And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads. The name of the first is Pishon: that is it which compasseth the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold; And the gold of that land is good: there is bdellium (a resin similar to myrrh) and the onyx stone.
In addition to the region described in Genesis 2, two individuals named Havilah are listed in the Table of Nations which lists the descendants of Noah, who are considered eponymous ancestors of nations. They are mentioned in Genesis 10:7,29, 1 Chronicles 1:9,23. One is the son of Cush, the son of Ham; the other, a son of Joktan and descendant of Shem. The other sons of Cush are associated with eastern Africa, while Joktan's other sons are often associated with the Arabian desert. Such a land in the Arabian desert is mentioned in Genesis 25:18, where it defines the territory inhabited by the Ishmaelites as being "from Havilah to Shur, opposite Egypt in the direction of Assyria"; and in 1 Samuel 15:7, which states that king Saul of Israel attacked the Amalekites who were living there.
In extra-biblical literature, the land of Havilah is mentioned in Pseudo-Philo as the source of the precious jewels that the Amorites used in fashioning their idols in the days after Joshua, when Kenaz was judge over the Israelites.
An extra-biblical tradition found in the Kitab al-Magall (Clementine literature) and the Cave of Treasures holds that in the early days after the Tower of Babylon, the children of Havilah, son of Joktan built a city and kingdom, which was near to those of his brothers, Sheba and Ophir.
The region in Genesis is usually associated with either the Arabian Peninsula or north-west Yemen, but in the work associated with the Garden of Eden by Juris Zarins, the Hijaz mountains appear to satisfactorily meet the description. The Hejaz includes both the Cradle of Gold at Mahd adh Dhahab ( ) and a possible source of the "Pishon River" — a biblical name that has been speculated to refer to a now dried-out river formerly flowing 600 miles (970 km) northeast to the Persian Gulf via the Wadi Al-Batin system. Archaeological research led by Farouk El-Baz of Boston University indicates that the river system, now prospectively known as the Kuwait River, was active 2500–3000 BC. Bdellium plants are also abundant in the Hijaz.
- Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, entry 2341.
- Genesis 10:7,29 1 Chronicles 1:9,23. Biblegateway.
- Genesis 2:11,25:18, 1 Samuel 15:7. Biblegateway.
- The Pishon River - Found. by C.A. Salabach at Focus Magazine
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