Genesis 2:11

The name of the first is Pison: that is it which compasseth the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold;

The name of the first is Pison,.... Not the river Nile in Egypt, as Jarchi, who thinks it is derived from "Pashah", which signifies to increase, expand, and diffuse, as that does at certain times, and spreads itself over the land of Egypt, or from "Pishten", linen, which grows there, Isaiah 19:9 nor the river Ganges in India, as Josephus {m}, and others; for the country where it is afterwards said to run agrees with neither Egypt nor India: rather it seems to be the same river, which is the Phasis of Pliny {n}, and Strabo {o}, and the Physcus of Xenophon {p}, and the Hyphasis of Philostorgius {q}, a river in Armenia, and about Colchis; and which is sometimes called Pasitigris, being a branch of that river, and mixed with, or arising from channels, drawn from Tigris, Euphrates, and other waters {r}

that is it which compasseth the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold; this country had its name from Havilah, one of the sons of Cush, Genesis 10:7 who very probably seated himself near his brother Seba, from whom came the Sabeans, who inhabited one part of Arabia; and Havilah, it is plain, was before Egypt, in the way to Assyria, and bordered upon the Ishmaelites, who inhabited Arabia Deserta, Genesis 25:16. So that it seems to be a country in Arabia, near unto, or a part of Cush or Arabia Cusea, and near to Seba or Arabia Felix: and so Strabo, among the nations of the Arabians, and along with the Nabatheans, places the Chaulotaeans {s}, who seem to be no other than the posterity of Havilah: according to the learned Reland {t}, it is the same with Colchis, a part of Scythia, and Phasis is well known to be a river of Colchis; and which runs into Pontus, as appears from Pliny {u} and includes Scythia, as Justin {w} says; and then it must have its name from Havilah, the son of Joktan, Genesis 10:29 and in either of these countries there was gold, and an abundance of it, and of the best, as follows:

(After the global destruction of Noah's flood, it is doubtful that the location of these rivers could be determined with any degree of certainty today. Ed.)

{m} Antiqu. l. 1. c. 1. sect. 3.
{n} Nat. Hist. l. 6. c. 4. 17.
{o} Geograph. l. 11. p. 343, 345, 364.
{p} Cyr. Minor. l. 2.
{q} Hist. Ecclesiast. l. 3. c. 10.
{r} Curtius, l. 5. c. 3. Strabo. Geograph. l. 15. p. 501.
{s} Ib. p. 528.
{t} De Paradiso, p. 16, &c.
{u} Ut supra. (Nat. Hist. l. 6. c. 4. 17.)
{w} E Trogo, l. 2. c. 2.