Abarim Publications' online Biblical Hebrew Dictionary
The noun עדן ('eden) means delight, finery or luxury (2 Samuel 1:24, Psalm 36:8). The feminine variant of this noun is עדנה ('edna), denoting delight or pleasure. The only Biblical usage of this noun happens in Genesis 18:12, where Sarah overhears Abraham's visitors state that she will have a son, and wonders if she will experience pleasure in her old age.
BDB Theological Dictionary resolutely states that this noun must convey sexual pleasure, but - even though here at Abarim Publications we surely hope that Sarah had a lot of it - Sarah's recorded pleasure was in finally giving birth to a child, not in the making of one.
Another derivative is the adjective עדין ('adin), which the prophet Isaiah applies to a personification of Babylon's daughter (Isaiah 47:8). In searching for an English word that would describe a woman endowed with this adjective, BDB Theological Dictionary and HAW Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament choose for voluptuous, but - even though here at Abarim Publications we have no objection whatsoever to women being voluptuous - the text merely implies Babylon to be delightful, much rather like the woman portrayed by Ezekiel (Ezekiel 16:10-14). Most modern versions of the Bible translate this adjective with variants of either pleasurable or sensual, but others (Young) read luxurious.
Here at Abarim Publications we suspect that this root indeed expresses wealth — that is security, health and happiness. Wealth, after all, comes not from personal fortune but from partaking in a diverse and free exchange of data, services and goods. In other words: it's much more preferable to be an ordinary dude in the 21st century than the richest dude in the 15th, when there was very little to buy. We further suspect that humanity emerged freely sharing and never hoarding (famously portrayed as Adam and Eve in Paradise), and that the voluptuousness of Babylon was precisely that: a broadly diverse and highly interconnected market place of information, services and goods.
Other derivatives or related words are:
- The masculine noun מעדן (ma'adan), meaning delight (to be given to the soul - Proverbs 29:17) or eatable delicacies (Genesis 49:20, Lamentations 4:5).
- The verb עדן ('adan), meaning to luxuriate or to delight. This verb is used only once: " . . . and luxuriated/delighted in Thy great goodness". (Nehemiah 9:25).