As we by now feel strongly about the identification of the mighty Jordan River to be the one and only Orange River in South Africa. The Orange River has its humble beginnings in the mountains of Lesotho, at its formation its even called Jordan. So while we are on the topic of identifying Rivers mentioned in the Bible, lets have a closer look at these famous and often mentioned Four Rivers of Paradise. Their modern historical placements are shamefully wrong and we are in dire need of new interpretations in regards to where these Rivers might have been located. We will give it a go. And starting with the first one out, we move further up to another West to East traversing river from the Jordan, we think that the Limpopo River is the same our Scriptures names as Pishon. Said to be in an area promised to be abundant of Gold and precious stones. In a greedy world, not to hard to find areas like this... ! Let dive !
Now we must first establish what River of the four we are looking for. What where there names? Lets consult Scripture and Genesis 2,10-14:
10 A river flows out of Eden to water the garden, and from there it divides and becomes four branches. 11 The name of the first is Pishon; it is the one that flows around the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold; 12 and the gold of that land is good; bdellium and onyx stone are there. 13 The name of the second river is Gihon; it is the one that flows around the whole land of Cush. 14 The name of the third river is Tigris, which flows east of Assyria. And the fourth river is the Euphrates.
We see an unnamed flowing stream out of the Garden of Eden that splits into 4 branches: Phison, Gihon, Hiddelek (Tigris) and Phrath (Euphrates). We believe these four Rivers are known today as Limpopo, The Nile, Congo and Zambezi. We will explain each one individually in separate posts. Now lets look closer at the One that is most likely to be Pishon.
Now as the map shows - All of these flow out of ONE outset, which in our Scriptures was in the Garden of Eden (to the East). And we can see that these all Rivers kinda meet in the Middle of the map on the left. ALL of them in Africa. Yes thats right, Africa. And His People are also Africans. There should not be ANY doubt in any sane mans mind about that fact ! Now ask a modern day historian and he will flail about and dismiss that the Garden of Eden was even a real place. They have tried their very best to connect these Four Rivers (at least where they place them today) and off course they come up short because neither do they start the same place nor really feature in any of the correct lands and landmarks. Only Tigris and Euphrates has been put on the map, as Mesopotamia in western Asia... Which is not correct. You cant move Rivers folks, a thinking person should draw a line at that. Creative Geography, as its finest.
Now then, put these Biblical and legendary Rivers in Africa and they will line up with Scripture perfectly, not hard to do as they are the true Rivers. Now please go and ask scholars, seriously they will place Tigris and Euphrates with great certainty, but very few will be able to place Pishon and Gihon. They call their identification ambiguous. We would call all modern history of the African continent rather ambiguous. Wouldn't you agree? So, for us the easier ones to place on our maps are as a start, these two Pishon and Gihon. Now the area of Havilah has been placed on maps by scholars already, as lower East Africa, and Pishon is said to curl or arch around Havilah, where these is Gold. So we make a candidate out of Limpopo River there as it is closest to Gauteng, Area of Gold or even Gautini (City of Gold - Johannesburg). If you look at mineral maps (like the above) you see that the Mountains above Gauteng and Limpopo River is riddled with Gold and Gold mines. Havilah ! Also in the area are Hippos and some crocs, but you will find development has been going on in the area as there are some 1900 active mines in the Limpopo River Basin (and about 1700 abandoned mines).
Looking closer at these 4 River we can find, even in our Bibles, that Gihon was/is known to be old Egyptian (Coptic) for the Nile. Now Tigris and Euphrates were said to jammed together or close, therefore if these are the Two Rivers that held the land in between (Monomapata on African maps or Mesopotamia in history books). So then, it must be one of these two, Zambezi and Congo, Euphrates and Tigris. We will go through all the compelling evidence on the location on these rivers in the coming posts.
Now then, if we read the books of our contemporary historians we find that there is no clear location of Tigris, Euphrates and Pishon. If we may be so bold, as to place Pishon as Limpopo, we have some very good indications of the other two. Now Limpopo River flows eastward through the land of Moab (Mozambique) towards the ancient Sea in the East. Its current name comes from Rivombo (Lebombo) and are from the Tsongas who settled there in the mountain regions. And the name is supposedly derived from Hosi Rivombo, although the Tsonga leader more likely got the name from the River. Now get this, Limpopo River is the SECOND largest River in Africa, that drains in the Ancient Sea (Indian Ocean). And we find that the Zambezi is the largest.
Now the first European's (the writings that are most widespread these days), came in the form of Vasco da Gama, he anchored at the mouth of Limpopo and named it Espirito Santo River (we can be glad that name did not stick). Its lower parts did not get mapped out until 1860s and the general surveyor Vincent Whitshed Erskine (1846-1918) with Captain James Frederic Elton (1840-1877), who travelled down the middle section in 1870. Although there has been people living along the River since the dawn of man. These are the records we are left with today, from charted maps from the 1860s. And before that the River was just there right? No significant mentions of it, no real record of it being the second largest on the African continent... Haibo. Forgotten lands indeed.
Now if the research is correct, the upper parts of the Zambezi used to be connected and drained into Limpopo. And this is where things get complicated, because if parts of these Rivers has been dried up, or there are even large lakes or inland oceans missing being partly or fully dried up. It makes this research even harder. But, we will do our best.
Back to Limpopo River, as it flows through southern African lands with a Great and Natural Arch, then moving back and forth North and then Northeast, turning East and finally culminating in a South East mouthing. It borders some 640km, with South Africa separating Botswana to the northwest and Zimbabwe in the north. There are other contributories like Marico River and Crocodile River, with several great rapids as the river drops off South Africans inland. Now we also have Notwane River as a major tributary of the Limpopo, that rises of the edge of the Kalahari Desert. And this is where we would like to offer a theory about a large inland body of water that is currently missing. Could it have been the Red Sea? In the image above, all we did was create two large circles as possible lakes, connecting Pishon and making it longer and spilling into Jordan (Orange River) below.
Another complication is that the Orange River and Limpopo River may be connected somewhere... That would increase the size of the Promised Land, and make Limpopo a part of Joran... Then we would have to relocate Pishon to perhaps the Zambezi. For now we are sticking to Limpopo being Pishon, as it makes more sense. But we will not stop doing the research, and putting in the time. There is also the question of a lake that Jordan would pour into. We suspect that it used to be inland Namibia and Botswana (Salt flats).
Now another great tributary to Limpopo is Olifants River (Elephant River), other smaller ones are Shashe, Mzingwane, Crocodile, Mwenezi and Luvuvhu River. Now all the way up in the northeast corner of South Africa, we find Kruger National Park, Limpopo River borders here and keeps running unto Mozambique and mouths in Xai-Xai. Now looking at the other end of the River, we find that it drains in the Kalahari basin, were we sincerely believe there used to be a large body of water that both Jordan and Pishon would empty into. And this inland lake, freshwater or salt, will again fill up. As the rains return to the Promised Land. Imvula iyanetha ! Another topic for the future as the water will collect in the land - just like its people will be coming back to claim their inheritance.
Now try to read up on Pishon (Pison) written your contemporary historians, they cant even place One of the Rivers that was given its name by the Creator Himself. They will be Talking different pre-flood conditions this, dried up rivers that. Its an insult to any human with a mind of their own, to make such claims. Do not believe the gospel of men, they lie for all kinds of reasons. The Rivers are all there, in Africa along with His People.
Now If we go by a confusing source we do find one in the historian Josephus and Antiquities of the Jews (Chapter 1,3):
3. Moses says further, that God planted a paradise in the east, flourishing with all sorts of trees; and that among them was the tree of life, and another of knowledge, whereby was to be known what was good and evil; and that when he brought Adam and his wife into this garden, he commanded ;hem to take care of the plants. Now the garden was watered by one river, which ran round about the whole earth, and was parted into four parts. And Phison, which denotes a multitude, running into India, makes its exit into the sea, and is by the Greeks called Ganges. Euphrates also, as well as Tigris, goes down into the Red Sea. Now the name Euphrates, or Phrath, denotes either a dispersion, or a flower: by Tiris, or Diglath, is signified what is swift, with narrowness; and Geon runs through Egypt, and denotes what arises from the east, which the Greeks call Nile.
Here, we have to account for India being on the African continent, which we can, but will be difficult. We see though that the Garden of Eden was bountiful, with lush vegetation and life giving water, a place with precious metals and jewels. We se gold and onyx very much present in the area of Pishon, and they come back in the priestly garments described in Exodus 25,1-9:
SoNiNi said to Moses: 2 Tell the Israelites to take for me an offering; from all whose hearts prompt them to give you shall receive the offering for me. 3 This is the offering that you shall receive from them: gold, silver, and bronze, 4 blue, purple, and crimson yarns and fine linen, goats’ hair, 5 tanned rams’ skins, fine leather, acacia wood, 6 oil for the lamps, spices for the anointing oil and for the fragrant incense, 7 onyx stones and gems to be set in the ephod and for the breastpiece. 8 And have them make me a sanctuary, so that I may dwell among them. 9 In accordance with all that I show you concerning the pattern of the tabernacle and of all its furniture, so you shall make it.
And in 1 Chronicles 29,2, where King David is talking to his son Solomon:
2 So I have provided for the house of my God, so far as I was able, the gold for the things of gold, the silver for the things of silver, and the bronze for the things of bronze, the iron for the things of iron, and wood for the things of wood, besides great quantities of onyx and stones for setting, antimony, coloured stones, all sorts of precious stones, and marble in abundance.
We see that gold was overlayed of the Tabernacle of SoNiNi in Exodus 25,11 and the onyx stones of the Ephod of the priest (where we find the names of the 12 Tribes inscribed) in Exodus 28,9-14. And the tops would have looked like the umblaselo vest ONLY with the onyx stone of the high-priest breastplate or vest (Exodus 28,20). There is a couple of original old school vests at the Ammazulu African Palace in kloof, for anyone interested to get a feel for what these priestly garments may have looked like. We will definitely get back to this in the future.
Now land of Havilah was ringed around by Pishon, and we see SoNiNis blessings having been left there in those mountains on both sides of Limpopo. We also see that Pishon and the other 3 rivers coming from Eden eventually did go on to mark the boundaries of the land given to Abraham. Eden was given to Adams care, and the paradise of Kanaan was given to Abraham and his descendants. This is the Land the SoNiNI gave to Abraham (Genesis 15,18):
18 On that day SoNiNi made a covenant with Abram, saying, “To your descendants I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates, 19 the land of the Kenites, the Kenizzites, the Kadmonites, 20 the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Rephaim, 21 the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Girgashites, and the Jebusites.”
We will go through these borders in a coming post on Abraham, but its not hard to draw the lines, when first knowing where the Rivers are. We can continue and find more Scriptural sources in Wisdom of Sirach on the 4 Rivers of Paradise and how they behave (Sirach 24,25-29):
All this is the book of the covenant of the Most High SoNiNi, the law that Moses commanded us as an inheritance for the congregations of Jacob.
25 It overflows, like the Pishon, with wisdom, and like the Tigris at the time of the first fruits. 26 It runs over, like the Euphrates, with understanding, and like the Jordan at harvest time. 27 It pours forth instruction like the Nile, like the Gihon at the time of vintage.
28 The first man did not know wisdom fully, nor will the last one fathom her. 29 For her thoughts are more abundant than the sea, and her counsel deeper than the great abyss.