Do Men Have Fewer Ribs than Women?

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Question: Do men have fewer ribs than women do?

´╗┐Answer: Did the creation of Eve, out of Adam, cause all men to have fewer ribs? The verse related to this question regarding the creation of the first man and woman is found in the book of Genesis. It states that, ". . . and while he was sleeping, he took out one of the man's ribs and closed up the flesh. He formed a woman out of the rib and brought her to him" (Genesis 2:21 - 22).

The direct answer to your question is that men do not have fewer ribs due to the creation of Eve. In regard to Adam, although the Bible is not specific, either he lived the rest of his life missing one of them or God healed him immediately after his 'surgery.' Males did not inherit one less rib due to what happened in the Garden of Eden.


Creation of men and women

Several commentaries offer some fascinating thoughts regarding God's creation of Adam and Eve. The Jamieson, Fausset and Brown Commentary states that Eve was not made from Adam's 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.

Eve and the Snake
Eve and the Snake
Nicolai Abildgaard, 1780

Adam Clarke's Commentary says that some piece of Adam was needed to be used for Eve's creation, and that it was likely the flesh from his sides that were used (see Genesis 2:23). The commentary goes on to state that God could have formed Eve from the ground just like he did Adam, but had he done so she might have appeared to have no natural relationship to him.

The celebrated first century historian Josephus also weighed in regarding God's creation of men and women. He said that it was only after God observed Adam wondering at the animals that were made male and female, and noticing he had no such companion, that he decided to create for him a mate out of his ribs.

Hidden meaning

We discover a little bit more about God's intention in making men and women by looking at the meaning of names and references. In the Bible, a male in the Hebrew language is referred to as Ish, which is Strong's Concordance #H376. The first word Adam used to refer to the woman made out of his own flesh is Issa or Ishah in the Hebrew (Strong's #H802, the feminine form of Ish - See Genesis 2:23).

When God made Eve out of one of her husband's ribs, he was literally making Ishah out of Ish. It was only after they both sinned that Adam called his wife Eve (Genesis 3:20).

Ultimately, God's "surgery" to provide the first man he created with a mate did not adversely him or his ability to live a long life. In fact, even if he lived with less ribs than Eve, he lived to the ripe old age of 930 years (Genesis 5:5). Adam lived the fourth longest lifespan of any human being in history (Methuselah was the longest at 969 years)! In short, men today have not inherited fewer bones than women possess.

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