on Genesis 2 :8
A garden eastward in Eden - Though the word עדן Eden signifies pleasure or delight, it is certainly the name of a place. See Genesis 4:16; 2 Kings 19:12; Isaiah 37:12; Ezekiel 27:23; Amos 1:5. And such places probably received their name from their fertility, pleasant situation, etc. In this light the Septuagint have viewed it, as they render the passage thus: Εφυτευσεν ὁ Θεος παραδεισον εν Εδεν, God planted a paradise in Eden. Hence the word paradise has been introduced into the New Testament, and is generally used to signify a place of exquisite pleasure and delight. From this the ancient heathens borrowed their ideas of the gardens of the Hesperides, where the trees bore golden fruit; the gardens of Adonis, a word which is evidently derived from the Hebrew עדן Eden; and hence the origin of sacred gardens or enclosures dedicated to purposes of devotion, some comparatively innocent, others impure. The word paradise is not Greek; in Arabic and Persian it signifies a garden, a vineyard, and also the place of the blessed. The Mohammedans say that God created the Jennet al Ferdoos, the garden of paradise, from light, and the prophets and wise men ascend thither. Wilmet places it after the root farada, to separate, especially a person or place, for the purposes of devotion, but supposes it to be originally a Persian word, vox originis Persicae quam in sua lingua conservarunt Armeni. As it is a word of doubtful origin, its etymology is uncertain.
on Genesis 2 :8
- XI. The Garden
8. גן gan "garden, park," παράδεισος paradeisos, "an enclosed piece of ground." עדן ‛ēden "Eden, delight." קדם qedem "fore-place, east; foretime."
11. פישׁון pı̂yshôn Pishon; related: "flow over, spread, leap." חוילה chăvı̂ylâh Chavilah. חול chôl "sand." חבל chebel "region."
12. בדלם bedolam, ἄνθραξ anthrax, "carbuncle," (Septuagint) Βδέλλιον bdellion, a gum of eastern countries, Arabia, India, Media (Josephus, etc.). The pearl (Kimchi). שׁהם sohām πράσινος prasinos, "leeklike," perhaps the beryl (Septuagint), ὄνυξ onux, "onyx, sardonyx," a precious stone of the color of the nail (Jerome).
13. גיחון gı̂ychôn Gichon; related: "break forth." כוּשׁ kûsh Kush; r. "heap, gather?"
14. חדקל דגלא dı̂glā' chı̂ddeqel Dijlah, "Tigris." חדק chād, "be sharp. rapidus," פרת perat Frat, Euphrates. The "sweet or broad stream." Old Persian, "frata," Sanskrit, "prathu," πλατύς platus.
This paragraph describes the planting of the garden of Eden, and determines its situation. It goes back, therefore, as we conceive, to the third day, and runs parallel with the preceding passage.
And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden to the east. - It is evident that the order of thought is here observed. For the formation of man with special allusion to his animal nature immediately suggests the means by which his physical needs are to be supplied. The order of time is an open question so far as the mere conjunction of the sentences is concerned. It can only be determined by other considerations.
Here, then, the writer either relates a new creation of trees for the occasion, or reverts to the occurrences of the third day. But though in the previous verses he declares the field to be without timber, yet in the account of the third day the creation of trees is recorded. Now, it is unnecessary, and therefore unreasonable, to assume two creations of trees at so short an interval of time. In the former paragraph the author advanced to the sixth day, in order to lay before his readers without any interruption the means by which the two conditions of vegetative progress were satisfied. This brings man into view, and his appearance gives occasion to speak of the means by which his needs were supplied.
For this purpose, the author drops the thread of events following the creation of man, and reverts to the third day. He describes more particularly what was then done. A center of vegetation was chosen for the trees, from which they were to be propagated by seed over the land. This central spot is called a garden or park. It is situated in a region which is distinguished by its name as a land of delight. It is said, as we understand, to be in the eastern quarter of Eden. For the word מקדם mı̂qedem "on the east" is most simply explained by referring to some point indicated in the text. There are two points to which it may here refer - the place where the man was created, and the country in which the garden was placed. But the man was not created at this time, and, moreover, the place of his creation is not indicated; and hence, we must refer to the country in which the garden was placed.
And put there the man whom he had formed. - The writer has still the formation of man in thought, and therefore proceeds to state that he was thereupon placed in the garden which had been prepared for his reception, before going on to give a description of the garden. This verse, therefore, forms a transition from the field and its cultivator to the garden and its inhabitants.
Without the previous document concerning the creation, however, it could not have been certainly known that a new line of narrative was taken up in this verse. Neither could we have discovered what was the precise time of the creation of the trees. Hence, this verse furnishes a new proof that the present document was composed, not as an independent production, but as a continuation of the former.
on Genesis 2 :8