Do men have one less rib than women?
The myth that men have one less rib than women goes back to the creation story when God took one of Adam’s ribs and used it to create a woman. In creating Adam, God made him from the “dust of the ground” and He “breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being” (Genesis 2:7).
But, in creating Eve, God did not use the dust of he earth; He used one of Adam’s ribs to form the woman. “And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man. And Adam said: “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man” (Genesis 2:21-23).
When Eve was brought to Adam, the man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man” (Genesis 2: 23). Concerning Adam’s missing rib, the Bible does not tell us what happened. But either he lived the rest of his life with a missing rib or God replaced it with another rib.
Generally speaking, men do not have one less rib than women. Both men and women have the exact same number of ribs. There are 24 ribs in the human body, 12 ribs on each side. The exception to this creation rule are individuals born with specific genetic abnormalities. These defects can appear as extra ribs (supernumerary ribs) or lesser ribs (agenesis of ribs).
The moral of the story of the “rib” of Adam is that God created Eve to stand by Adam’s side as an equal, to be loved and protected by him. The woman made of Adam’s rib was designed to be a companion and “helper suitable” for Adam (Genesis 2:18). Eve was made to complement Adam and meet his needs.
The Jamieson, Fausset and Brown Commentary states that Eve was not made from Adam’s (representing all men) head in order to surpass him, or made from his feet so that she could be trampled on, but from his side so that she could be near and dear to his heart.
Thus, the woman was formed for inseparable fellowship of life with the man, and the mode of her creation was to lay the real basis for the moral ordinance of marriage. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24). These words express the deepest physical and spiritual unity of man and woman, and uplift monogamy before the world as the kind of marriage instituted by God. These words do not suggest a forsaking of parental duty and respect toward father and mother, but point mainly to the fact that a man’s wife is to be first in his love and that his first duty is toward her. The unity of husband and wife is expressed in clear words, existing as they do in a unity of bodies, a community of interests, and a reciprocity of affections.
In His service,
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