[b-hebrew] Four Rivers of Eden - Somewhere Up North

tladatsi at charter.net tladatsi at charter.net
Fri May 13 00:50:25 EDT 2005


Christopher,

I think you make some very good points but I am not sure 
that I agree with you one point.  While the modern reader 
with access to accurate maps can discern that the four 
rivers do not in fact have a common source, I doubt the 
ancient reader or author would have known that.  Rather 
than intentionally creating a *never-never land* the author 
seems rather to be pointing to a real place that is 
completely inaccessable to the reader.  No 1st millenium 
Judean or Israelite is going to trek into the lands of the 
wild Medes (Kurds) to find either Eden or the sources of 
these rivers.  It was perceived as a real place, *far, far, 
away*.

Also there is clearly some historical kernal to this story.  
2nd King 19 reports that king of Assyria brags of defeating 
the "sons of Eden" somewhere near Haran in the northern 
edge of Mesopotemia.  Abram travels through this area on 
his journey from Ur to Canaan.

When the flood ends, Noah finds his box has landed in the 
mountains near Ararat, near the headwaters of both Tigris 
and Euphrates.  This can't be a coincidence.  

In Joshua 24, Joshua makes several references to the 
ancestors living *beyond the flood*, i.e. the Euphrates.  
It is traditionally thought to think that Joshua was 
looking eastward toward Ur (which is on the same side of 
Euphrates as Sechem is).  However if one looks northward 
from Sechem the Euphrates is there as well (it has a 
northwestern orientation) and across the Euphrates is Haran 
and beyond that the highlands of the Medes the headwaters 
of the Tigris and Euphrates.

It would seem that there was a general belief that the 
Israel and Judea came from somewhere *up north*.

Jack Tladatsi




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