water the orchard, and from there it divides 4 into four headstreams. 5 2:11 The name of the first is Pishon; it runs through 6 the entire land of Havilah, where there is gold. 2:12 (The gold of that land is pure; 7 pearls 8 and lapis lazuli 9 are also there). 2:13 The name of the second river is Gihon; it runs through 10 the entire land of Cush. 11 2:14 The name of the third river is Tigris; it runs along the east side of Assyria. 12 The fourth river is the Euphrates.
1 tn The disjunctive clause (note the construction conjunction + subject + predicate) introduces an entire paragraph about the richness of the region in the east.
2 tn The Hebrew active participle may be translated here as indicating past durative action, “was flowing,” or as a present durative, “flows.” Since this river was the source of the rivers mentioned in vv. 11-14, which appear to describe a situation contemporary with the narrator, it is preferable to translate the participle in v. 10 with the present tense. This suggests that Eden and its orchard still existed in the narrator’s time. According to ancient Jewish tradition, Enoch was taken to the Garden of Eden, where his presence insulated the garden from the destructive waters of Noah’s flood. See Jub. 4:23-24.
3 sn Eden is portrayed here as a source of life-giving rivers (that is, perennial streams). This is no surprise because its orchard is where the tree of life is located. Eden is a source of life, but tragically its orchard is no longer accessible to humankind. The river flowing out of Eden is a tantalizing reminder of this. God continues to provide life-giving water to sustain physical existence on the earth, but immortality has been lost.
4 tn The imperfect verb form has the same nuance as the preceding participle. (If the participle is taken as past durative, then the imperfect would be translated “was dividing.”)
5 tn Or “branches”; Heb “heads.” Cf. NEB “streams”; NASB “rivers.”
6 tn Heb “it is that which goes around.”
7 tn Heb “good.”
8 tn The Hebrew term translated “pearls” may be a reference to resin (cf. NIV “aromatic resin”) or another precious stone (cf. NEB, NASB, NRSV “bdellium”).
9 tn Or “onyx.”
10 tn Heb “it is that which goes around.”
11 sn Cush. In the Bible the Hebrew word כּוּשׁ (kush, “Kush”) often refers to Ethiopia (so KJV, CEV), but here it must refer to a region in Mesopotamia, the area of the later Cassite dynasty of Babylon. See Gen 10:8 as well as E. A. Speiser, Genesis (AB), 20.
12 tn Heb “Asshur” (so NEB, NIV).