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Eden Approximate Region

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EDENe’-d’-n (`edhen, delight; Edem):

(1) The land in which ‘Yahweh God’ [YHWH ‘ELOHIYM] planted a garden, where upon his creation he put the man whom he had formed (Genesis 2:8).

In the Assyrian inscriptions idinu (Accadian, edin) means plain and it is from this that the Biblical word is probably derived. Following are the references to Eden in the Bible, aside from those in Genesis 2 and 3: Genesis 4:16 Isaiah 51:3 Ezekiel 28:13; Ezekiel 31:9, 16, 18; 36:35 Joel 2:3. The Garden of Eden is said to be eastward, in Eden Genesis (2:8); where the vegetation was luxurious (2:9) and the fig tree indigenous (3:7), and where it was watered by irrigation.

All kinds of animals, including cattle, beasts of the field and birds, were found there (2:19, 20). Moreover, the climate was such that clothing was not needed for warmth. It is not surprising, therefore, that the plural of the word has the meaning delights, and that Eden has been supposed to mean the land of delights, and that the word became a synonym for Paradise.


Brook of Egypt


Brook of Egypt and surrounding area

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Numbers 34:5 and the border shall turn about from Azmon to the brook of Egypt, and the goings out of it shall be at the sea.Joshua 15:4 and it passed along to Azmon, went out at the brook of Egypt; and the border ended at the sea. This shall be your south border.

Joshua 15:47 Ashdod, its towns and its villages; Gaza, its towns and its villages; to the brook of Egypt, and the great sea with its coastline.

1 Kings 8:65 So Solomon held the feast at that time, and all Israel with him, a great assembly, from the entrance of Hamath to the brook of Egypt, before ‘Yahweh’ (YHWH) our ‘God’ (‘ELOHIYM), seven days and seven days, even fourteen days.

2 Kings 24:7 The king of Egypt didn’t come again out of his land any more; for the king of Babylon had taken, from the brook of Egypt to the river Euphrates, all that pertained to the king of Egypt.

2 Chronicles 7:8 So Solomon held the feast at that time seven days, and all Israel with him, a very great assembly, from the entrance of Hamath to the brook of Egypt.

Isaiah 27:12 It will happen in that day, that ‘Yahweh’ (YHWH) will thresh from the flowing stream of the Euphrates to the brook of Egypt; and you will be gathered one by one, children of Israel.

Ezekiel 47:19 The south side southward shall be from Tamar as far as the waters of Meriboth Kadesh, to the brook of Egypt, to the great sea. This is the south side southward.

Ezekiel 48:28 By the border of Gad, at the south side southward, the border shall be even from Tamar to the waters of Meribath Kadesh, to the brook of Egypt, to the great sea.


BROOK OF EGYPT, THE(nachal = “a flowing stream,” “a valley”; best translated by the oriental word wady, which means, as the Hebrew word does, both a stream and its valley).

1. Name:

The Brook of Egypt is mentioned six times in the Old Testament (Numbers 34:5 Joshua 15:4, 47 1 Kings 8:65 Isaiah 27:12); once, Genesis 15:18, by another word, nahar. The Brook of Egypt was not an Egyptian stream at all, but a little desert stream near the borderland of Egypt a wady of the desert, and, perhaps, the dividing line between Canaan and Egypt. It is usually identified with the Wady el ‘Arish of modern geography.

2. Description:

The Brook of Egypt comes down from the plateau et Tih in the Sinai peninsula and falls into the Mediterranean Sea at latitude 31 5 North, longitude 33 42 East. Its source is at the foot of the central mountain group of the peninsula. The upper portion of the wady is some 400 ft. above the sea. Its course, with one sharp bend to the West in the upper part, runs nearly due North along the western slope of the plateau. Its whole course of 140 miles lies through the desert. These streams in the Sinai peninsula are usually dry water-courses, which at times become raging rivers, but are very seldom babbling “brooks.” The floods are apt to come with little or no warning when cloudbursts occur in the mountain region drained.

3. Archaeology:

The use of the Hebrew word nachal for this wady points to a curious and most interesting and important piece of archaeological evidence on the critical question of the origin of the Pentateuch. In the Pentateuch, the streams of Egypt are designated by an Egyptian word (ye’or) which belongs to Egypt, as the word bayou does to the lower Mississippi valley, while every other stream mentioned, not except this desert stream, “the Brook of Egypt,” is designated by one or other of two Hebrew words, na chal and nahar. Each of these words occurs 13 times in the Pentateuch, but never of the streams of Egypt. The use of nahar in Exodus 7:19 in the account of the plagues is not really an exception for the word is then used generically in contrast with ye’or to distinguish between the “flowing streams,” neharoth, and the sluggish irrigation branches of the Nile, ye’orim, “canals” (compare CANALS) (Isaiah 19:6; Isaiah 33:21), while ye’or occurs 30 times but never of any other than the streams of Egypt. There is thus a most exa ct discrimination in the use of these various words, a discrimination which is found alike in the Priestly Code (P), Jahwist (Jahwist), and Elohim (E) of the documentary theory, and also where the editor is supposed to have altered the documents. Such discrimination is scarcely credible on the hypothesis that the Pentateuch is by more than one author, in later than Mosaic times, or that it is by any author without Egyptian training. The documentary theory which requires these instances of the use of these various words for “river” to have been recorded by several different authors or redactors, in different ages and all several centuries after the Exodus, far away from Egypt and opportunities for accurate knowledge of its language, seems utterly incompatible with such discriminating use of these words. And even if the elimination of all mistakes be attributed to one person, a final editor, the difficulty is scarcely lessened. For as no purpose is served by this discriminating use of words, it is evidently a natural phenomenon. In every instance of the use of ye’or, one or other of the usual Hebrew words, nachal or nahar would have served the purpose of the author, just as any foreign religious writer might with propriety speak of the “streams of Louisiana,” though a Louisianian would certainly call them “bayous.” How does the author come to use ye’or even where his native Hebrew words might have been used appropriately? Why never, where its appropriateness is even doubtful, not even saying ye’or for nachal of the “Brook of Egypt”? It is not art, but experience, in the use of a language which gives such skill as to attend to so small a thing in so extensive use without a single mistake. The only time and place at which such experience in the use of Egyptian words is to be expected in Israel is among the people of the Exodus not long subsequent to that event.

M. G. Kyle


Ephah (Midian)



Ephah (Midian) and surrounding area

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Isaiah 60:6 The multitude of camels shall cover you, the dromedaries of Midian and Ephah; all they from Sheba shall come; they shall bring gold and frankincense, and shall proclaim the praises of ‘Yahweh’ [YHWH].


MIDIAN; MIDIANITESmid’-i-an, mid’-i-an-its (midhyan, midhyanim; Madiam, Madienaioi):

1. The See d of Abraham to the Time of the Judges:

Midian was a son of Abraham by his concubine Keturah. To him were born 5 sons, Ephah, Epher, Hanoch, Abida and Eldaah (Genesis 25:2, 4 1 Chronicles 1:32 f). Bearing gifts from Abraham, he and his brothers, each with his own household, moved off from Isaac into “the east country” (Genesis 25:6). The first recorded incident in the history of the tribe is a defeat suffered “in the field of Moab” at the hands of Hadad, king of Edom. Of this nothing beyond the fact is known (Genesis 36:35 1 Chronicles 1:46). The Midianites next appear as merchantmen traveling from Gilead to Egypt, with “spicery and balm and myrrh,” with no prejudice against a turn of slave-dealing (Genesis 37:25). Moses, on fleeing from Egypt, found refuge in the land of Midian, and became son-in-law of Jethro, the priest of Midian (Exodus 2:15, 21). In Midian Moses received his commission to Israel in Egypt (Exodus 4:19). A Midianite, familiar with the desert, acted as guide (“instead of eyes”) to the children of Israel in their wilderness wanderings (Numbers 10:29). The friendly relations between Israel and Midian, which seem to have prevailed at first, had been ruptured, and we find the elders of Midian acting with those of Moab in calling Balaam to curse Israel (Numbers 22:4-7). Because of the grievous sin into which they had seduced Israel on the shrewd advice of Balaam, a war of vengeance was made against the Midianites in which five of their chiefs perished; the males were ruthlessly slain, and Balaam also was put to death (Numbers 25:15, 17; Numbers 31:2). We next hear of Midian as oppressing Israel for 7 years. Along with the Amalekites and the children of the East they swarmed across the Jordan, and their multitudinous beasts swept up the produce of the earth. Overwhelming disaster befell this horde at the onset of Gideon’s chosen men. In the battle and pursuit “there fell a hundred and twenty thousand men that drew sword”; their kings, Zebah and Zalmunna, and their princes, Oreb and Zeeb, sharing the common fate (Judges 6; Judges 7; Judges 7 8). Echoes of this glorious victory-“the day of Midian”-are heard in later literature (Psalm 83:9 Isaiah 9:4; Isaiah 10:26 Habakkuk 3:7).

2. The Kenite Branch:

The Kenites appear to have been a branch of the Midianites. Jethro could hardly have attained the dignity of the priesthood in Midian had he been of alien blood (Judges 1:16). See KENITES. Again, the tribesmen are named indifferently Ishmaelites and Midianites (Genesis 37:25, 28, 36 Judges 8:22, 24). They must therefore have stood in close relations with the descendants of Hagar’s son.

3. Modern Arabs:

The representations of Midian in Scripture are consistent with what we know of the immemorial ways of Arabian tribes, now engaged in pastoral pursuits, again as carriers of merchandise, and yet again as freebooters. Such tribes often roam through wide circles. They appear not to have practiced circumcision (Exodus 4:25), which is now practically universal among the Arabs. The men wore golden ornaments, as do the modern nomads (Judges 8:24).

4. Historical References:

The name of “Midian” is not found in Egyptian or Assyrian documents. Delitzsch (Wo lag das Paradies? 304) suggests that Ephah (Genesis 25:4) may be identical with Chayapa of the cuneiform inscriptions. If this is correct the references point to the existence of this Midianite tribe in the North of el-Chijaz in the times of Tiglath-pileser and Sargon (745-705 B.C.). Isaiah speaks of Midian and Ephah apparently as separate tribes, whose dromedaries bear gold and frankincense to Zion (60:6); but he gives no hint of the districts they occupied. The tribe of Ghifar, found in the neighborhood of Medina in Mohammed’s day, Knobel would identify with Epher, another of Midian’s sons.

5. Territory:

No boundaries can now be assigned to “the land of Midian.” It included territory on the West as well as on the East of the Gulf of `Aqaba (Exodus 4:19). It lay between Edom and Paran (1 Kings 11:18). In the time of the Judges their district seems to have extended northward to the East of Gilead (8:10).

A trace of the ancient name is found in that of Madyah, a place mentioned by the Arabic geographers, with a plentiful supply of water, now called Maghair Sho`aib. It lies East of the Gulf of `Aqaba, some miles from the coast, almost opposite the point of the Sinaitic peninsula. The name Sho`aib, given by Mohammed to Jethro, may here be due to ancient Midianite tradition.

W. Ewing