Asimov's Guide to the Bible: The Old Testament by Isaac Asimov, Rafael Palacios PDF

By Isaac Asimov, Rafael Palacios

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The reference to the garden of Eden would then be, specifically, to Hie lower stretches of those two rivers, near where they come together and as it happens, it was precisely there (in the days before the two rivers had yet come together) that civilization arose. , That leaves the first and second rivers of the garden, the Pison and the Gihon. Neither river can be identified, though glamorous guesses have been made' for each. ) Havilah is thus pictured as a land of wealth, where one can find gold and other precious material.

And Cain went out from the presence and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden. of the Lord, No one has tried to identify the "land of Nod" with any actual specific region and it is usually taken to be a metaphorical expression. The Hebrew word "Nod" is related to the tern meaning "wanderer"; there fore to dwell in the land of Nod is taken to mean that one takes up a wandering life and becomes a nomad. Here we seem to have a second strand incorporated into the ancient tale. Now we are dealing not with Cain the fanner and smith, but with Cain the nomad.

Perhaps this is a dim reference to the ancient transition of a pastoral Elam to the ways of civilidation. There is no record of any city named Enoch, but it is conceivable that this might be the city that eventually became known to later history as Susa. This dates back to the Stone Age and for thousands of years was the chief city of Elam. The remainder of the fourth chapter deals quickly with the succeeding descendants of Cain, including Tubalain. The book of Genesis then returns to Adam to follow the line of descent that leads to the Israelites.

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