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Documentary Film based on Gibson's book: Qur'anic Geography


The Sacred City from Glasshouse Media on Vimeo.

Originally titled "The Land of Eden Located" 1964
by David J. Gibson

Chapter Eight
Cain's City of Enoch

Now that we have arrived at what seems to be a reasonable opinion as to the location of the Land of Eden, the identification of the four river-heads and the approximate site of the Garden of Eden, it should be possible from this to know where to look for the next-door region, that is, the Land of Nod to which Cain went after he was revealed as the murderer of his brother Abel. The Scripture account states:

"And Cain went out from the presence of the Lord, and dwelt in the Land of Nod, on the east of Eden." --Genesis 4:16.

It is to be noted that "the presence of the Lord" was in Eden. Here, in the infancy of the human race the Lord's presence is connected with a place. Many think the place was the entry to the Garden, where the Cherubim stood with a Flaming sword. It is generally assumed that to this sacred spot the people brought their sacrifices, as we read of the offerings of Cain and Abel. At this place God spoke directly to the worshippers and the worshippers spoke to Him. From this place Cain was driven and cut off for life.

Cain dwelt thereafter in the Land of Nod. It was "on the east of Eden," an expression which seems to mean adjoining it. Therefore, it was not far away. Here in due time Cain's son Enoch was born. As Adam's family increased in Eden, and Cain lived in fear that "everyone" there sought his life for slaying Abel, he hit upon an idea. He enclosed and "fortified" his residence, for self protection. This is the primary meaning of the word, "city" in Hebrew. It did not at first denote size, but an enclosed, fortified place. Cain may merely have erected a wooden palisade about a few huts, but this was new, it was novel, it deserved a name. He named it after his son, "Enoch." The record runs:

"And he builded a city, and called the name of the city, after the name of his son, Enoch." --Genesis 4:17.

Commenting on this verse, Dr. Arthur C. Custance relates a number of facts which we here quote almost in full.

"The subsequent history of this city we do not know: but of the name of the city we know a very great deal. Without entering into too much detail regarding changes in pronunciation which occur in the course of the development of a language, it seems necessary to point out here that the sound represented by the letter N is often reproduced (strange as it may seem) as an R. The CH sound which terminates the name Enoch may be replaced by a K or G, or a GH.

These changes are very common. When cuneiform was being deciphered for the first time, it soon became apparent that some of the cities mentioned in Biblical antiquity were still in existence as mounds and very often the natives in the area had preserved the original name in a modified form. A very important city in antiquity appeared under the name Uruk and a study of cuneiform soon revealed that this could equally well be pronounced Unuk, which was recognized at once by Sayce, and many others, as identical with the Biblical word, Enoch.

"One of the features of cuneiform writing was the use of what are called determinatives, signs which are placed before or after certain words to enable the reader to distinguish between names of cities and names of people, or names of deities and names of mortals, and so forth. Thus if a city happened to have a name which was also the name of a famous man, it was customary to use a determinative to let the reader know whether one was referring to the man or to the place. In the case of a man's name, the determinative was put in front of the word; in the case of a ... The interesting thing about the city Unuk, or Uruk, was that the determinative was omitted. It is the only instance in which this is so. The reason for this sole exception to the rule was not apparent at first until it was realized after considerable study of cuneiform texts that the word had come to mean the City par excellence, a special city, special for historical reasons.

And as such, it was not considered to stand in need of any distinguishing~ determinative. The 'specialness' lay in the fact that it was the name of the first City ever to have been built, and as such it was the prototype of all others and came to be referred to, to all intents and purposes, as The City - in somewhat the same way that people tend in England to refer to London as 'The city'.

Now obviously the city which Cain builded and named after his son Enoch must have been destroyed by the Flood so that the physical entity itself probably disappeared, though it was subsequently re-founded. If the re-builders had followed our pattern, they might thenceforth have called it 'New Uruk'. But though the original city was lost for a season, the name and the special significance were never lost sight of, for in time the name Uruk ceased to be a name at all and became merely a word meaning City.

In later cuneiform this city was known as Ereck, and at the present time the site is known by the local people as Warka. (Quoted by permission from Doorway Paper No.8, "The Confusion of Tongues," 1961, pp.20-2)

One wonders, after reading the above, if Orientalists would have ever discovered the reason Uruk was written without the determinative sign apart from the help of the Bible. It is the Bible which tells us Enoch or Uruk was the first city.

Now Dr. Custance in the enlightening quotation given above seems to discount the idea that the postdiluvial city Uruk is the actual city founded by Cain. Even thought the first city was destroyed by the flood it seems to us that the re-bui1ders could have re-built on either exactly or very close to the original site.

A consideration which leads toward that conclusion, (if our readers can bear my once more referring to this principle,) is that Moses, or whoever it was who wrote the Eden story, used throughout names in current usage in his day. In fact, as far as chapter 2 of Genesis is concerned there is not one specific, geographica1 name used which was not in current use around 1400 B.C. It is to be doubted if the same principle will not hold for Genesis 4. If the name Enoch (Uruk) did not denote the same locality in 1400 B.C. as it did in the Antediluvian Age, then the author of Genesis 4 would be badly misleading his readers by saying Cain founded the City. He would feel impelled to insert some word of explanation that the city Enoch (Uruk) was not the same city so well known to him and his readers. Since there is absolutely no hint of such a distinction in the mind of the writer of Genesis 4, we feel it impossible to think he know of TWO places called Enoch or Uruk.

The Land of Nod
We previously mentioned that the Land of Eden apparently would be the land on either side of the Kutha Channel at least as far as Nippur. (See Fig. 7) Beyond this the path of the ancient river is marked by the sites of cities which sprang up along its course, Isin, Kisurra, Shuruppak and Unuk or Enoch. Possibly all these sites would be classed as in the Land of Nod, but at present we cannot define the boundary between Eden and Nod. It is interesting to note that the cuneiform story of the Flood makes the city Shurappak to be the home of Utnapishtim, the Babylonian name for Noah.

Now, as we look at the map in Fig. 7, the entire set up of localities, rivers, and names, very obviously falls into exactly the relative positions required by chapters two and four of the Book of Genesis. Can one doubt that this is the precise line-up which the writer of those passages had in mind, at the date he wrote? Would a reader living in 1400 B.C. put any other construction upon the geographical descriptions than we have done? If not, then our identifications must be very close to the truth of what the story intended to convey, from the geographical viewpoint.
Antediluvian Cities in the Cuneiform

We have listed the names used in the B1ble of antediluvian geographical features and one city. The cuneiform texts also recognize a sharp break in history as the Deluge, and even extreme critics are willing to acknowledge that there must have been some kind of a catastrophe to give rise to these stories in both cuneiform and Hebrew. The cuneiform texts also refer to certain cities as existing before this catastrophe, before the Flood. Five cities are specifically named, in one of the most important texts, namely,

Eridu -- the city to which "sovereignty descended from heaven"
Badgurgurru -- "fortress of workers in bronze"

With the possible exception of Badgurgurru these cities are located in the Babylonian plain. Thus the cuneiform concurs with the Hebrew Scriptures in locating the roots of antediluvian civilization as in that area. This joint testimony is significant, no doubt.

However, the postdiluvian picture is different. The Hebrew account depicts humanity starting out, not from the lowlands of Babylonia, but from the region of Ararat in the high Iranian lands. After going easterly from Ararat, the story seems to bring men in a circle, for later they entered the Babylonian plain again, journeying "from the east." Does this hint that men circled around through the highlands because the Babylonian plain was still under water for several generations? However, having re-entered the plain from the east, the story of the ziggurat or Tower of Babel ensues.

The cuneiform historical texts simply state:

"The Deluge overthrew the land. After the Deluge had over thrown, the sovereignty descended from heaven -- the sovereignty was at Kish. At Kish, Gaur was king" (Archaeology and the Bible, by Prof. George A. Harton, Ph. D., IVth ed., p.289; American Sunday School Union, Philadelphia.

Erech and other cities soon reappear, and evidently indicate the same city sites as in the text of antediluvian times.

We have now gone through the Biblical evidence. We have attempted to locate each antediluvian geographical name, and, with the aid of the cuneiform texts, we seem to have accomplished this task. Our hope is that the effort has not been in vain and will encourage much further research and investigation.

End of Chapter Eight

 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

 David J. Gibson

The Land of Eden