Genesis 2:22
And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her to the man.
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(22) Made he a woman.—Heb., he built up into a woman. Her formation is described as requiring both time and care on the heavenly artificer’s part. Thus woman is no casual or hasty production of nature, but is the finished result of labour and skill. Finally, she is brought with special honour to the man as the Creator’s last and most perfect work. Every step and stage in this description is intended for the ennoblement of marriage. Woman is not made from the adâmâh, but from the adam. She is something that he once had, but has lost; and while for Adam there is simply the closing of the cavity caused by her withdrawal, she is moulded and re-fashioned, and built up into man’s counterpart. She brings back more than the man parted with, and the Creator Himself leads her by the hand to her husband. The anthropomorphic language of these early chapters is part of that condescension to human weakness which makes it the rule everywhere for inspiration to use popular language. He who made heaven and earth by the fiat of His will must not be understood as having literally moulded the side taken from Adam as a sculptor would the plastic clay; nor did He assume human form that He might place her at man’s side. Much of this may indeed have been represented to Adam’s mind in the trance into which he had fallen; but the whole narrative has a nobler meaning, and the practical result of its teaching was that neither woman nor marriage ever sank into that utter degradation among the Jews which elsewhere aided so greatly in corrupting morals and men.

2:18-25 Power over the creatures was given to man, and as a proof of this he named them all. It also shows his insight into the works of God. But though he was lord of the creatures, yet nothing in this world was a help meet for man. From God are all our helpers. If we rest in God, he will work all for good. God caused deep sleep to fall on Adam; while he knows no sin, God will take care that he shall feel no pain. God, as her Father, brought the woman to the man, as his second self, and a help meet for him. That wife, who is of God's making by special grace, and of God's bringing by special providence, is likely to prove a help meet for a man. See what need there is, both of prudence and prayer in the choice of this relation, which is so near and so lasting. That had need to be well done, which is to be done for life. Our first parents needed no clothes for covering against cold or heat, for neither could hurt them: they needed none for ornament. Thus easy, thus happy, was man in his state of innocency. How good was God to him! How many favours did he load him with! How easy were the laws given to him! Yet man, being in honour, understood not his own interest, but soon became as the beasts that perish. - XIV. The Woman

21. תרדמה tardēmâh, "deep sleep," ἔκστασις ekstasis, Septuagint. צלע tsēlā‛, "rib, side, wing of a building."

23. פעם pa‛am, "beat, stroke, tread, anvil." אישׁ 'ı̂ysh, "man," vir. אשׁה 'āshah, "be firm, as a foundation;" ישׁה yāshah, "be firm as a substance;" אנש 'ānash, "be strong;" אושׁ 'ûsh, "to give help: hence, the strong, the brave, the defender, the nourisher." אשׂה 'ı̂śâh, "woman," feminine of the above; "wife."

The second creative step in the constitution of man as the natural head of a race is now described. This supplies the defect that was drawn forth into consciousness in the preceding passage. Man here passes out of solitude into society, out of unity into multiplicity.

Here we find ourselves still in the sixth day. This passage throws a new light on Genesis 1:27. It is there stated that man was first created in the image of God, and then that he was created male and female. From the present passage we learn that these two acts of creation were distinct in point of time. First, we see man was really one in his origin, and contained in this unity the perfection of manhood. It does not appear, however, that man was so constituted by nature as to throw off another of the same kind by his inherent power. In fact, if he had, the other should have been, not a female, but another human being in every respect like himself; and he would thus have resembled those plants that are capable of being propagated by a bud. Besides, he would have been endowed with a power different from his actual posterity; and thus the head would not have corresponded with the members of the race.

The narrative, however, is opposed to this view of man's nature. For the change, by which the woman comes into existence, is directly ascribed to the original Maker. A part of the man is taken for the purpose, which can be spared without interfering with the integrity of his nature. It manifestly does not constitute a woman by the mere act of separation, as we are told that the Lord God built it into a woman. It is needless, therefore, to speculate whether the part taken were literally a rib, or some other side piece designedly put there by the provident Creator, for the purpose of becoming the rudiment of a full-grown woman. It is expressly called, not A rib, but one of his ribs; and this evidently implies that he had other similar parts. This binds us, we conceive, to the literal rib of bone and flesh. And thus, in accordance with the account in the foregoing chapter, we have, first, the single man created, the full representative and potential fountain of the race, and then, out of this one, in the way now described, we have the male and the female created.

The original unity of man constitutes the strict unity of the race. The construction of the rib into a woman establishes the individuality of man's person before, as well as after, the removal of the rib. The selection of a rib to form into a woman constitutes her, in an eminent sense, a helpmeet for him, in company with him, on a footing of equality with him. At the same time, the after building of the part into a woman determines the distinct personality and individuality of the woman. Thus, we perceive that the entire race, even the very first mother of it, has its essential unit and representative in the first man.

The Almighty has called intelligent beings into existence in two ways. The angels he seems to have created as individuals Mark 12:25, constituting an order of beings the unity of which lies in the common Creator. Man he created as the parent of a race about to spring from a single head, and having its unity in that head. A single angel then stands by himself, and for himself; and all his actions belong only to himself, except so far as example, persuasion, or leadership may have involved others in them. But the single man, who is at the same time head of a race, is in quite a different position. He stands for the race, which is virtually contained in him; and his actions belong not only to him as an individual, but, in a certain sense, to the whole race, of which he is at present the sum. An angel counts only for the unit of his order. The first man counts for the whole race as long as he is alone. The one angel is responsible only for himself. The first man is not only an individual, but, as long as he is alone, the sum total of a race; and is therefore so long responsible, not only for himself, but for the race, as the head of which he acts. This deep question of race will meet us again at a future stage of man's history.

Since the All-wise Being never does anything without reason, it becomes an interesting question, why the creation of woman was deferred to this precise juncture in human history. First, man's original unity is the counterpart of the unity of God. He was to be made in the image of God, and after his likeness. If the male and the female had been created at once, an essential feature of the divine likeness would have been missing. But, as in the absolute One there is no duality, whether in sex or in any other respect, so is there none in the original form and constitution of man. Hence, we learn the absurdity of those who import into their notions of the deity the distinction of sex, and all the alliances which are involved in a race of gods. Secondly, the natural unity of the first pair, and of the race descended from them, is established by the primary creation of an individual, from whom is derived, by a second creative process, the first woman.

The race of man is thus a perfect unity, flowing from a single center of human life. Thirdly, two remarkable events occur in the experience of man before the formation of the woman, - his installment in the garden as its owner, keeper, and dresser; and his review of the animals, as their rational superior, to whom they yield an instinctive homage. By the former he is prepared to provide for the sustenance and comfort of his wife; by the latter, he becomes aware of his power to protect her. Still further, by the interview with his Maker in the garden he came to understand language; and by the inspection of the animals to employ it himself. Speech implies the exercise of the susceptive and conceptive powers of the understanding. Thus, Adam was qualified to hold intelligent converse with a being like himself. He was competent to be the instructor of his wife in words and things. Again, he had met with his superior in his Creator, his inferiors in the animals; and he was now to meet his equal in the woman. And, lastly, by the divine command his moral sense had been brought into play, the theory of moral obligation had been revealed to his mind, and he was therefore prepared to deal with a moral being like himself, to understand and respect the rights of another, to do unto another as he would have another do to him. It was especially necessary that the sense of right should grow up in his breast, to keep in due check that might in which he excelled, before the weaker and gentler sex was called into being, and intrusted to his charge. These are some of the obvious reasons for delaying the formation of the woman to the present crisis.

21. deep sleep—probably an ecstasy or trance like that of the prophets, when they had visions and revelations of the Lord, for the whole scene was probably visible to the mental eye of Adam, and hence his rapturous exclamation.

took one of his ribs—"She was not made out of his head to surpass him, nor from his feet to be trampled on, but from his side to be equal to him, and near his heart to be dear to him."

From some place at a little distance, whither he first carried her, that for the decency of the action he might bring her thence; a bride to a bridegroom to be married to him: the great God being pleased to act the part of a father to give his daughter and workmanship to him, thereby both teaching parents their duty of providing marriages for their children, and children their duty of expecting their parents’ consent in marriage. And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he woman,.... It is commonly observed, and pertinently enough, that the woman was not made from the superior part of man, that she might not be thought to be above him, and have power over him; nor from any inferior part, as being below him, and to be trampled on by him; but out of his side, and from one of his ribs, that she might appear to be equal to him; and from a part near his heart, and under his arms, to show that she should be affectionately loved by him, and be always under his care and protection: and she was not "created" as things were, out of nothing, nor "formed" as Adam was, out of the dust of the earth, being in the same form as man; but "made" out of refined and quickened dust, or the flesh and bones of man, and so in her make and constitution fine and lovely; or "built" (n), as the word signifies, which is used, because she is the foundation of the house or family, and the means of building it up: or rather to denote the singular care and art used, and fit proportion observed in the make of her:

and brought her unto the man: from the place where the rib had been carried, and she was made of it; or he brought her, as the parent of her, at whose dispose she was, and presented her to Adam as his spouse, to be taken into a conjugal relation with him, and to be loved and cherished by him; which, as it affords a rule and example to be followed by parents and children, the one to dispose of their children in marriage, and the other to have the consent of their parents in it; as well as it is a recommendation of marriage, as agreeable to the divine will, and to be esteemed honourable, being of God: so it was a type of the marriage of Christ, the second Adam, between him and his church, which sprung from him, from his side; and is of the same nature with him, and was presented by his divine Father to him, who gave her to him; and he received her to himself as his spouse and bride; see Ephesians 5:29.

(n) "et aedificavit", Pagninus, Montanus, Vatablus, Piscator, &c.

And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a {o} woman, and brought her unto the man.

(o) Signifying that mankind was perfect, when the woman was created, who before was like an imperfect building.

22. made he] Heb. “builded He,” so LXX ᾠκοδόμησεν, Lat. aedificavit: a different word from that in Genesis 2:7-19.Verse 22. - And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he (literally, builded into; aedificavit, Vulgate; ὠκοδόμησεν, LXX.) a woman. The peculiar phraseology employed to describe the formation of Adam s partner has been understood as referring to the physical configuration of woman s body, which is broadest towards the middle (Lyra); to the incompleteness of Adam's being, which was like an unfinished building until Eve was formed (Calvin); to the part of the female in building up the family (Delitzsch, Macdonald), to the building up of the Church, of which she was designed to be a type (Bonar); - yet it may be doubted if there is not as much truth in the remark that "by the many words used in the generation of mankind, as creating (Genesis 1:27), making (Genesis 1:26), forming and inspiring (Genesis 2:7), and now building, Moses would set forth this wondrous workmanship for which the Psalmist so laudeth God," Psalm 139:14 (Ainsworth). And brought her unto the man. I.e. led, conducted, and presented her to Adam. "The word implies the solemn bestowment of her in the bonds of the marriage covenant, which is hence called the covenant of God (Proverbs 2:17); implying that he is the Author of this sacred institution" (Bush). On awaking from his slumber Adam at once recognized the Divine intention, and joyfully welcomed his bride. Creation of the Woman. - As the creation of the man is introduced in Genesis 1:26-27, with a divine decree, so here that of the woman is preceded by the divine declaration, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him כּנגדּו עזר, a help of his like: "i.e., a helping being, in which, as soon as he sees it, he may recognise himself" (Delitzsch). Of such a help the man stood in need, in order that he might fulfil his calling, not only to perpetuate and multiply his race, but to cultivate and govern the earth. To indicate this, the general word כנגדו עזר is chosen, in which there is an allusion to the relation of the sexes. To call out this want, God brought the larger quadrupeds and birds to the man, "to see what he would call them (לו lit., each one); and whatsoever the man might call every living being should be its name." The time when this took place must have been the sixth day, on which, according to Genesis 1:27, the man and woman were created: and there is no difficulty in this, since it would not have required much time to bring the animals to Adam to see what he would call them, as the animals of paradise are all we have to think of; and the deep sleep into which God caused the man to fall, till he had formed the woman from his rib, need not have continued long. In Genesis 1:27 the creation of the woman is linked with that of the man; but here the order of sequence is given, because the creation of the woman formed a chronological incident in the history of the human race, which commences with the creation of Adam. The circumstance that in Genesis 2:19 the formation of the beasts and birds is connected with the creation of Adam by the imperf. c. ו consec., constitutes to objection to the plan of creation given in Genesis 1. The arrangement may be explained on the supposition, that the writer, who was about to describe the relation of man to the beasts, went back to their creation, in the simple method of the early Semitic historians, and placed this first instead of making it subordinate; so that our modern style of expressing the same thought would be simply this: "God brought to Adam the beasts which He had formed."

(Note: A striking example of this style of narrative we find in 1 Kings 7:13. First of all, the building and completion of the temple are noticed several times in 1 Kings 6, and the last time in connection with the year and month (1 Kings 6:9, 1 Kings 6:14, 1 Kings 6:37-38); after that, the fact is stated, that the royal palace was thirteen years in building; and then the writer proceeds thus: "And king Solomon sent and fetched Hiram from Tyre...and he came to king Solomon, and did all his work; and made the two pillars," etc. Now, if we were to understand the historical preterite with consec., here, as giving the order of sequence, Solomon would be made to send for the Tyrian artist, thirteen years after the temple was finished, to come and prepare the pillars for the porch, and all the vessels needed for the temple. But the writer merely expresses in Semitic style the simple thought, that "Hiram, whom Solomon fetched from Tyre, made the vessels," etc. Another instance we find in Judges 2:6.)

Moreover, the allusion is not to the creation of all the beasts, but simply to that of the beasts living in the field (game and tame cattle), and of the fowls of the air-to beasts, therefore, which had been formed like man from the earth, and thus stood in a closer relation to him than water animals or reptiles. For God brought the animals to Adam, to show him the creatures which were formed to serve him, that He might see what he would call them. Calling or naming presupposes acquaintance. Adam is to become acquainted with the creatures, to learn their relation to him, and by giving them names to prove himself their lord. God does not order him to name them; but by bringing the beasts He gives him an opportunity of developing that intellectual capacity which constitutes his superiority to the animal world. "The man sees the animals, and thinks of what they are and how they look; and these thoughts, in themselves already inward words, take the form involuntarily of audible names, which he utters to the beasts, and by which he places the impersonal creatures in the first spiritual relation to himself, the personal being" (Delitzsch). Language, as W. v. Humboldt says, is "the organ of the inner being, or rather the inner being itself as it gradually attains to inward knowledge and expression." It is merely thought cast into articulate sounds or words. The thoughts of Adam with regard to the animals, to which he gave expression in the names that he gave them, we are not to regard as the mere results of reflection, or of abstraction from merely outward peculiarities which affected the senses; but as a deep and direct mental insight into the nature of the animals, which penetrated far deeper than such knowledge as is the simple result of reflecting and abstracting thought. The naming of the animals, therefore, led to this result, that there was not found a help meet for man. Before the creation of the woman we must regard the man (Adam) as being "neither male, in the sense of complete sexual distinction, nor androgynous as though both sexes were combined in the one individual created at the first, but as created in anticipation of the future, with a preponderant tendency, a male in simple potentiality, out of which state he passed, the moment the woman stood by his side, when the mere potentia became an actual antithesis" (Ziegler).

Then God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man (Genesis 2:21). תּרדּמּה, a deep sleep, in which all consciousness of the outer world and of one's own existence vanishes. Sleep is an essential element in the nature of man as ordained by God, and is quite as necessary for man as the interchange of day and night for all nature besides. But this deep sleep was different from natural sleep, and God caused it to fall upon the man by day, that He might create the woman out of him. "Everything out of which something new is to spring, sinks first of all into such a sleep" (Ziegler). צלע means the side, and, as a portion of the human body, the rib. The correctness of this meaning, which is given by all the ancient versions, is evident from the words, "God took one of his צלעות," which show that the man had several of them. "And closed up flesh in the place thereof;" i.e., closed the gap which had been made, with flesh which He put in the place of the rib. The woman was created, not of dust of the earth, but from a rib of Adam, because she was formed for an inseparable unity and fellowship of life with the man, and the mode of her creation was to lay the actual foundation for the moral ordinance of marriage. As the moral idea of the unity of the human race required that man should not be created as a genus or plurality,

(Note: Natural science can only demonstrate the unity of the human race, not the descent of all men from one pair, though many naturalists question and deny even the former, but without any warrant from anthropological facts. For every thorough investigation leads to the conclusion arrived at by the latest inquirer in this department, Th. Waitz, that not only are there no facts in natural history which preclude the unity of the various races of men, and fewer difficulties in the way of this assumption than in that of the opposite theory of specific diversities; but even in mental respects there are no specific differences within the limits of the race. Delitzsch has given an admirable summary of the proofs of unity. "That the races of men," he says, "are not species of one genus, but varieties of one species, is confirmed by the agreement in the physiological and pathological phenomena in them all, by the similarity in the anatomical structure, in the fundamental powers and traits of the mind, in the limits to the duration of life, in the normal temperature of the body and the average rate of pulsation, in the duration of pregnancy, and in the unrestricted fruitfulness of marriages between the various races.")

so the moral relation of the two persons establishing the unity of the race required that man should be created first, and then the woman from the body of the man. By this the priority and superiority of the man, and the dependence of the woman upon the man, are established as an ordinance of divine creation. This ordinance of God forms the root of that tender love with which the man loves the woman as himself, and by which marriage becomes a type of the fellowship of love and life, which exists between the Lord and His Church (Ephesians 5:32). If the fact that the woman was formed from a rib, and not from any other part of the man, is significant; all that we can find in this is, that the woman was made to stand as a helpmate by the side of the man, not that there was any allusion to conjugal love as founded in the heart; for the text does not speak of the rib as one which was next the heart. The word בּנה is worthy of note: from the rib of the man God builds the female, through whom the human race is to be built up by the male (Genesis 16:2; Genesis 30:3).

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