The Beginning, Part 3
Genesis 2:10-14 (NKJV)
Daniel 10:4 (NKJV)
Even though I’m not a great outdoorsman, I was raised by a dad who loved to fish so I spent a lot of time outside reading while my parents fished. I am, after all, a bookish sort of person. His parents loved to fish as well. I’m not sure if my dad got his fishing skills from his dad or his mom, or both. I do know that my Grandma Ireland was one of the most skilled fishermen I’ve seen. She LOVED fishing and she was really good at it. She was born in 1904 in Gallatin, Missouri and she grew up on a farm.
My Grandpa Ireland lived in Montana for a good portion of his life, but by the time he met my grandmother he was living in Kingston, Missouri. They married in the mid-1920’s and they owned a grocery store in Kansas City, Missouri from the late twenties through the mid-1960’s. Their only vacation destination was to a river or a lake. They loved fishing!
I remember them coming home from their fishing trips with hundreds of fish to fry and eat. My grandfather was the butcher at their store and they cooked everything in lard (which as it turns out isn’t as unhealthy as we’ve been led to believe it is). Grandma would fry fish in lard, rolled in cornmeal to perfection.
When I was a little older my mom and dad would go trout fishing at Lake Taneycomo in southern Missouri. They also had a pontoon boat docked at Lake Jacomo. My dad, just like his parents was forever ‘hooked’ on river and lake dwelling fish. I do know how to fish, bait my own hook, and remove the hook from the fish using gloves and a good pair of needle nose pliers, but I am not a great fishermen. The truth is, when we would go fishing I was usually reading. Go figure...
In Genesis 2:10-14 we read, “Now a river went out of Eden to water the garden, and from there it parted and became four riverheads. The name of the first is Pishon; it is the one which skirts the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold. And the gold of that land is good. Bdellium and the onyx stone are there. The name of the second river is Gihon; it is the one which goes around the whole land of Cush. The name of the third river is Hiddekel; it is the one which goes toward the east of Assyria. The fourth river is the Euphrates.”
God made a river in Eden so they would have water, and as we know water is life. Vegetation needs water to grow. People and animals need water to survive. As people migrated they would have stayed near a water source.
From this passage we can determine that God knew people would not live a secluded life in Eden. God knew they would leave Eden and live in all four corners of the world. The four rivers in Genesis went to different areas.
Here’s what we do know from this scripture:
This account is written in first person. It’s a person telling a story about the rivers.
The names of the rivers in Genesis don’t have a common thread. Only two have symbolic meaning and we only have some clues about geography.
The main river in Eden is not given a name. That would have been a dead give-a-way as to the location of Eden.
The number, four could symbolically mean these rivers flow to the four corners of the earth.
The first river, named Pishon means ‘to leap’ but we don’t know a lot about the geography of the Pishon River and I couldn’t find another reference to Pishon in scripture. The scripture does mention gold, Bdellium, and onyx stone being near this river so the location of those gives us some clues about geography.
The second river, Gihon means ‘to break out’. We only have mention of this river going around the land of Cush (modern day Ethiopia). Cush was one of Noah’s sons in the Bible.
The third river had the name of the Hebrew word Hiddegel which means Tigris. That same word is used in Daniel 10:4 when Daniel showed up at that river. The specific identification of this river flowing out of Eden is not known, but Daniel was in Susiana (which is modern day Iran).
The fourth river mentioned is the Euphrates which is mentioned elsewhere in scripture in Genesis 15, and Revelation 1, 9, and 16. The river that bears that name today is in Turkey, Syria, and Iraq.
We also need to remember that in Genesis 6 and 7 the Great Flood changed the flow of the rivers from the beginning in Genesis 2. Because the topography of the land changed after the flood we really have no idea where the Garden of Eden is located. I am of the opinion that even if we walked right past it we wouldn’t see it because it is guarded by Angels to this day.
If you’d like to read more about these rivers, you can go to: https://www.christianstudylibrary.org/article/genesis-210-14-–-some-thoughts-rivers-paradise
It’s a great article packed with tons of information.
The importance of the river, and a water source reminded me of my birthplace and hometown, Kansas City. The Missouri River flows through Kansas City and so does the Blue River. Kansas City (on the Kansas and Missouri sides) also has lakes and other water sources in addition to the Missouri and the Blue Rivers.
Even today you don’t have to go far to find a good fishing hole inside Kansas City, Missouri city limits.
The abundance of a good water source was a factor when folks traveling west were looking for a place to settle down and live. The settlers knew a water source was important. God knew rivers and lakes were a key element to survival. As we’ve studied Genesis 1 and 2 we see clearly that God’s initial intent and purpose was that we would survive AND thrive.
That’s exactly what we have done.
Today’s Spiritual Practice is: Thrive
While survival is good, God also wants us to thrive. Consider what that means to you. As you look to your future, are there ways you would like to thrive? Write those down and speak a prayer to God based on your request to thrive. Tell God what’s in your heart. God loves hearing from you.
In God, Deborah