I am curious from reading the mehanical translation of Genesis (Jeff A Benner,) if the rib taken from Adam could be interpreted as the womb, and any solid information which supports or contradicts.

I am attempting to read the oldest form of the bible or "rawest" as a lot can be lost in translation. Unfortunately, I can not read Hebrew and am reliant on the translations (hypocritical I know.) Please correct me if I am misinterpreting the hebrew itself. Also I will be using Adam/Eve over other names as it's the main names I know. I'll also be using the term womb loosely to include other areas of female anatomy.

Another question (linked below) says צֵלָע (tsela) can be regarded as "side" and "rib" perhaps in the same ambiguous way we can say 'chest' or 'tummy/belly' in English. This appears to be commonplace in that anger can be stated as 'to flare nostrils.' When God is named literally as "YHWH-Elohiym" this can be translated to "[Exists]-[Powers]" or 'The powers that be." This is a very abstract interpretation considering the time period had many physical gods and deities.

Additionally, another commented that the rib is the only bone in the body which can regenerate scientifically; which I believe potentially makes it a suitable metaphor for the womb/ female reproductive organs (Even today we have many different words for genitals that come from other words e.g. flower, snake.) When finding human skeletons, early people would have seen men and women have different skeletons easily by counting ribs. Arguably this could have been an extended metaphor for "reproductive organ" or womb and by proxy if Adam was an intersex being (As also seen more literally in 1:27.)

Genesis 2:21 references: וַיַפֵל יְּהוָּה אֱלֹהִׁים תַרְּדֵמָּה עַל הָּאָדָּם וַיִׁישָּן וַיִׁקַח אַחַת 2:21 מִׁצַלְּעֹתָּיו וַיִׁסְּגֹר בָּשָּׂר תַחְּתֶנָּה

and~ he~ will~ make~ Fall “YHWH [He exists]” “Elohiym [Powers]” Trance Upon the~ Human and~ he~ will~ Sleep and~ he~ will~ Take Unit from~ Rib~ s~ him and~ he~ will~ Shut Flesh Under~ her

For me the specific "her" is important, as it appears prior that he-human was used to reference Adam, and the passage afterwards clearly references Eve as her-woman. Similar to French, it appears the Hebrew uses masculine and feminine forms for words. From what I know even a group of sons and daughters can also have masculine grammar associated (36:25)- so whilst her is definitively female, him appears to be gender neuteral in some capacity or to mean masculine-plus. Therefore, specifying 'her' in relation to God changing Adam's physiology seems very clearly defined. I will also note here that the ground is given femnine form (4:12) and as Adam is from the earth itself, it could mean they were meant to be coded as female before the sexes were discriminated.

Whilst "under" can also mean "in place of" which could mean flesh in place of bone/rib, "under" could be Adam having their reproductive organs or "flesh" "Shut." Referring back to how "rib" can also be translated as "side" ovulation and menstrual pains are often felt in the sides, and more abstractly "side" gives reference to different sides or personas (perhaps as men and women are both human, they are both two sides of the same species?)

Lastly, is the use of the term "functional." In the seven days of creation, "functional" is the word used once each subject is in place (e.g. sky, day, night.) The creation is also termed as God "fattened" (2:3) which is similar to fertile land swelling or the swelling of a womb. In this way the act of fattening/swelling and giving life seem to be intertwined.

וַיֹאמֶר יְּהוָּה אֱלֹהִׁים לֹא טוֹב הֱיוֹת הָּאָדָּם לְּבַדוֹ אֶעֱשֶׂה לוֹ עֵזֶר 2:18 כְּנֶגְּדוֹ it is not functional for the human existing by himself, I will make for him a helper such as his opposite,

The tree of knowledge also seems to allude to being able to dichotomise between "function" and "dysfunction" a heavenly power. To early people being able to grow an entire human inside you and birth them is certainly a wonder (even today it leaves us in awe) so "function" could be seen a the ability to create or to put into motion.

I'd be interested in anyone's opinions on the matter, especially in regards to the original hebrew transcript.

I am new to this site so please bear with me and I apologise in advance for any faux pas. The link referenced: Is the translation "rib" for the Hebrew צֵלָע (*tsela*) in Genesis 2:22 justified?

  • No. The text is a reminder of the fact that, millennia ago, (animal) bone was a basic material, used for constructing various tools. And her refers to the rib.
    – Lucian
    Commented Aug 4, 2020 at 5:56
  • 3
    Any "mechanical translation" is guaranteed to mislead you because they completely ignore context, polysemy, etc. Please, don't use them. Use real translations.
    – curiousdannii
    Commented Aug 4, 2020 at 6:37
  • I agree, a mechanical translation still is not the best way to recieve informaton, but it is interesting to see as opposed to the many, many translatons of the bible over the years.
    – Erin
    Commented Aug 5, 2020 at 11:04
  • @Elly No, there is nothing interesting to see in a "mechanical translation". There cannot be, because you cannot create a meaningful or insightful translation if you completely ignore the meaning of a text in its original language and context.
    – curiousdannii
    Commented Aug 5, 2020 at 11:43

2 Answers 2


This question falls in to the category of "speculative translation". That is, a speculation about the meaning of word in a text based a conflated interpretation of the translation of the word into a non-cognate language and it's relation to another word on the non-cognate language. The answer to this type of question in almost all cases is "no", and specifically, in this case, "no". In general, this is not a productive approach to understanding the texts.

The method that you should use to answer this type of question for yourself is concordance lookup. In this case, Genesis 2:21 the word "from his ribs" is a translation of מתצלעתיו, whose tri-consonant root צלע appears about forty times in the masoretic text (MT) of the OT, which is a relatively large number of times and gives us a good basis for understanding it's meaning.

As a cross-check, you should look at the same verse in the DSS (if there is one for the particular verse), the Samarian Pentateuch and Joshua, and check for test-critical notes. Most of this has been done for you on the popular Bible websites.

From the other instances of צלע you can see that its primary meaning is "side". Here is a partial list.

  1. Genesis 2:21 (the current case)
  2. Genesis 2:22
  3. Genesis 32:32
  4. Exodus 25:12
  5. Exodus 25:14
  6. Exodus 26:20
  7. Exodus 26:26
  8. Exodus 26:27
  9. Exodus 26:35
  10. Exodus 27:7
  11. Exodus 30:4
  12. Exodus 36:25
  13. Exodus 36:31
  14. Exodus 37:3
  15. Exodus 37:5
  16. Exodus 37:27
  17. Exodus 38:7
  18. Joshua 18:28
  19. II Samuel 16:13
  20. II Samuel 21:14
  21. I Kings 6:5 . . .
  • Thank you, that is a good method.
    – Erin
    Commented Aug 5, 2020 at 11:05

In Hebrew - "Womb" (Rechem, רֶ֖חֶם) is not "Rib" (Tsela, צֵּלָ֛ע). * Read [Genesis 20:18] after [Genesis 2:22]. "Womb" (Rechem, רֶ֖חֶם) is linked to "Compassion" (רחום) see [Exodus 34, Psalms 86].

Regarding pronunciation of Rib (צֵּלָ֛ע) from [Genesis 2:22] : "And YHVH God built" (Va-Yiven YHVH Elohim, וַיִּ֩בֶן֩ יְהֹוָ֨ה אֱלֹהִ֧ים ) " With the Rib " ( Et Ha-Tsela, אֶת־הַצֵּלָ֛ע) " that was taken from the Man " ( esher-Laqach Min-Adam , אֲשֶׁר־לָקַ֥ח מִן־הָֽאָדָ֖ם) " into a Wife " (Le-Ishah , לְאִשָּׁ֑ה).

  • Thank you, that is good to know.
    – Erin
    Commented Aug 3, 2020 at 21:03

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