“A river watering the garden flowed from
“…in very far antiquity, just such a river once existed, and its long-dried course has been recently traced from its rise in the west Arabian gold-lands (in Havilah) east and east-northeast toward the head of the gulf, via modern Kuwait.” (Kenneth A. Kitchen, On the Reliability of the Old Testament (
Fig. 1 Map Showing Eden’s
Four rivers are mentioned in the narrative of the ordering of creation in Genesis 2, but as any commentary will tell you, only three are known. The commentaries, it turns out, will have to be rewritten.
Fig. 2 Satellite Image of the Lost
The imagery also overturned the prevailing assumption of climactic stability since the end of the last ice age (ending c. 9000BC) held by a majority of ancient Near Eastern scholars until recently. It would appear, as James Sauer puts it, that Genesis contains some very ancient historical memory about ancient Near Eastern geography. How ancient? The presence of this river far predates the geography described by the Sumerians and the Egyptians, which are the earliest civilizations known to historians, yet its existence and location are just as they are found in the Bible.
This brings to mind an obvious question: where’s all that gold? It turns out that the gold of that land is good! The ancient river, it turns out, runs right by the best producing site in the world today. "Only one place in
Fig. 3 Gold Vain from Solomon’s Mine in Havilah.
“This quartz-sulfide-gold vein at Mahd edh-Dhahab is still mined today. The mine, which some identify as King Solomon’s mine (1 Kings –28), produces more than 5 tons of gold a year” (Sauer, op cit; Photo by Richard B. Carten).
Fig. 4 Arial Photograph of the Gold Mine at Mahd edh Dhahab (