Gen 2:10 NKJV – Now a river went out of Eden to water the garden, and from there it parted and became four riverheads.
Gen 2:11 NKJV – The name of the first [is] Pishon; it [is] the one which skirts the whole land of Havilah, where [there is] gold.
Gen 2:12 NKJV – And the gold of that land [is] good. Bdellium and the onyx stone [are] there.
Gen 2:13 NKJV – The name of the second river [is] Gihon; it [is] the one which goes around the whole land of Cush.
Gen 2:14 NKJV – The name of the third river [is] Hiddekel; it [is] the one which goes toward the east of Assyria. The fourth river [is] the Euphrates.
So this description essentially explains that from this area (again, Eden isn’t the garden, the garden is IN Eden, but Eden would therefore be bigger) water comes to the garden, and in the garden it divides up into 4 different sources of water.
I would imagine that there is something more to this. In context I don’t understand why it is mentioned. Why is this important? Is it to show where Eden was? What does it matter about the river?
Perhaps there is something to this that isn’t as important literally as it is figuratively, or metaphorically.
There was a source of water, which in the region of the bible specifically was simply life itself. There is no life where there is no water. In the area of Israel, and the Ancient Near East (ANE), having a lot of water would be significant. Being a SOURCE of water would be even more so.
There are theories that the Garden itself is at or near Jerusalem, and some would go further and say the Temple Mount. If you also think that the Earth itself had one singular land mass (Pangea), then it gets even more focused on the land of Israel being the center, and Jerusalem being the center of it all. Surely, proponents of a Pangea would most commonly ascribe to a very long process of breaking up of the supercontinent etc… so they wouldn’t see this as viable if Biblical records were taken seriously. But the Bible itself is a book clearly written by Israel, for Israel, with the focus on Israel. Things are relative to Israel, even before the land itself is established. But we get ahead of ourselves again!
However, with these concepts as possibilities, and we only know what the Bible tells us so far, a source of water, which might have very well been in the center of the world itself, and breaks up into 4 main rivers is very intriguing.
To go further, the areas where these waters seem to go is very far. And it would seem, at least by the biblical account, that this was a main source of hydration because God had not caused it to rain yet. It says a mist went up from the ground.
Was this mist coming from water under the ground? Was it some kind of gentle mist, or was it possibly geyser like? As Yah had separated the waters above from the water below, and then made land appear, was this streams of water under the land, and it would come out of the landscape as a mist?
Here is an interesting take, including the idea of Genesis itself being a library of sorts, like a diary.
This seems to pint at what im getting to above. The author describes a massive geyser like region that separates into 4 different runoff directions, and it goes along to the places identified.
There is so much that could be discussed, but most of it simply isn’t directly clear in this passage. Its safe to say, based on what we know (meaning this far into Torah) that there was a source of water, and it started in this very same place that has been the focus of the story so far.
And the water itself splits into 4 portions and goes OUT from there . We also know that it went place both the author, and by supposition, the listener would have known. And we know that water came up from the earth, not as rain from the sky itself. IT was a mist from the ground.
These regions talked about also suppose something else. It was written after the fact. This is describing something to other people, for other peoples benefit. By pointing out specific lands, it implies (to me at least) that this description is for other people, who didn’t see this, or didn’t experience it, to know something. This is essentially historical. We don’t know WHO wrote this, but they would have to be either eye witnesses (as in the above link idea of 10 tables with 10 authors describing their portions of their history) or by revelation from Yah as to what happened.
It then seems to me interesting that the regions described would have been known by the audience, or at least the author assumes the intended audience would know them. However the names and places could easily be not only different than present, but the translations could be influenced by a modern take, as we don’t know what the audience knew at the time.
This is a common problem with reading scripture without an ear for context. The context, the setting, the audience etc… all play a part, and as moderns we have to work hard to get our heads out ofwhat we think we know, and try to understand what the author meant. Many people draw conclusions from their own study, and it is important not to go beyond what is clearly in the Scriptures (if you believe they are the words of the Creator). However, reading peoples take will hopefully create a sense of awe and reverence into the incredible possibilities of what the Creator has done.
For really in depth descriptions and ideas look into http://www.messengers-of-messiah.org. Their publication “The Rod of an Almond Tree in God’s Master Plan takes all these elements and goes very deep into their interpretation, which helps my imagination soar!