What is the…
Hebrew: פְרָת —transliteration: Perath —appears 19 times in the Old Testament
Assyrian: Purat or Purattu (“the stream,” or “the great stream”)
Old Persian cuneiform: Ufratush or Ufrâtu
Greek: Εὐφράτης —transliteration: Euphratés —origin: Ufratush (the Old Persian cuneiform name)
also known as: Perath, Purat and Ufratush
This is the name of 2 Biblical rivers, one pre-Flood and extinct, and the other post-Flood.
Perath of Eden
also known as: Euphrates (in various Bible translations)
The Perath was created by God as part of Creation. It is first mentioned in Genesis 2:14 as one of the rivers of the paradise world in which Adam was created. In the original Hebrew, it is actually named Perath. This was later translated as the Greek word Euphrates. The Perath was located in pre-Flood Earth’s land Eden.
The Perath is now extinct—no doubt destroyed by God through the worldwide Flood catastrophe of Noah’s time, an event that involved much more than simply rainwater, but also massive geologic upheaval, earthquakes, volcanos, reforming of geography and massive deposition of lava, sediments, dead plants, animals, etc.
Now a river flowed [was going out] out of Eden to water the garden; and from there it divided and became four rivers [heads]. The name of the first is Pishon; it flows [surrounds] around the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold. The gold of that land is good; the bdellium and the onyx stone are there as well. The name of the second river is Gihon; it flows around the whole land of Cush. The name of the third river is Tigris [Hebrew: Hiddekel]; it flows east of Assyria. And the fourth river is the Euphrates [Perath]. —Genesis 2:10-14 NASB
Dr. Henry M. Morris explains,
The Pishon is described as encircling the whole land of Havilah, and the Gihon as encircling the land of Ethiopia (or Cush). The land of Havilah is also of uncertain geography, but Cush is associated later in Scripture with both a region of Arabia and the present land of Ethiopia. In either case, there is certainly no river encircling it. Furthermore, the Tigris (Hiddekel) is described as going eastward of Assyria, whereas the Tigris of known history was on the west side of Assyria.
In general, it is evident that the geography described in these verses does not exist in the present world, nor has it ever existed since the Flood. The rivers and countries described were antediluvian geographical features, familiar to Adam, the original author of this part of the narrative. They were all destroyed, and the topography and geography completely changed, when “the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished” (II Peter 3:6 KJV).
This means, in turn, that the names which seem to be postdiluvian (Ethiopia, Assyria, Tigris, Euphrates) were originally antediluvian names. The names were remembered by the survivors of the Flood and then given to people or places in the postdiluvian world, in memory of those earlier names of which they were somehow reminded later. Those who have tried to identify the garden of Eden as in the present Tigris-Euphrates region fail to realize that these antediluvian rivers were completely obliterated by the Flood, and have no physical connection with their counterparts in the present world.
The garden of Eden was, of course, also destroyed in the Flood, so that it is quite impossible to locate it now in terms of modern geography.
It is worth noting that the primeval land of Havilah was said to be a land rich in gold, precious stones (though the exact nature of the so-translated “onyx stone” is uncertain), and a precious gum called bdellium (likened to the miraculous substance called “manna” in Numbers 11:7 KJV). Havilah later was a name given to a son of Cush (Genesis 10:7 KJV) and a son of Joktan (Genesis 10:29 KJV), the first a descendant of Ham and the other of Shem. Evidently both, these sons were named after the antediluvian Havilah (a name believed to mean “Sandland”); so it seems that this rich primeval land had made a great impression on the sons of Noah.
Since this account was written in both the past tense (Gen. 2:10 KJV, referring to the garden) and the present tense (Gen. 2:11-14 KJV, describing the rivers and regions), there is at least a hint that, when Adam wrote this account, the garden in Eden had somehow already been removed. —Henry M. Morris, The Genesis Record (Baker Books: 2009)
Euphrates River of Mesopotamia
also known as: “The River”, Buranuna (in Sumerian), Purattu (Akkadian), Pǝrāt / Perat (Syriac)
This is by far the largest and most important of all the rivers of Western Asia.
After the worldwide Flood, new rivers formed on Earth as the floodwaters drained from the continents. One of these was eventually given the name Perath, possibly in remembrance of the pre-Flood river with which Noah or his family were familiar.
Matthew G. Easton notes that this post-Flood river is…
…first mentioned in connection with the covenant which God entered into with Abraham (15:18), when he promised to his descendants the land from the river of Egypt to the river Euphrates (compare Deuteronomy 11:24; Joshua 1:4), a covenant promise afterwards fulfilled in the extended conquests of David (2 Samuel 8:2-14; 1 Chronicles 18:3; 1 Kings 4:24). This is most likely a different river given the same name as the pre-Flood river. At the time of Abraham, it was the boundary of the kingdom to the northeast. In the ancient history of Assyria, and Babylon, and Egypt many events are recorded in which mention is made of the “great river.” Just as the Nile represented in prophecy the power of Egypt, so the Euphrates represented the Assyrian power (Isaiah 8:7; Jeremiah 2:18).
From its source in the Armenian mountains to the Persian Gulf, into which it empties itself, it has a course of about 1,700 miles.
It has two sources,
- the Frat or Kara-su (i.e., “the black river”), which rises 25 miles northeast of Erzeroum
- the Muradchai (i.e., “the river of desire”), which rises near Ararat, on the northern slope of Ala-tagh
At Kebban Maden, 400 miles from the source of the former, and 270 from that of the latter, they meet and form the majestic stream, which is at length joined by the Tigris at Koornah, after which it is called Shat-el-Arab, which runs in a deep and broad stream for above 140 miles to the sea.
It is estimated that the alluvium brought down by these rivers encroaches on the sea at the rate of about one mile in thirty years. However, this discharge changed dramatically following the building of dams in the 1970s.
Various ancient cities were built along the river or its canals.