In our first chapter we noted a most important and significant
fact, namely that the writer of Genesis was using recognized
geographical names of his day in his description of Eden. If
we ask just when this writer lived we meet varying replies. Those
accepting the Mosaic authorship say he lived about 1500 or 1400
B.C. Others argue for a later date, perhaps 700 B.C. While we
are amongst those who hold to the Mosaic authorship, let us,
in examining the names of the four river-heads and the names
of the countries affiliated therewith, consider names in use
during the whole interval from 1500 B.C. or earlier down to 700
B.C., and, where necessary, trace them down to modern times.
There is no describing this river. No effort to tell the reader where it is. The writer knew all his readers would immediately recognize this river definitely by its name alone. And so it is to this very day. Everyone knows which river this is.
The River Euphrates
Before 3,000 BC the Sumerians called the Euphrates "Puranum" meaning, "Great water;" sometimes they called it "Pura," that is, "water." The Semitic people, including the Hebrews, called it "Purat." The Persians altered the "p" to "ph" or "f", and added an initial vowel, making it, "Ufratu." To the Greeks this became, "Euphrates." The Arabs today still call it "Furat." For over 5,000 years this important river has kept actually to one name, varying only in pronunciation from language to language.
Of the fourth river we feel there can be no doubt. Somewhere
along that river, between its source and mouth, lay the Land
Those ancient Sumerians called the Tigris, "Idikna"
or "Idikla." The early Semitic people called it, "Idiklat"
(in Hebrew,"Hiddekel,"), later shortened to "Diklat."
The Persians pronounced it, "Tigra," from whence the
classical Greek name came, "Tigris." Today, in
We now have two of the four river-heads positively identified. This is 50% success in this phase of our search for the real location of the Land of Eden. It brings us to an important point, as we can now begin to check our "treasure map" with reality. To do this, let us take our "treasure map" and place the names Euphrates and Tigris on the two central river-heads.
A person might try placing these two names on the upper or northerly two river-heads, or on the lower, southerly two river-heads, but in either case such placing of the names would soon have to be abandoned in the light of what follows in the next two chapters. We are thus anticipating a little by placing these two names immediately upon the central river-heads.
As we shall presently see, Havilah lies to the south of the two central river-heads, while Cush is to the north, which drives the two identifications we are now sure of (Euphrates and Tigris) toward the center of our "treasure-map."
These two names on our "treasure-map" may be considered as only tentative for the moment. However, we believe the next two chapters will make the placing very certain.
We ask you now to compare our "treasure map" with any map of the Euphrates and Tigris rivers.
The land between the two central river-heads compares with Mesopotamia, "the land between the rivers," as the name means. It takes but a slight clockwise turn of our "treasure map" to bring the central rivers into approximation with the actual relative positions of the Euphrates and Tigris. Surely this is evidence we are on the right track in our search! Thus encouraged we turn now to the text and will study the first named river-head.
End of Chapter Two
|Chapter One||A Few Leading Clues|
|Chapter Two||The Rivers Euphrates and Hiddekel|
|Chapter Three||The River Pison|
|Chapter Four||The River Gihon|
|Chapter Five||The Changing River Courses|
|Chapter Six||Eden in Relation to Geology|
|Chapter Seven||Eden and Biblical Chronology|
|Chapter Eight||Cain's City of Enoch|
|Appendix A||Are the names in Genesis 2 Postdiluvial?|
|Appendix B||Maps, sketches and notes|