Gen. 2:8 And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed. 9 And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. 10 And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads. 11 The name of the first is Pison: that is it which compasseth the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold; 12 And the gold of that land is good: there is bdellium and the onyx stone. 13 And the name of the second river is Gihon: the same is it that compasseth the whole land of Ethiopia. 14 And the name of the third river is Hiddekel: that is it which goeth toward the east of Assyria. And the fourth river is Euphrates. 15 And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.
The garden was the habitat designed by God for the first man, Adam. This is of course assuming you don’t believe in a pre-adamite theory! The four rivers are:
- Pison. This river head encompassed the land of Havilah which may have been 3 separate parts. It is associated with a land of gold or shimmering. Because of this clue some people, such as Egyptologist David Rohl, identify it with the Sefīd-Rūd. This riverbed runs through Iran.
- Gihon. Meaning bursting forth or gushing, similar to the meaning of the Euphrates. The Book of Jasher identifies Gihon with a great sea. The land that this river encompasses is said to be Cush which is the ancient name of the land of Ethiopia. Cush is the land settled by Ham and his descendants. Because of this, some have identified it as the Nile. It could be possible that this is identifying the Red Sea as well.
- Hiddekel. The Hiddekel is associated the the Tigris river in Mesopotamia which is modern Iraq. There is very little debate about the identity of this river amongst modern day academia.
- Euphrates. The Euphrates river has been a landmark river amongst all during biblical times and is not disputed today. It, along with the Tigris river flows through modern day Iraq.
An interesting article of the four river heads was written by David Gibson.
Verse 15 tells us that man was placed in the Garden of Eden to work it and guard it. He was required to dress it, which means variously to be in bodage to, work, or be enslaved to which basically means to work it (such as dressing a turkey is arranging items and working it). To keep it means to guard it and protect it. Guard and protect it from what though? Any ideas?