Most English translations of Genesis 2:21-22 read, “The Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up flesh in its place. And the rib that the Lord God took from the man he built into a woman.”

The description of the woman made from the man’s “rib” has led to the mistaken conclusion that women are inferior to men because they originate from one small part of the male anatomy. Yet the Hebrew word צלע (tsela) does not mean “rib,” but rather “side.” According to Exodus, for example, God told Moses to make four gold rings for the Ark of the Covenant, “two rings on one side (צלע; tsela) of it, and two rings on the other side of it” (Exod 25:12). Likewise, when God takes one tsela from the man to make the woman, Eve comes from an entire side of Adam’s body, not a single rib.

Adam’s own words clarify that Eve comes from one of his sides when he declares of his wife, “Finally, this is bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh!” (Gen 2:23). Had Eve been created from the man’s rib alone, Adam would only have been able to say that she was “bone of his bone.” As Adam’s bone and flesh, the woman is the man’s “other half.” When man and woman cleave to one another and return to being “one flesh” (2:24), the two equal halves of humanity are brought back together. The primordial couple in Genesis represents God’s vision of equality and complementarity between the genders.

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272 COMMENTS

  1. I recall being in a Bible study on Gen 2-3 with a new couple that was older than me. She happened to say (as she had apparently been taught) that her husband had "one less rib" than she did because of the way Eve was built. I was in such shock that I blurted out right then and there, "No, he does not!" and I could tell it was like I had emotionally slapped her across the face. Yikes! The Bible study was very subdued after that incident. Which goes to show it is important to translate using accurate words.
    • Dear Donald, as a matter of fact: Yes, women are equal ; they have been created from a side of Adam, not from a head bone nor foot bone but from our side wich I assume makes them even! And Yes, compared to women, men do have a couple of ribs less!

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    • Goes to show how people can't differentiate between surgery and genetic modification. And how ignorant they are also about human anatomy.

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    • It is obvious that "tsela" is not "rib". And Eve was "made" by genetic manipulation,not from Adam- and not even from Adapa,his Sumerian predecessor...If she were to be "made" from Adam ( or his genetic material ).she could not have a XX chromosomes (female) but XY,like Adam (male). Doubling the X to XX would have resulted in an identical Madame Adam,which was obviously not the case. And the technology required would have been enormous...

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    • Christian or shall I rather say Baptists, many don't know much. They are on high defense of the King James Bible, though there are just too many miss translations of the Greek or Hebrew words and wrong interpretations.

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  2. Lydia Roskey here: Shalom! in the glorious name of Yeshua, I read in a archaeology mag. that Eve was made from the male organ????? Your explanation makes a whole lot more sense. This also goes with the idea, when a man and woman, in the Jewish faith, meet and exchange vows, each one has found his other half. I love it!! His "bershite" if I am saying it properly. love4LIFE, Lydia
    • Hi Lydia, Thanks for your post! The sexualized reading shows up in some modern scholarship, but there's little basis for it in the text; this kind of interpretation constitutes "eisegesis" ("reading into" the text from outside disciplines such as biology, anthropology, etc.), rather than "exegesis" (reading information "out of" what the text actually says). I'm glad that the translation of "side" resonated with you! It certainly paints a lovely picture of equality.

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    • I think you mean bereshit, (beer-i-sheet), beginning.
      and I've always thought that when a man and a woman come together in all senses, they are truly 'the person's 'other half'.
  3. That would mean that Adam and Eve were likely genetically identical except for the removal of the xy chromosome and the insertion of the xx chromosome. This would, of course, change Eve from a male with primary and secondary male sexual characteristics into a woman with primary and secondary female sexual characteristics. Interesting to think about. Must have been the Creator's plan all along--men have nipples. :-)
  4. THe article Lydia is referring to is found in Biblical Archaeology. several months back. Interesting interpretation by any means.
  5. I am like a scholar, carrying on the work of my father minister of YHWH Elohim and mother it has been revealed to me, that Eve was taken from Adams side, i totally agree with you. I agree with many things that you teach, not all but i compliment the Great work of sharing and teaching.Bless you real Good Shalom
  6. Is this story to be taken literally? "half" of Adam cripples him so that he is not in an "Eden/paradise" and so is Eve the other "half"; at worst they are to suffer and die. Genetics of xx and xy chromosome raises other issues. Is it a parable about the relationship between men and women?
    • Its important to remember that the creation account is a piece of historical narrative, not a 21 century scientific text book. It is historically accurate but not a medical explanation of what happened.

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    • Hi Winston, Thanks for your post and questions. While the Adam and Eve account isn't quite a "parable," which has its own definitional and narrative parameters, Eve's being built from Adam's side is certainly more about the relationship between men and women than it is about chromosomes. Rather than dwell on the biology of the event, the text prefers to make a theological statement about God and an anthropological statement about the nature of humanity. For more, see https://weekly.israelbiblecenter.com/splitting-the-adam/
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    • KJV speaks of Eve being "a help meet for (Adam)". Dr. Schaser disclosed the Hebrew as "ezer k'negdo" in one of his comments here. That could be translated as "tough help" that could cripple, if I'm right. They both need help from above to end up "kindly affectioned one to the other", and to jointly raise holy seed unto Yahweh. Not focusing on the Father, Yahweh, means trouble galore and spiritually dead children. They must be one, not just sexually with themselves as "one flesh", but also spiritually with Yahweh, for harmony and peace. Just my thoughts.

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    • Eh? God closed back the opening with flesh, no? It's pretty obvious there wasn't a crippled Adam in Paradise. And the creation account of the first man and woman is not a parable. If something as fundamental as the beginnings of humankind is a parable, then we are all living a parable. Like in "the matrix", maybe?
  7. Hi :) This concept maybe hard to believe our bodies are made of billion of cells! The most important part of a cell is the cell membrane! So If God were to change the material in the cell to become consistent to Eva's biology then the rib would transform to a mass of cells then to the body of Eve! This is to say the xy chromosome would become xx! What do you rhink
  8. I have often wondered why, if woman came from Man why would every other living creature come from Woman? Wouldn't God be capable of creating both male and female equally,especially knowing how the human race would then treat women as inferior up to the present day in many countries? The God in the Bible seems to be a misogynist and petty tyrant, compared to the New Testament. It just doesn't make sense most of the time.
    • Hi Ruth. Contrary to what most people think, the God of the NT comes off sounding much harsher than the God of Hebrew Bible (or so it seems). Every living creature doesn't actually come from woman - just other humans. I hope you'll take some of our courses and discover that the God of Israel has a very high view of woman!

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  9. They were ONE, Man AND Woman joined physically. Then God split them into ONE MAN and ONE WOMAN, Two Halves, which then, when re-joined are being ONE again.
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