Genesis 2:11

Hebrew Bible

10 Now a river flows from Eden to water the orchard, and from there it divides into four headstreams. 11 The name of the first is Pishon; it runs through the entire land of Havilah, where there is gold. 12 (The gold of that land is pure; pearls and lapis lazuli are also there.) 13 The name of the second river is Gihon; it runs through the entire land of Cush. 14 The name of the third river is Tigris; it runs along the east side of Assyria. The fourth river is the Euphrates. 15 The Lord God took the man and placed him in the orchard in Eden to care for it and to maintain it.

Sirach 24:25

Ben Sira, Ecclesiasticus

22 Whoever obeys me will not be put to shame, and those who work with me will not sin." 23 All this is the book of the covenant of the Most High God, the law that Moses commanded us as an inheritance for the congregations of Jacob. 25 It overflows, like the Pishon, with wisdom, and like the Tigris at the time of the first fruits. 26 It runs over, like the Euphrates, with understanding, and like the Jordan at harvest time. 27 It pours forth instruction like the Nile, like the Gihon at the time of vintage. 28 The first man did not know wisdom fully, nor will the last one fathom her. 29 For her thoughts are more abundant than the sea, and her counsel deeper than the great abyss.

 Notes and References

"... Sirach 24:23-34 uses water-related metaphors to describe the great wisdom of the Torah. In verses 23-27, the Torah overflows with wisdom similar to the abundant and life-giving waters of the four rivers of the paradise in Genesis 2:11-14 (Pishon, Tigris, Euphrates, and Gihon), and two vital rivers for Judah (the Jordan) and Egypt (the Nile). In verses 28-29, Sirach uses the metaphors of the greatness and depth of the sea to depict the Torah as teeming with wisdom in such abundance that its meaning cannot fully exhausted (Stadelmann, 1980:251). In verses 30-31, Sirach thinks at first to use the life-giving water to irrigate his own garden, but suddenly his canal became a river and a sea implying a cosmic dimension of wisdom. Ben Sira’s wisdom is simply the Torah, of which he was the first to benefit, and that has to be taught to others (vv.32-34) (Skehan & Di Lella, 1987:337). In all the three parts of Sirach 24:23-34 (vv.23-27; 28-29 & 30-34), water-related metaphors are used to highlight the nurturing potential of the Torah’s wisdom. The texts emphasize that water is of vital importance for life, a sign of blessing (see also Sir 15:3; 21:13) (Schnabel, 1985:73). Indeed, the text is not about water, but the use of these water-related metaphors to depict the priceless book of Israel highlight is ecologically insightful ..."

Kavusa Kivatsi, Jonathan The Torah Likened with Nurturing Water of Rivers in Sirach 24:23-34: Eco-Theological Significance (pp. 1-12) Pharos Journal of Theology, Vol. 99, 2018

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