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The phrase may mean "eastward." It is also possible that, as the people migrated from Ararat, they first went farther to the east, and then turned back westward until they came to the plain of Shinar (Sumer). This fertile valley so reminded them of Eden that they named its two rivers (Tigris and Euphrates) after two of the Edenic rivers.
KJV Defenders Study Bible, by Dr. Henry Morris, Ph.D.
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
DEF 10 ISBN 0-529-10444-x
DEF 10-1 ISBN 0-529-10445-8