EdenAid to Bible Understanding
four “heads,” producing the rivers named as the Euphrates, Hiddekel, Pishon and Gihon. (Gen. 2:10-14) The Euphrates (Heb., Perathʹ) is well known, and “Hiddekel” is the name used for the Tigris in ancient inscriptions. (Compare also Daniel 10:4.) The other two rivers, the Pishon and the Gihon, however, are unidentified.—See CUSH No. 2; HAVILAH No. 1.
Some, such as Calvin and Delitzsch, have argued in favor of Eden’s situation somewhere near the head of the Persian Gulf in Lower Mesopotamia, approximately at the place where the Tigris and the Euphrates draw near together. They associated the Pishon and Gihon with canals between these streams. However, this would make these rivers tributaries, rather than branches dividing off from an original source. The Hebrew text points, rather, to a location in the mountainous region N of the Mesopotamian plains, the area where the Euphrates and Tigris Rivers have their present sources. Thus The Anchor Bible, 1964, in its commentary on Genesis 2:10, states: “In Heb[rew] the mouth of the river is called ‘end’ (Josh xv 5, xviii 19); hence the plural of ro’s ‘head’ must refer here to the upper course. . . . This latter usage is well attested for the Akk[adian] cognate resu.” The fact that the Euphrates and Tigris Rivers do not now proceed from a single source, as well as the impossibility of definitely determining the identification of the Pishon and Gihon Rivers, is best explained by the effects of the Noachian flood, which undoubtedly altered considerably the topographical features of the earth, filling in the courses of some rivers and creating others.
Supporting a location of Eden in the mountainous region mentioned is the fact that the ark with its survivors came to rest on “the mountains of Ararat” (Gen. 8:4) Since the ark was not powered but merely floated, it should reasonably be expected to have settled again at least in the general region in which the floodwaters lifted it up. That Eden may have been surrounded by some natural barrier, such as mountains, could be suggested by the fact that cherubs are stated to have been stationed only at the E of the garden, from which point Adam and Eve made their exit. (Gen. 3:24) So, the traditional location for the garden of Eden has long been suggested as an area some 140 miles (225 kilometers) SW of Mount Ararat and a few miles S of Lake Van, in the eastern part of modern Turkey.
After Adam’s banishment from the paradisaic garden, with no one to “cultivate it and to take care of it,” it may be assumed that it merely grew up in natural profusion with only the animals to inhabit its confines until, some 1,656 years later, it was obliterated by the surging waters of the Flood, its location lost to man except for the divine record of its existence.
2. A place mentioned along with Haran and Canneh as a principal trading center with Tyre, specializing in fine garments, carpets and rope. (Ezek. 27:23, 24) It is suggested to be an abbreviated form of the name Beth-eden referred to at Amos 1:5. The “sons of Eden” are included among other inhabitants of places that were vanquished by the Assyrian forces (2 Ki. 19:12; Isa. 37:12), and it is generally considered that this Eden (or Beth-eden) corresponds to the small district of Bit-adini along the middle course of the Euphrates River.—See BETH-EDEN.
3. One of the Levites who responded to King Hezekiah’s call for reform; thereafter assigned to work under Kore, “the gatekeeper to the east,” in the distribution of the holy contributions among the priestly divisions.—2 Chron. 29:12; 31:14, 15.
EderAid to Bible Understanding
(Eʹder) [drove, flock].
1. A descendant of Beriah of the tribe of Benjamin who dwelt in Jerusalem.—1 Chron. 8:1, 15, 16, 28.
2. A descendant of Mushi of the Levitical family of Merari, assigned to priestly service during the time of David.—1 Chron. 23:21, 23-25; 24:30.
3. A city in the southern part of Judah. (Josh. 15:21) Since the Septuagint has “A·raʹ” instead of “Eder” in this text, most geographers consider them identical, locating both at Tell Arad, twenty-two and a half miles (36.2 kilometers) E-NE of Beer-sheba.
4. A tower near which Jacob (Israel) pitched his tent sometime after the death of Rachel. Although its exact location is not known, it was apparently located some place between Bethlehem and Heron. The name Eder (meaning “drove” or “flock”) indicates it provided shelter for shepherds and served as a watchtower from which they could oversee their flocks. (Gen. 35:19, 21, 27) While tenting here, his son Reuben “profaned [Jacob’s] lounge,” having relations with Jacob’s concubine Bilhah.—Vs. 22; 49:3, 4.
The same Hebrew expression here translated “tower of Eder” (migh·dal-ʽeʹdher) is used by Micah (4:8) when referring to the “tower of the drove.” This expression may allude to the name of Jacob’s camping site, and is used in connection with the restoration of Jehovah’s “limping” people. (Vs. 7) With “Zion” restored they would be watched over as from a lookout “tower” and thereby be guarded from further danger. Such an illustration is consistent with other similes in Micah’s prophecy, he referring to the Messiah as one who would do “shepherding” (5:2-4) and Jehovah’s people as “the flock of [God’s] inheritance.”—7:14.
EdomAid to Bible Understanding
(Eʹdom) [red, ruddy], Edomites.
Edom was the secondary name or byname given to Esau, Jacob’s twin brother. (Gen. 36:1) It was applied to him because of his selling his birthright for the red stew. (Gen. 25:30-34) Coincidentally, Esau at birth had had a very ruddy color (Gen. 25:25), and a similar color prevailed in parts of the land he and his descendants later inhabited.
SEIR AND EDOM
Sometime during Jacob’s twenty-year stay in Haran Esau, (Edom) had begun to establish himself in the land of Seir, “the field of Edom.” (Gen. 32:3) Thus, even before the death of his father (Gen. 35:29), Esau was apparently beginning to fulfill Isaac’s prophetic blessing, directing his attention away from the fertile soils around Hebron and, doubtless, beginning to ‘live by his sword,’ along with the four hundred men under his command. (Gen. 27:39, 40; 32:6, 8) The record indicates, however, that he still maintained residence or a base camp in the Hebron area, not transferring definitely to the mountainous region of Seir until after his father’s death (1738 B.C.E.). By then his family had grown and his possessions were great.—Gen. 36:6-8.
The land of Seir had previously been the domain of Horites (Gen. 14:6; 36:20-30), but Esau’s sons dispossessed the Horite sheiks and took over the region. (Deut. 2:12) Thereafter the land became known as the land of Edom, though the older name of Seir still continued to be in use. (Num. 24:18) The name Seir seems to be echoed in the modern name Jebel esh-Shera’, applied to the principal mountain range S of the Dead Sea and E of the Arabah (the southern extension of the great Rift Valley, which, N of the Dead Sea, forms the valley of the Jordan).
The territory of Edom extended about a hundred miles (c. 161 kilometers) from its frontier with Moab in the N, formed by the torrent valley of Zered, down to Elath (Eloth) on the Gulf of Aqabah in the S. (Deut. 2:1-8, 13, 14; 1 Ki. 9:26) To the E, the Edomite domain apparently extended out to the edge of the Arabian Desert, while to the W it reached across the Arabah to the wilderness of Zin and embraced the Negeb highlands region stretching from the SW corner of the Dead Sea on down to Kadesh-barnea. The western portion of Edom therefore came to form the SE boundary of Judah’s territory.—Josh. 15:1; compare Numbers 34:3.
The true heartland of the Edomite territory, however,