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eTeacherBiblical Official Newsletter
Issue #65 - 11/10
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The Garden of Eden in Ezekiel

In the book of Genesis, there is a description of a garden in a place called Eden. This description is a geographical one, a place in which the man as a male had a simple function (to work and to keep it), and a place that had three kinds of trees, as we read in Genesis 2:8-15 : :::  :  

The Garden of Edenוַיִּטַּע יְהוָה אֱלֹהִים, גַּן-בְּעֵדֶן--מִקֶּדֶם;
 וַיָּשֶׂם שָׁם, אֶת-הָאָדָם אֲשֶׁר יָצָר.
 וַיַּצְמַח יְהוָה אֱלֹהִים, מִן-הָאֲדָמָה, כָּל-עֵץ נֶחְמָד לְמַרְאֶה,
 וְטוֹב לְמַאֲכָל--וְעֵץ הַחַיִּים, בְּתוֹךְ הַגָּן, וְעֵץ, הַדַּעַת טוֹב וָרָע.
 וְנָהָר יֹצֵא מֵעֵדֶן, לְהַשְׁקוֹת אֶת-הַגָּן; וּמִשָּׁם, יִפָּרֵד, וְהָיָה, לְאַרְבָּעָה רָאשִׁים.
 שֵׁם הָאֶחָד, פִּישׁוֹן....
 וְשֵׁם-הַנָּהָר הַשֵּׁנִי, גִּיחוֹן...
 וְשֵׁם הַנָּהָר הַשְּׁלִישִׁי חִדֶּקֶל...
 וְהַנָּהָר הָרְבִיעִי, הוּא פְרָת. וַיִּקַּח יְהוָה אֱלֹהִים, אֶת-הָאָדָם;
 וַיַּנִּחֵהוּ בְגַן-עֵדֶן, לְעָבְדָהּ וּלְשָׁמְרָהּ 

  

"And the LORD God planted a garden eastward, in Eden; and there He put the man whom He had formed. 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 the knowledge of good and evil. And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became four heads. The name of the first is Pishon. And the name of the second river is Gihon. And the name of the third river is Tigris…And the fourth river is the Euphrates. And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the Garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it".

From those verses, we can learn that the garden was located east to a certain place.  This place is most likely Israel. There is a disagreement between the scholars on the places of the first two rivers, Pishon and Gihon. They were either in Africa or near Iraq; In any case, there is agreement as to the fact that the place was a geographical location.

In the book of Ezekiel, we can find a differentout from Eden! Garden. Before we get familiar with this garden, we need to remember what happened in the end of the Garden of Eden story in genesis. The lord took the man and drove him out from the garden after he and Eve had eaten from the forbidden fruit. We don't know where those two dwelled after the sin.

Another important issue is the prophet Ezekiel. He was a prophet in Babylon, before and after the destruction of the first temple, as we can read in Ezekiel 1:3-

הָיֹה הָיָה דְבַר-יְהוָה אֶל-יְחֶזְקֵאל בֶּן-בּוּזִי הַכֹּהֵן,
 בְּאֶרֶץ כַּשְׂדִּים--עַל-נְהַר-כְּבָר; וַתְּהִי עָלָיו שָׁם, יַד-יְהוָה

"The word of the LORD came expressly unto Ezekiel the priest, the son of Buzi, in the land of the Chaldeans by the river Chebar; and the hand of the LORD was there upon him."

The people who were living in Judah needed help from the Egyptian empire, in order to conquer the great empire from Babylon. However, in the book of kings we learn that the Egyptians couldn't help them because they lost in the battle, as we can see in 2 Kings 24:7

pharaoh

וְלֹא-הֹסִיף עוֹד מֶלֶךְ מִצְרַיִם, לָצֵאת מֵאַרְצוֹ: 

כִּי-לָקַח מֶלֶךְ בָּבֶל, מִנַּחַל מִצְרַיִם עַד-נְהַר-פְּרָת,

כֹּל אֲשֶׁר הָיְתָה, לְמֶלֶךְ מִצְרָיִם

And the king of Egypt came not again any more out of his land; for the king of Babylon had taken, from the Brook of Egypt unto the river Euphrates, all that pertained to the king of Egypt

 

Ezekiel 31 is a fable that speaks about the Egyptian king, king pharaoh. In that fable the king is called by his name, but he is also called the biggest and largest tree in the garden of G-d in Eden.
From this prophecy, we can learn about the destiny of king pharaoh that will be driven out from the garden, because he was too arrogant. This could be an explanation for his downfall in the battle with the Babylonian empire.

However, we are speaking today about the Garden of Eden. From the description in Ezekiel we can learn about three kinds of trees in the garden of G-d, apart from the enormous tree that represents pharaoh: cedars, cypress-trees and plane trees, as we can read in Ezekiel 31:8

precious stones

אֲרָזִים לֹא-עֲמָמֻהוּ, בְּגַן-אֱלֹהִים--

בְּרוֹשִׁים לֹא דָמוּ אֶל-סְעַפֹּתָיו,

וְעַרְמֹנִים לֹא-הָיוּ כְּפֹרֹאתָיו: 

כָּל-עֵץ, בְּגַן-אֱלֹהִים--לֹא-דָמָה אֵלָיו, בְּיָפְיוֹ

The cedars in the garden of God could not hide it; the cypress-trees were not like its boughs, and the plane-trees were not as its branches; nor were any trees in the garden of God like unto it in its beauty"

Another important idea is the designation of the garden. In genesis, before the sin, the garden was designated as a place for Adam and Eve to work and to keep. In Ezekiel, we can't find a location for the garden, and this is the garden of G-d without any doubt. If we read Ezekiel 28:13 we will find our that there were also precious stones in this garden. Maybe those were the fruits of the garden, or maybe there were other important things that the garden had!  

 If we combine the description in Genesis and the description in Ezekiel, we can better understand the meaning of the garden today, a non-geographical place, up there in the heavens where the righteous people are the only ones that can enter!
 

 
Main phrases of the post + transcription + translation

 

Hebrew

Transcription

Translation

גֵּרוּשׁ

gērûš

Driving out

אֶבֶן

'eben

Stone

אֶרֶז

'erez

Cedar

בְּרוֹשׁ

berôš

Cypress

יְחֶזְקֵאל

Yehĕzqēl

Ezekiel

מִצְרַיִם

mitsrayim

Egypt

גַּן

gan

Garden 

 

 

 
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