Does a woman have more ribs than a man?
ANSWER: No. Both men and women have exactly the same number of ribs which is 24 – twelve on each side. The first twenty are located on the front of the body, while the other 4 are located on the back (floating ribs), according to Matthew Hoffman, MD, Internist, Emory University.
The popular myth that a woman has more ribs than a man is probably founded on a wrong interpretation of Genesis 2:21-23:
“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. 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.”
Many have erroneously assumed that since one rib was taken out of Adam to form Eve, then a woman has more ribs than a man. But this theory falls apart very quickly when you study the original Hebrew in which the Old Testament Bible was written. The English word “rib” is the transliterated Hebrew word tsela. It means “side” – not an actual rib.
In other words, when God performed a miraculous surgery on Adam in order to create Eve, He took Adam’s entire side to do so – not just one rib. Afterwards, God also apparently re-created an entire new side for Adam to replace the void that was left and closed it up again in its place.
You may ask, “Why didn’t God just create Eve on her own without the need for Adam’s side?” I really don’t know. You will have to ask God that question yourself. My guess is that He wanted to emphasize the physical and spiritual significance of a man and woman becoming “one flesh” when they are married as stated in verse 24:
“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.”
God in the beginning ordained marriage and the family unit as the first and foremost institution on earth. When a man and a woman are united in marriage they are no longer two people, but one. One in mind, spirit, body and purpose. In my opinion, I can’t see a better way to symbolically convey this important message than having Eve created out of Adam’s own flesh and bones.
- Luis Josephus
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