êdhen / ‘edhenâh – עֵדֶן / עֶדְנָה Pleasure

The word עֵדֶן ‘êdhen and its feminine counterpart עֶדְנָה ‘edhenâh occur just four times. Dessite the masculine word being spelled the same as the word used for the Garden of Eden, it is not certain that the two are related.

Eden, used 14 times from Genesis 2:8 onwards, describes a place, which may truly have described as a garden of pleasure, but as a place it may have represented some location known to the Ancient Near East as both Akkadian edinuand Sumerian eden exist meaning “plain” or “steppe”, and Akkadian further has Adini for a region near the Euphrates.

The Hebrew root verb עָדַן ‘âdhan only occurs once in Nehemiah 9:25, “[they] delighted themselves in Your great goodness”, translated by other versions as “luxuriated” (JPS) and “revelled” (NIV). The four uses of the derived nouns occur as follows and demonstrate very physical appetite based pleasures, which are not denounced for they are part of life and God himself is one of the providers:

“Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, ‘After I have grown old, shall I have עֶדְנָה ‘edhenâh pleasure, my lord being old also?'” (Genesis 18:12)

Here Sarah may well have had the word Eden in mind as a euphemism for her lack of satisfaction in the bedroom department, a fact which God exercises some discretion over when reporting her words back to Abraham.

“O daughters of Israel, weep over Saul, Who clothed you in scarlet, with luxury
Who put ornaments of gold on your clothes.” (2 Samuel 1:24)

In David’s lament for Saul and Jonathan he describes how luxiouriously blessed the people were under Saul’s reign. There may even be a poetic play with clothed and clothes, related to each other in the Hebrew, the two colours, scarlet and gold, and the words, עֲדָנִים ‘adhânîym “luxuries” and עֲדִי ‘adhîy “ornaments” sounding similar.

“They are abundantly satisfied with the fullness of Your house, 
And You give them drink from the river of Your pleasures.” (Psalm 36:8 [Heb.v9])

David uses the verb רָוָה râvâh  “to be drunk with satisfaction” to describe eating and drinking from God’s house and his river of “pleasures”, perhaps another reminiscence of the bountiful rivers in Eden.

“Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon Has devoured me, he has crushed me; He has made me an empty vessel, He has swallowed me up like a monster; He has filled his stomach with my delicacies, He has spit me out.” (Jeremiah 51:34)

Finally, the Judeans bemoan Nebuchadnezzar’s pinching and eating of their “delicacies”!

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