Genesis 2:11 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 2:11, NIV: "The name of the first is the Pishon; it winds through the entire land of Havilah, where there is gold."

Genesis 2:11, ESV: "The name of the first is the Pishon. It is the one that flowed around the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold."

Genesis 2:11, KJV: "The name of the first is Pison: that is it which compasseth the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold;"

Genesis 2:11, NASB: "The name of the first is Pishon; it flows around the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold."

Genesis 2:11, NLT: "The first branch, called the Pishon, flowed around the entire land of Havilah, where gold is found."

Genesis 2:11, CSB: "The name of the first is Pishon, which flows through the entire land of Havilah, where there is gold."

What does Genesis 2:11 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Verses 10 through 14 describe the territories around Eden, by commenting on the great river which flowed out of the region and divided into four smaller rivers. These details correspond to rivers or lands we know in the modern world, helping us understand where the region of Eden was without knowing the specific location of the garden.

The first of the four rivers described is Pishon. The word Pishon means "to leap" and may have come from a physical description of the river itself. The river might have been turbulent, crooked, or steep and filled with waterfalls and eddies. Pishon is described as flowing around the land of Havilah. Scholars suggest Havilah may be Arabia, an area known for gold. If that's right, Pishon would be an Arabian river or one associated with the Persian Gulf.

Unlike two of the other rivers identified in this passage, Tigris and Euphrates, we don't have an explicit connection between this "leaping" river and a known waterway in the modern world.