Women for the Nations
She Shall Be Called Woman
Part One Session Three
The concept that woman was created using one of Adam's ribs is found in nearly every translation. In this session you will find out the source of this myth and explore the essential truth that is concealed by this mistranslation of the Hebrew word tsela.
Myth Four: The woman was created from one of Adam's ribs.
This teaching is based on the scripture in Genesis 2:21-22 which is translated variously as follows:
KJV: "And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man."
NIV, U.K.: "So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man's ribs and closed up the place with flesh. Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man."
NAS: "So the LORD God caused a (deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that place. 22The LORD God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man."
CEV: "So the LORD God made him fall into a deep sleep, and he took out one of the man's ribs. Then after closing the man's side, the LORD made a woman out of the rib. The LORD God brought her to the man."
Young's Literal Translation: "And Jehovah God causeth a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he sleepeth, and He taketh one of his ribs, and closeth up flesh in its stead. And Jehovah God buildeth up the rib which He hath taken out of the man into a woman, and bringeth her in unto the man."
New Life Version: "So the Lord God put the man to sleep as if he were dead. And while he was sleeping, He took one of the bones from his side and closed up the place with flesh. The Lord God made woman from the bone which He had taken from the man. And He brought her to the man."
New Living Translation: "So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep. While the man slept, the Lord God took out one of the man's ribs and closed up the opening. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib, and he brought her to the man."
The Message: "God put the Man into a deep sleep. As he slept he removed one of his ribs and replaced it with flesh. God then used the rib that he had taken from the Man to make Woman and presented her to the Man."
Amplified Bible: "And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam; and while he slept, He took one of his ribs or a part of his side and closed up the [place with] flesh. And the rib or part of his side which the Lord God had taken from the man He built up and made into a woman, and He brought her to the man."
Above we have quoted directly from several commonly used English versions of the Bible. Notice that in nearly all versions the word "rib" is used, with the exception of the New Life Version which uses the word "bone" or "bones". The Amplified is the only version we find that actually adds the words "a part of his side", though it still uses the phrase "one of his ribs".
We have included all of these direct quotes from different versions to demonstrate how certain prejudiced attitudes in the minds of (mostly male) translators have distorted our perception of God's attitude to women even to the present day. Throughout further sessions we will see quite frequently how many Bible translators have brought a biased mindset to their work that has shaped the church's attitude to women for around 1900 years.
Later we shall see how in some instances the ancient original scripts were actually deliberately changed by some translators because their bias against womankind was so deep they could not accept even scriptural truth about women. During the course of this study we will look more into these matters. For now, let's do a word study on the little, seemingly unimportant Hebrew word that has been translated "rib" in so many modern Bible versions.
WORD STUDY on the Hebrew word "tsela", translated "rib" in Genesis 2:21-22
(Strongs #6763) tsela', tsay-law'; or (fem.) tsal'ah, tsal-aw'; from H6760;
side, rib, beam, plank, board
Normally this Hebrew word "tsela" would be translated as "side, corner, chambers or flank". In fact, according to Young's Analytical Concordance, this same Hebrew word is used 39 other times in scripture and is translated in those instances as "side, corner, chambers or flank" but never "rib".
It is believed the first person to translate this word as "rib" instead of "side" was the Jewish Rabbi Joshua. This is what Rabbi Joshua taught (quote):
"God deliberated from what member He would create woman, and He reasoned within Himself thus: I must not create her from Adam's head, for she would be a proud person, and hold her head high. If I create her from the eye, then she will wish to pry into things; if from the ear, then she will wish to hear all things; if from the mouth she will talk much; if from the heart, she will envy people; if from the head, she will desire to make all things; if from the feet, she will be a gadabout. Therefore, I will create her from the member which is hid, that is the rib, which is not even seen when man is naked."
The "rib" theory was thus born from the ramblings of an ill-informed ancient Jewish rabbi and has been perpetuated from one generation to another throughout church history.
So what difference does it make, you may ask, whether the woman came from Adam's rib or Adam's side? It may make very little difference to you until you understand that Jesus Christ is the "last Adam" and His Bride-church was formed when blood and water flowed from HIS SIDE at Calvary (blood and water being always present at birth). (1 Cor. 15:45, John 19:34).
As the first Adam is a "shadow" of Jesus Christ, so is the woman a "shadow" of Christ's Bride, His church. Therefore it is important that we understand that the woman was formed from Adam's side, just as the church has been formed from Christ's side. We are bone of His bone, and flesh of His flesh. We, the church, are being conformed to the very image of Christ. As the physical life of Adam was manifested in the woman, his wife (later named Eve), so now the spiritual life of Christ is manifested in His wife, the church.
The incorrect idea that woman was formed from nothing more than one of Adam's ribs has helped validate the opinions of those who regard the female gender as somehow inferior or a lesser creation than the male gender. For us who have access to accurate teaching on this translation it is not only an affront to womankind to continue to perpetuate the "rib" theory, worse still it is an affront to Christ and His church. It's time we grew out of this false Jewish "myth" and began speaking the truth, because what we say reflects on Christ and His church. Originally they were one creation and when God decided it was 'not good that man should be alone", He removed a portion from within the male and made the woman.
To clarify this matter even further, please read and consider the following brief article by David Fees.
The Cross Sets Free
The first Adam was male and female. Male and female created he them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created (Gen. 5:2). God then took the female out of him, placed those characteristics into Eve and told them to multiply and subdue. God put sleep into Adam and took his bride out of his side in order that the plans and purposes of God might come to pass. Jesus is the last Adam. Through the cross, the church was taken out of His side in death. In Him now through the cross, we are placed back into Him so that together male and female, in Him, we can accomplish that in which the first Adam failed. Together, united in the last Adam, we have the same commission--multiply and subdue. We subdue through the power of love and the Gospel of redemption. We rule and reign in His name. We are called to take ground--to tame the "wild" of the earth. Not in the frailty of the first Adam but in the power of the last -- the risen, resurrected One who beckons to women and men, "Come."
The Creator formed the woman from material taken from the side of the man. Ribs had nothing to do with it. Nowhere else is this word (tslea in Hebrew) translated rib. As the church came from the side of Christ, the Lord God took woman from the side of man--a beautiful type and shadow. The woman was formed from Adam's substance. Both were of human substance, yet formed differently. She was the finishing touch and completion of God's creation of humankind.
Questions for understanding and/or discussion
1. The word translated “rib” is tslea in Hebrew. Why should we question this translation as rib in Genesis 2:21-22?
2. Does it make any difference to your understanding of the role of the corporate church to know that the church came forth from Jesus side, as the woman came forth from Adam's side?
3. How does the myth that the woman was created from one of Adam's ribs validate the opinions of those who regard the female gender as somehow inferior or a lesser creation than the male gender?