ground for the meaning "pearls," given in Saad. and the later Rabbins, and adopted by Bochart and others. The rendering βδέλλα or βδέλλιον, bdellium, a vegetable gum, of which Cioscorus says, οἱ δὲ μάδελκον οἱ δὲ βολχὸν καλχὸν, and Pliny, "alii brochon appellant, alii malacham, alii maldacon," is favoured by the similarity in the name; but, on the other side, there is the fact that Pliny describes this gum as nigrum and hadrobolon, and Dioscorus as ὑποπέλιον (blackish), which does not agree with Numbers 11:7, where the appearance of the white grains of the manna is compared to that of bdolach. - The stone shoham, according to most of the early versions, is probably the beryl, which is most likely the stone intended by the lxx (ὁ λίθος ὁ πράσινος, the leek-green stone), as Pliny, when speaking of beryls, describes those as probatissimi, qui viriditatem puri maris imitantur; but according to others it is the onyx or sardonyx (vid., Ges. s.v.).

(Note: The two productions furnish no proof that the Phishon is to be sought for in India. The assertion that the name bdolach is Indian, is quite unfounded, for it cannot be proved that madâlaka in Sanscrit is a vegetable gum; nor has this been proved of madâra, which is possibly related to it (cf. Lassen's indische Althk. 1, 290 note). Moreover, Pliny speaks of Bactriana as the land "in qua Bdellium est nominatissimum," although he adds, "nascitur et in Arabia Indiaque, et Media ac Babylone;" and Isidorus says of the Bdella which comes from India, "Sordida est et nigra et majori gleba," which, again, does not agree with Numbers 11:7. - The Shoham-stone also is not necessarily associated with India; for although Pliny says of the beryls, "India eos gignit, raro alibi repertos," he also observes, "in nostro orbe aliquando circa Pontum inveniri putantur.")

The Gihon (from גּוּח to break forth) is the Araxes, which rises in the neighbourhood of the Euphrates, flows from west to east, joins the Cyrus, and falls with it into the Caspian Sea. The name corresponds to the Arabic Jaihun, a name given by the Arabians and Persians to several large rivers. The land of Cush cannot, of course, be the later Cush, or Ethiopia, but must be connected with the Asiatic Κοσσαία, which reached to the Caucasus, and to which the Jews (of Shirwan) still give this name. But even though these four streams do not now spring from one source, but on the contrary their sources are separated by mountain ranges, this fact does not prove that the narrative before us is a myth. Along with or since the disappearance of paradise, that part of the earth may have undergone such changes that the precise locality can no longer be determined with certainty.

(Note: That the continents of our globe have undergone great changes since the creation of the human race, is a truth sustained by the facts of natural history and the earliest national traditions, and admitted by the most celebrated naturalists. (See the collection of proofs made by Keerl.) These changes must not be all attributed to the flood; many may have occurred before and many after, like the catastrophe in which the Dead Sea originated, without being recorded in history as this has been. Still less must we interpret Genesis 11:1 (compared with Genesis 10:25), as Fabri and Keerl have done, as indicating a complete revolution of the globe, or a geogonic process, by which the continents of the old world were divided, and assumed their present physignomy.)

Genesis 2:10 Parallel Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

a river.

Psalm 46:4 There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High.

Revelation 22:1 And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.

Eden. Eden denotes pleasure or delight; but was certainly the name of a place, and was, most probably, situated in Armenia, near the sources of the great rivers Euphrates, Tigris, Phasis, and Araxes.

Cross References
Genesis 13:10
And Lot lifted up his eyes and saw that the Jordan Valley was well watered everywhere like the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, in the direction of Zoar. (This was before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.)

Psalm 46:4
There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High.

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ESV Text Edition: 2016. The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
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