Now 1 a river flows 2 from Eden 3 to water the orchard, and from there it divides 4 into four headstreams. 5
A river watering the garden flowed from Eden; from there it was separated into four headwaters.
Now a river flowed out of Eden to water the garden; and from there it divided and became four rivers.
A river flowed from the land of Eden, watering the garden and then dividing into four branches.
A river flows out of Eden to water the garden and from there divides into four rivers.
And a river went out of Eden giving water to the garden; and from there it was parted and became four streams.
A river flows out of Eden to water the garden, and from there it divides and becomes four branches.
Now a river went out of Eden to water the garden, and from there it parted and became four riverheads.
And a river
and from thence it was parted
and became into four
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Now a river
, and from there
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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.”