15:18 That day the Lord made a covenant 6 with Abram: “To your descendants I give 7 this land, from the river of Egypt 8 to the great river, the Euphrates River –
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 “cut a covenant.”
7 tn The perfect verbal form is understood as instantaneous (“I here and now give”). Another option is to understand it as rhetorical, indicating certitude (“I have given” meaning it is as good as done, i.e., “I will surely give”).
sn To your descendants I give this land. The
8 sn The river of Egypt is a wadi (a seasonal stream) on the northeastern border of Egypt, not to the River Nile.