Tuesday 28 July 2020

GENESIS 2 v 8-11


In the second chapter of the Book of Genesis, there appears for the first time a reference about the ‘Garden of Eden.’

“And the LORD God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground the LORD God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. A river flowed out of Eden to water the garden, and there it divided and became four rivers.” (Genesis 2:8-11)


The origins of the Hebrew word ‘Eden’ {עדן} – pronounced as ‘Eeden’ in Hebrew – are not completely clear. This is why there are a couple of different speculations with regard to the actual meaning of this well-known Hebrew term.


The Hebrew root ‘A-D-N’ {ע-ד-נ}, from which the word ‘Eden’ is derived can be found in other references in the Hebrew Bible, such as in the story of Sarah when she heard the news about Isaac:

“So Sarah laughed to herself, saying, “After I am worn out, and my lord is old, shall I have pleasure?” There, the original Hebrew word for ‘pleasure’ is ‘Ednah’ {עדנה} – which comes from the same root as ‘Eden.’


If we will compare this to what is written in Psalms:

“They feast on the abundance of your house, and you give them drink from the river of your delights.” (Psalm 36:8)


There, the original Hebrew word for ‘delights’ is ‘Ada’necha’ {עדניך} which derives from the same root as well.


Therefore, it would be safe to assume that the meaning of the Hebrew word ‘Eden’ has something to do with ‘pleasure’ or ‘delight.’

Moreover, the Hebrew word for ‘delicate’ is ‘Me’udan’ {מעודן} – which comes from the same root as well. The initial Latin meaning of ‘delicate’ (‘delicatus’ in Latin) is ‘something that gives pleasure’ (compare with ‘delicious’ – food that is so tasty it gives one pleasure).


This is why it is no surprise to discover the Hebrew term for ‘Heaven’ or ‘Paradise’ is in fact ‘Gan Eden’ {גן עדן} – meaning the Garden of Eden…


I share all this because my garden has been referred to – albeit jokingly – as Eden.

But the more time I have spent in it, the more I am inclined to agree that it is indeed Eden: a place of much pleasure and delight and peace, a place where God and I work side by side.

I gain so much pleasure every single day and, because I have been forced to stay in it for longer lengths of time, I can see the natural cycles of God’s creations. I experience the resurrecting power of the earth, the natural deaths and cycles of life in plant and creature.

Every day something appears or occurs that makes me exclaim aloud with pleasure. Tim often laughs at my verbal outbursts of pleasure! (probably the neighbours hidden beyond the fence do too?)

Tim and I are blessed in our woodland Eden to have such a variety of unusual birds like Jays and Woodpeckers and Sparrow Hawks alongside the Blue tits whose babies are now shouting constantly in the trees.

It is here that I have had a conversation with a Robin and here that I understand just what Adam and Eve must have felt each day in Eden, being delighted and given pleasure AND walking with God.

And Yes, I did say a conversation with a Robin……

As he joined me every day in the garden, we got to be quieter with one another, watching one another, creeping closer, gaining trust and respect….until that day he sat at my feet and I spoke to him. He listened and so did I…and then he answered me and I spoke a few more words to him and he responded. It is one of those heart-filling moments of pure delight that I shall never forget. God and I were in tune.

And I think of Adam throwing all that away….and I can’t wait until I get to Gan-Eden. Such pleasure, such delight to come!!



I came across this song called SEASONS sung by Hill Song - new to me but quite beautiful

And I love all the old hymns – we used to sing “for the beauty of the earth” at school and here it is in a children’s choral version

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