A province in Asia, in which was Paradise. "The Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there he put the man whom he had formed," Ge 2:8. The topography of Eden is thus described: "And a river went out of Eden to water the garden, and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads. The name of the first is Pison," etc.
This obscure passage has received many different explanations and applications, none of which are fully satisfactory; and now it is impossible to say with certainty where Eden lay. Most writers have sought for it in some elevated and central region, the heights of which would give rise to various rivers flowing off in different directions through lower grounds to their outlets. Such a region exists in the high lands of Armenia, west of Mount Ararat and 5,000 feet above the sea. Here, within a circle but a few miles in diameter, four large rivers rise: the Euphrates, and Tigris, or Hiddekel, flowing south into the Persian Gulf; the Araxes, flowing northeast into the Caspian Sea; and the Phasis, or the Halys, flowing northwest into the Black Sea. This fourth river may have been the Pishon of Eden; and the Araxes may well be the Gihon, since both words mean the same, and describe its dart-like swiftness. This elevated country, still beautiful and fertile, may have been the land of Eden; and in its choicest portion, towards the east, the garden may once have smiled.
Another location of Eden is now preferred by many interpreters-near the spot where the Euphrates and Tigris from a junction after their long wanderings, a hundred and twenty miles north of the Persian gulf, and where the river Ulai flows in from the northeast. This region may have been greatly changed by the lapse of many thousand years, and may now bear little resemblance to the luxuriant and beautiful plain of primeval times. Yet long after the flood the plain of Shinar in the same region attracted the admiration of the sons of Cush, Ge 10:8-10; 11:2. As two of the rivers of Eden bear the familiar names of the Euphrates and Tigris, it seems probable that it was in one or the other of the regions above named. Wherever it was, it is there no more since the fall and the curse. The first chapters of the Bible show Paradise withdrawn from man's view, and no pilgrimage can discover it upon earth. The last chapters of the Bible restore to our view a more glorious and enduring Paradise: "Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life."
delight. (1.) The garden in which our first parents dewlt (Ge 2:8-17). No geographical question has been so much discussed as that bearing on its site. It has been placed in Armenia, in the region west of the Caspian Sea, in Media, near Damascus, in Palestine, in Southern Arabia, and in Babylonia. The site must undoubtedly be sought for somewhere along the course of the great streams the Tigris and the Euphrates of Western Asia, in "the land of Shinar" or Babylonia. The region from about lat. 33 degrees 30' to lat. 31 degrees, which is a very rich and fertile tract, has been by the most competent authorities agreed on as the probable site of Eden. "It is a region where streams abound, where they divide and re-unite, where alone in the Mesopotamian tract can be found the phenomenon of a single river parting into four arms, each of which is or has been a river of consequence."
Among almost all nations there are traditions of the primitive innocence of our race in the garden of Eden. This was the "golden age" to which the Greeks looked back. Men then lived a "life free from care, and without labour and sorrow. Old age was unknown; the body never lost its vigour; existence was a perpetual feast without a taint of evil. The earth brought forth spontaneously all things that were good in profuse abundance."
(2.) One of the markets whence the merchants of Tyre obtained richly embroidered stuffs (Eze 27:23); the same, probably, as that mentioned in 2Ki 19:12; Isa 37:12, as the name of a region conquered by the Assyrians.
(3.) Son of Joah, and one of the Levites who assisted in reforming the public worship of the sanctuary in the time of Hezekiah (2Ch 29:12).
("delight".) ("Paradise",) the Septuagint translation of "garden," a park and pleasure ground. From the Zendic pairidaeza, a hedging round. In N.W. Mesopotamia an Eden is mentioned near the Tigris (2Ki 19:12; Isa 37:12; Eze 27:23). Another, in Coelosyria, near Damascus (Am 1:5). The primitive Eden was somewhere in the locality containing the conjoined Euphrates and the Tigris (or Hiddekel) which branch off northward into those two rivers, and southward branch into two channels again below Bassera, before failing into the sea, Gihon the E. channel, and Pison the W. Havilah, near the W. channel, would thus be N.E. Arabia; and Cush (or Ethiopia), near the E. channel, would be Kissia, Chuzestan, or Susiana. The united rivers are called the Shat-el-Arab. Eden, was but a temporary nursery for the human family: from there people, if they had remained innocent, would have spread out in every direction until the whole earth became "the garden of the Lord."
God's purpose, though deferred, will, in His own time, be realized by the Second Adam, the Lord Jesus from heaven. The rivers are named as they were after the flood, which must have altered the face of the ancient Eden. The four took their rise in it, as their center, which is not true of the present Tigris ("arrow") and Euphrates ("the good and fertile".) Armenia's highlands are the traditional cradle of the race; thence probably, from Eden as their source, flowed the two eastern rivers, Tigris and Euphrates, and the two western ones through the regions answering to Arabia and Egypt. Man was to dress and keep the garden, for without human culture, grain and other plants will degenerate. As nature was made for man, his calling was to ennoble it, and to make paradise, which though so lovely, was susceptible of development, a transparent mirror of the Creator's glory.
It was designed also as the scene of man's own spiritual development by its two trees, of life and of knowledge. Here also the "beasts of the field," i.e. that live on its produce (game and tame cattle, as distinguished from "beasts of the earth"), were brought to him to develop that intellect which constitutes his lordship and superiority to the brutes. His inner thought in observing their natures found expression in names appropriate. The Paradise regained can never be lost by those who overcome through the Lord Jesus (Re 2:7; 22:14). The traditions of almost all nations have preserved the truth, in some form, that there was an original abode of man's innocence; the Greek and Latin garden of the Hesperides; the Hindu golden Mount Meru; the Chinese enchanted gardens; the Medo-Persian Ormuzd's mountain Albordj (compare Eze 28:13; Joe 2:3).
The Hindus' tradition tells of a "first age of the world when justice, in the form of a bull, kept herself firm on her four feet, virtue reigned, man free from disease saw all his wishes accomplished, and attained an age of 400 years." In the Teutonic Edda, Fab. 7, etc., corruption is represented as suddenly produced by strange women's blandishments who deprived men of their pristine integrity. In the Tibetan, Mongolian, and Singhalese traditions, a covetous temper works the sad change. The Babylonians, Egyptians, and Chinese had the tradition of man's life once reaching thousands of years. The Greeks and Romans made it from 800 to 1,000 years.
2Ch 29:12; 31:15, a Levite, or possibly two. It is not certain that Eden is the true form of the name: Septuagint has Jodan in the first, Odom in the second passage. When it transliterates Eden elsewhere it is usually in the form Edem.
The garden of Eden (that is 'delights'), in which dwelt Adam and Eve for the short time before they sinned. In it God made to grow every tree that was pleasant to the sight and good for food: in it also was the tree of life and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Ge 2:8-15. A fruitful place is described as being like the garden of Eden. Isa 51:3; Eze 36:35; Joe 2:3. The fall of Pharaoh, under the figure of an exalted tree, is said to comfort the trees of Eden, which is called the 'garden of God,' etc. Isa 51:3; Eze 28:13; 31:9,16,18. The trees of Eden having been planted by God, they are in this last passage used as a symbol for the various nations placed by God in the earth, Israel being the centre. De 32:8. Adam was put in the garden to dress and to keep it; but on his fall he was driven out and cherubim were placed to keep the way of the tree of life. Ge 3:23-24.
A river ran out of Eden to water it, and then divided into four. Only two of these can be identified, the Euphrates, and the Hiddekel denoting the Tigris. There are no others to be found to make up the four, and all efforts to find out where the garden of Eden was situated have utterly failed. It belonged to the time of innocence, and as that has gone, the earthly paradise has long ceased to exist. See PARADISE.
2. A people called 'the children of Eden,' dwelling in Thelasar, or Telassar, which had been conquered by Assyria. They supplied Tyre with costly fabrics. 2Ki 19:12; Isa 37:12; Eze 27:23. Its locality is not known.
3. HOUSE OF EDEN or BETH-EDEN. Am 1:5. Apparently a residence of the kings of Damascus, probably situated in some pleasant place.
1. The first residence of man, called in the Septuagint Paradise. The latter is a word of Persian origin, and describes an extensive tract of pleasure land, somewhat like an English park; and the use of it suggests a wider view of man's first abode than a garden. The description of Eden is found in
In the eastern portion of the region of Eden was the garden planted. The Hiddekel, one of its rivers, is the modern Tigris; the Euphrates is the same as the modern Euphrates. With regard to the Pison and Gihon a great variety of opinion exists, but the best authorities are divided between (1) Eden as in northeast Arabia, at the junction of the Euphrates and Tigris, and their separation again, making the four rivers of the different channels of these two, or (2), and most probably, Eden as situated in Armenia, near the origin of the rivers Tigris and Euphrates, and in which same region rise the Araxes (Pison of Genesis) and the Oxus (Gihon).
2. One of the marts which supplied the luxury of Tyre with richly-embroidered stuffs. In
and Isai 37:12 "the sons of Eden" are mentioned with Gozan, Haran and Rezeph as victims of the Assyrian greed of conquest. Probability seems to point to the northwest of Mesopotamia as the locality of Eden.
3. BETH-EDEN, "house of pleasure:" probably the name of a country residence of the kings of Damascus.
EDEN, Garden of, the residence of our first parents in their state of purity and blessedness. The word Eden in the Hebrew denotes "pleasure" or "delight:" whence the name has been given to several places which, from their situation, were pleasant or delightful. Thus the Prophet Am 1:5, speaks of an Eden in Syria, which is generally considered to have been in the valley of Damascus, where a town called Eden is mentioned by Pliny and Ptolemy, and where the tomb of Abel is pretended to be shown. This has in consequence been selected by some as the site of the garden of Eden. By others, the garden has been placed on the eastern side of mount Libanus; and by others again, in Arabia Felix, where traces of the word Eden are found. But the opinion which has been most generally received on this subject is that which places the garden on the Lower Euphrates; between the junction of that river with the Tigris and the gulf of Persia. This is Dr. Well's opinion; in which he is supported by Huetius, Grotius, Marinus, and Bochart. To this it is replied, that, according to this scheme, the garden was intersected by a great branch of the Euphrates, in the lower and broadest part of its course; which will give it an extent absolutely irreconcilable with the idea of Adam's "dressing" it by his own manual labour, or even of overlooking it: beside that all communication would be cut off between its different parts by a stream half a mile in width. Its local features, too, if in this situation, must have been of the most uninteresting kind; the whole of that region, as far as the sight can reach, being a dead, monotonous, sandy, or marshy flat, without a single undulation to relieve the eye, or give any of the beauties which the imagination involuntarily paints to itself as attendant on a spot finished by the hand of God as the residence of his creatures in a state of innocence; whose minds may be supposed to be tuned to the full enjoyment of the grand and beautiful in nature. How different will be the aspect and arrangement of this favoured spot, if it be placed where only, according to the words of Moses, it can be placed; namely, at the heads or fountains of the rivers described, instead of their mouths.
The country of Eden, therefore, according to others, was some where in Media, Armenia, or the north of Mesopotamia; all mountainous tracts, and affording, instead of the sickening plains of Babylonia, some of the grandest, as well as the richest scenery in the world. A river or stream rising in some part of this country, entered the garden; where it was parted into four others, in all probability, by first falling into a basin or lake, from which the other streams issued at different points, taking different directions, and growing into mighty rivers; although at their sources in the garden, they would be like all other rivers, mere brooks, and forming no barrier to a free communication between the parts of the garden. Dr. Wells, in order to support his hypothesis of the situation of Eden on the lower parts of the Euphrates and Tigris, after giving these rivers a distribution which has now no existence, makes the Pison and Gihon to be parts of the Tigris and Euphrates themselves: an arrangement at perfect disagreement with the particular description of Moses; beside, that the Gihon thus called, instead of compassing the whole land of Cush, can only be said to skirt an extreme corner of it. It appears, indeed, that in the time of Alexander, the Euphrates pursued a separate course to the sea; or, at least, that a navigable branch of it was carried in that direction: in the mouth of which, at Diridotis, Nearchus anchored with his fleet. But what reliance can be placed on the ever shifting channels of a river flowing through an alluvial soil, and over a perfect level divertible at the pleasure of the people inhabiting its banks? Or, what theory can be founded on their distribution, which will not be as unstable as the streams them selves? This very channel, so essential to the hypothesis which places Eden in this situation, was annihilated by the Orcheni, a neighbouring people; who directed the stream to water their own land, and thus gave it a shorter course into the Tigris, which it has ever since preserved. But it is only the lower parts of the Euphrates and Tigris, as they creep through the plains of Babylonia, which are thus inconstant: higher up in their courses, they flow over more solid strata, and in deeper valleys, unchanged by time. It is here that their conformity with the Mosaic account is to be sought; and it is here that they may be found, in the exact condition in which they were left by the deluge, and, indeed, according to Moses, in which they existed before that event. It is true, that the heads of the four rivers, above described, cannot now be found sufficiently near, to recognize thence the exact situation of paradise; but they all arise from the same mountainous region; and the springs of the Euphrates and Tigris, as already mentioned, are even now nearly interwoven. Mr. Faber supposes the lake Arsissa to cover the site of Eden; and that the change which carried the heads of the rivers to a greater distance from it, was occasioned by the deluge. But it is far more probable that this change, if we may infer from the account given by Moses that the courses of all the streams remained unaltered by the flood, may have taken place at man's expulsion from the garden: when God might choose to obliterate this fair portion of his works, unfitted for any thing but the residence of innocence; and to blot at once from the face of the earth, like the guilty cities of the plain, both the site and the memorial of man's transgression,