GARDEN OF EDEN
A garden located in the Tigris-Euphrates area of Mesopotamia, where the first humans and animals lived. Also: “Eden,” “Garden of Eden,” “The Garden of Eden and Creation,” and “Garden of God.”
EDEN (Ēʹ dĕn) Garden of God. “Eden” is probably derived from the Sumerian-Akkadian edinu, meaning “flatland” or “wilderness.” The similarity to the Hebrew verb eden, meaning “delight” or “pleasure,” resulted in the Septuagint’s translation of the expression “garden of Eden” as “garden of delight,” hence paradise.
“Eden” appears 20 times in the OT but never in the NT. Two usage’s refer to men (2 Chron. 29:12; 31:15). Twice the name is used to designate a city or region in the Assyrian province of Thelassar (Isa. 37:12; 2 Kings 19:12). Ezekiel 27:23 mentions a region named Eden located on the Euphrates. Amos 1:5 refers to the ruler of Damascus as holding the scepter of the house of Eden.
The 14 remaining appearances relate to the idyllic place of creation. In Genesis (2:8, 10, 15; 3:23–24; 4:16) the reference is to the region in which a garden was placed. Though details seem precise, identification of the rivers that flow from the river issuing forth from Eden cannot be accomplished with certainty. The Euphrates and the Tigris can be identified, but there is no agreement on the location of the Pishon and the Gihon.
Joel 2:3 compares Judah’s condition before its destruction with Eden. In Isa. 51:3 and Ezek. 36:35 Eden is used as an illustration of the great prosperity God would bestow on Judah. These exilic prophets promised that the nation God restored after the exile would be like Eden’s garden. Ezekiel also refers to the trees of Eden (31:9, 16, 18) and calls Eden the garden of God (28:13).
Robert Anderson Street