FW: [asa] Nakedness and the Fall of Man

From: Dick Fischer <dickfischer@verizon.net>
Date: Mon Mar 02 2009 - 22:39:35 EST

In response to Phil's question about Futato's rendering of Genesis versus
mine, I submit the following:

 Here's Mark Futato's paper on Gen.2:4-6 (reprinted in 2 parts):



Glimpses from Futato’s Article :


“At the end of the dry season and after five months of drought the hills of
Israel are as dry as dust …,” and, “It is in this geographical context that
we must understand …”


The setting is in Mesopotamia not Israel. That's where the Euphrates


“Verse 5b articulates the twofold reason for the twofold problem with
impeccable logic: “because the Lord God had not sent rain on the land, and
there was no man to cultivate the ground.” There was no vegetation that
springs up spontaneously as a result of the rains, because there was no
rain. And there was no cultivated grain, because there was no cultivator. So
that the reader will not miss the twofold reason corresponding to the
twofold problem, the Hebrew text focuses the reader’s attention on the
twofold reason, the absence of rain and the absence of anyone to cultivate
the fields …”


I don’t have any quarrel with this. It’s sound logic in my estimation


“Verses 6-7 provide the twofold solution: “So [God] caused rain clouds to
rise up from the earth and watered the whole surface of the ground …”


He’s winging it. This doesn’t follow any other translation.


streams - NIV

mist - KJV

fountain - LXX

water - NLV

stream - RSV

water - Good News

mist - ASV


“Scholars have proposed numerous meanings for e-d,11 but “stream” seems to
have won the day.12 “Stream” can not possibly be correct for two reasons: 1)
The text does not say that the problem was a lack of water in general, a
problem which could be solved by water from any one of a variety of sources,
for instance, a stream.”


I agree. It isn’t exactly a stream, it’s a canal.


“… ancient Syro-Palestine Levant rain was the sine qua non of vegetation …”


Again, wrong place.


“Once again, if “for the LORD God had not sent rain” is to make any logical
sense, rain must have fallen in Adam's experience.”


Absolutely agree.


“An immediate objection arises, however, if we translate Gen 2:6, “A rain
cloud came up (qal of lh) from the land,” since rain clouds do not literally
come up from the land.”


Ah, he senses the mistake. An irrigation ditch does come through the land.


“A second objection to taking e-d as a reference to rain (cloud) would be
that Gen 2:10 says a “river” watered the garden not rain.”


Same as the river Chebar in Eze. 1:1. It’s the Nar Kabari irrigation canal.


Here is the explanation from my book, Historical Genesis from Adam to


A suitable habitat needed to be prepared where God could place His special


Genesis 2:5-6: “And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and
every herb of the field before it grew: for the Lord God had not caused it
to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground. But
there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the


Keil and Delitzsch in their Commentary on the Old Testament explain Genesis
2:5 as follows:


The creation of the plants is not alluded to here at all, but simply the
planting of the garden in Eden. <outbind://2/#_edn1> [1]


From the Cambridge Encyclopedia of Archaeology:


 " The culmination of these prehistoric advances is to be found in the
`Ubaid period of the sixth and fifth millennia, when the earliest
settlements are known from Sumer. This area was characterized by the very
great fertility of its alluvial soil and - outside local areas of marsh and
lagoon where a specialized fishing, hunting and collecting economy could
have been practised - an extremely arid environment that necessitated the
use of irrigation for successful agriculture. " <outbind://2/#_edn2> [2]


Could "an extremely arid environment" be described as a place where "God had
not caused it to rain"? Could moisture from the earth that "watered the
whole face of the ground" refer to a land "that necessitated the use of
irrigation for successful agriculture"? Even before the first cities began
to appear on the Mesopotamian plain, sizeable settlements were being
supplied by irrigation.


 " The biblical city of Jericho, a center for salt trade, flourished during
the seventh millennium BC in the desert near the north end of the Dead Sea.
Water diverted from a spring nourished its fields. " <outbind://2/#_edn3>


Driver suggests Genesis 2:5-6 concerns irrigation:


“Provision made for the irrigation of the garden. The reference is
implicitly to a system of canals, such as existed in Babylonia ...”
<outbind://2/#_edn4> [4]


Continued digging, cleaning out, and repairing the canal network which grew
in sheer numbers and sophistication over thousands of years required labor
and payment as in this example during the reign of Nabonidus (555-539 BC):


                        4 shekels for the hired laborers,

                        who the canal at the great gate Adad

                        shall excavate, Zra,

                        the son of Nan-ah-iddin, (received),

                        The 22nd day of Shabat, the 7th year

                        of Nabonidus, king of Babylon. <outbind://2/#_edn5>


In the Septuagint version of the Old Testament, the Greek word in Gen. 2:6
is translated “fountain,” not "mist." The RSV uses "stream." Could an
irrigation canal be called a "fountain or “stream"? It seems "there was not
a man to till the ground" for an uncomplicated reason. No one had yet
irrigated the desert soil; thus no plowing had been done, so no crops could
be grown.


Hebrew has no verb tense. The writer of Genesis could not have said, “Lord
God had not caused it to rain” even if he intended it. Translating the
Hebrew as written, “Lord God did not cause it to rain.” Hebrew and other
Semitic dialects derive from the Akkadian language. What the King James
Version translates as “mist” is the Hebrew ‘ed from the Akkadian edu.


Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament comments: “Earlier translators did
not have access to the ancient cuneiform languages which help to determine
the meaning of these difficult words.” And further:


“The Akkadian edu refers to the annual inundation of Babylon by the
Euphrates as well as to irrigation. If Eden was watered by floods and
irrigation rather than rain, it may have been located in an area like
southern Mesopotamia where it does not rain. Such a location would suggest
that the paradisiacal situation was not worldwide but peculiar to Eden’s
immediate environs. <outbind://2/#_edn6> [6]


The Hebrew erets means either “earth” or “land,” and “man” in this text is
‘adam, or “Adam.” Taking everything into account, the narrative in question
could be translated, “… for the Lord God did not cause it to rain upon the
land, and no man was there (or Adam was not there) to till the ground. But
there went up a fountain (or stream) from the land, and watered the whole
face of the ground.”


Irrigation techniques were implicit in northern settlements in Anatolia
(Turkey) and Iran. Ancient Jericho showed signs of irrigation. But only in
the south where the alluvial soil was thick and rich and rainfall sparse was
it necessary to irrigate the soil by bringing fresh water via canal from the
Euphrates and Tigris rivers. Pottery shards identify the Ubaidans among the
first settlers in the Tigris-Euphrates alluvial plain. Included among the
early pioneers were Akkadians, who may have arrived at nearly the same time
as the Ubaidans, followed eventually by Sumerians.


 <outbind://2/#_ednref1> [1]. C. F. Keil, and F. Delitzsch, Commentary on
the Old Testament (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 1989), 77-78.

 <outbind://2/#_ednref2> [2]. Andrew Sherratt, ed., The Cambridge
Encyclopedia of Archaeology (New York: Crown Publishers, Inc., 1980), 113.

 <outbind://2/#_ednref3> [3]. George, Constable, ed., The Age of God Kings:
TimeFrame 3000-1500 BC (Alexandria: Time-Life Books, 1987), 10.

 <outbind://2/#_ednref4> [4]. S. R. Driver, The Book of Genesis (London:
Methuen & Co. Ltd., 1938), 39.

 <outbind://2/#_ednref5> [5]. Raymond Dougherty, Archives from Erech (New
York: AMS Press, 1980), 29.


 <outbind://2/#_ednref6> [6]. R. Laird Harris, Gleason J. Archer, Jr., and
Bruce K. Waltke, Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (Chicago: Moody
Press, 1980), 38.

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Received on Mon, 02 Mar 2009 22:39:35 -0500

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