Genesis 2:13

13 The name of the second river is Gihon; it is the one that flows around the whole land of Cush.

Genesis 2:13 Meaning and Commentary

Genesis 2:13

And the name of the second river [is] Gihon
There was one of this name in the land of Israel, which, or a branch of it, flowed near Jerusalem, ( 1 Kings 1:33 ) ( 2 Chronicles 32:30 ) this Aben Ezra suggests is here meant, and which favours the notion of the above learned man, that the garden of Eden was in the land of Israel. Josephus F8 takes it to be the river Nile, as do many others; it seems to have been a branch of the river Euphrates or Tigris, on the eastern side, as Phison was on the west; and so Aben Ezra says it came from the south east. The learned Reland F9 will have it to be the river Araxes: it has its name, according to Jarchi, from the force it goes with, and the noise it makes. And it seems to have its name from (xwg) , which signifies to come forth with great force, as this river is said to do, when it pours itself into the Baltic sea.

The same [is] it that compasseth the whole land of Ethiopia;
either Ethiopia above Egypt; and this favours the notion of those who take Gihon to be the Nile: for Pausanias F11 says, that it was commonly reported that the Nile was Euphrates, which disappearing in a marsh, rose up above Ethiopia, and became the Nile, and so washed that country, and is thought to agree very well with the Mosaic account: or else that Cush or Ethiopia, which bordered on Midian, and was a part of Arabia, and may be called Arabia Chusea, often meant by Cush in Scripture. Reland F12 thinks the country of the Cossaeans or Cussaeans, a people bordering on Media, the country of Kuhestan, a province of Persia, is intended.

(After the global destruction of Noah's flood, it is doubtful that the location of these rivers could be determined with any degree of certainty today. Ed.)


F8 Antiqu, l. 1. c. 1. sect. 3. Philostorg. Eccl. Hist. l. 3. c. 10. p. 482.
F9 De situ Paradisi, p. 32.
F11 Corinthiaca sive, l. 2. p. 94.
F12 Ut supra, (De situ Paradisi) p. 38.

Genesis 2:13 In-Context

11 The name of the first is Pishon; it is the one that flows around the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold;
12 and the gold of that land is good; bdellium and onyx stone are there.
13 The name of the second river is Gihon; it is the one that flows around the whole land of Cush.
14 The name of the third river is Tigris, which flows east of Assyria. And the fourth river is the Euphrates.
15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it.
New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.