What does Genesis 2:14 mean?
ESV: And the name of the third river is the Tigris, which flows east of Assyria. And the fourth river is the Euphrates.
NIV: The name of the third river is the Tigris; it runs along the east side of Ashur. And the fourth river is the Euphrates.
NASB: The name of the third river is Tigris; it flows east of Assyria. And the fourth river is the Euphrates.
CSB: The name of the third river is Tigris, which runs east of Assyria. And the fourth river is the Euphrates.
NLT: The third branch, called the Tigris, flowed east of the land of Asshur. The fourth branch is called the Euphrates.
KJV: And the name of the third river is Hiddekel: that is it which goeth toward the east of Assyria. And the fourth river is Euphrates.
This passage, starting in verse 10, describes a river which splits into four smaller waterways after leaving Eden. These rivers show connections to rivers and lands we know in the modern world, but for the most part cannot be explicitly identified. These details would have been useful for the original readers of Genesis, in knowing where Eden was located, but without knowing exactly where the garden had been.
Scholars do not universally agree on the locations of the previous two rivers mentioned, Pishon and Gihon, but the Tigris and Euphrates are well known rivers in the region to this day. In fact, these waterways are strongly connected with the ancient region known as Mesopotamia.
The Tigris flows east of the ancient Assyrian capital of Ashur. The Euphrates river is to the west of the Tigris. These rivers flow from the region of modern-day Turkey, through modern-day Iraq, and join into a single path before emptying into the Persian Gulf.
Genesis 2:10–14 is a side-note in the chapter's description of the creation of man. The details given here would have helped the original readers of Genesis understand the location of the Garden of Eden. The reason for this description is not given. In later verses, the Bible will make it clear that God does not intend for man to return to Eden (Genesis 3:24). However, the garden might have been destroyed in the flood, at which point there would be no harm in knowing where it used to be.
Genesis 2 begins with a description of the seventh day of creation, in which God rested from His work. Then it returns to the sixth day and describes in more detail the creation of man, the garden God placed him into, and the work God gave him to do. God recognizes that it is not good for man to be alone and makes a helper for him out of his own rib. This woman becomes Adam's companion and wife, setting the original example of God's design for marriage. The two exist in pure innocence, naked yet unashamed before sin enters into the world.
Genesis 2 concludes the description of God's week of creation and then zooms in on the creation of man, his work, his perfect environment, and the creation of woman as his helper and wife. It is our last glimpse of the world before it is ravaged by human sin and death with the disobedience of Adam and Eve in chapter 3. Where chapter 1 gave a full overview of creation, this chapter focuses more on a few specific events. These are crucial to understanding the fall of man.
The book of Genesis establishes fundamental truths about God. Among these are His role as the Creator, His holiness, His hatred of sin, His love for mankind, and His willingness to provide for our redemption. We learn not only where mankind has come from, but why the world is in its present form. The book also presents the establishment of Israel, God's chosen people. Many of the principles given in other parts of Scripture depend on the basic ideas presented here in the book of Genesis. Within the framework of the Bible, Genesis explains the bare-bones history of the universe leading up to the captivity of Israel in Egypt, setting the stage for the book of Exodus.
Accessed 3/1/2024 2:46:19 AM
© Copyright 2002-2024 Got Questions Ministries. All rights reserved.
Text from ESV, NIV, NASB, CSB, NLT, KJV © Copyright respective owners, used by permission.