Genesis 2:12 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 2:12, NIV: "(The gold of that land is good; aromatic resin and onyx are also there.)"

Genesis 2:12, ESV: "And the gold of that land is good; bdellium and onyx stone are there."

Genesis 2:12, KJV: "And the gold of that land is good: there is bdellium and the onyx stone."

Genesis 2:12, NASB: "The gold of that land is good; the bdellium and the onyx stone are there as well."

Genesis 2:12, NLT: "The gold of that land is exceptionally pure; aromatic resin and onyx stone are also found there."

Genesis 2:12, CSB: "Gold from that land is pure; bdellium and onyx are also there."

What does Genesis 2:12 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

This passage helps us to understand where the region of Eden was without knowing the specific location of the garden. Verses 10 through 14 describe the four smaller rivers which came from a larger river flowing out of the territory of Eden. These rivers correspond to rivers and lands we know in the modern world.

The previous verse described the first of those four rivers. The river Pishon was said to flow around the land of Havilah, "where there is gold." Some scholars understand Havilah to be Arabia, an area known in the ancient world as a great source of gold. The name means "to leap," which might imply a steep, turbulent, or dangerous river.

This verse describes the quality of that gold as good or possibly pure. Also found in the region were onyx stone, which would later be important to Israel, in decorating the temple and tabernacle. This land is said to have been rich in bdellium, a translucent substance—though due to ancient flexibility in describing gems and minerals, this particular mention might be of some completely different stone.

In any case, the region being described is one rich in specific resources. And, as such, it is clearly meant to be understood as a literal location.