The famous “Eve” observation

JP: Every heard this quote used at a wedding?

A Famous Observation Regarding the Creation of Eve


One of the most often-quoted devotional comments in Matthew Henry’s (1662-1714) famous commentary on the Bible is his remarks regarding the creation of the first woman from the side of the first man (Genesis 2:21-22)–

[T]he woman was made of a rib out of the side of Adam; not made out of his head to rule over him, nor out of his feet to be trampled upon by him, but out of his side to be equal with him, under his arm to be protected, and near his heart to be beloved. [italics in original]

Henry’s observation was picked up by later commentators, among them John Gill (1697-1771), who, at Genesis 2:22, reproduces much of Henry’s phrasing:

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 trampled on by him; but out of his side, and from one of his ribs, that she might appear 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 always under his care and protection.

While Henry usually gets credit for this thought, he unquestionably was not the originator of it. Matthew Poole (1624-1679) in his English commentary at Genesis 2:21-22 (published posthumously in 1683) makes an obviously similar and definitely earlier comment:

The woman was taken out of this part [i.e., the side], not out of the higher or lower parts, to show that she is neither to be her husband’s mistress [i.e., dominator], to usurp authority over him, I Timothy 2:12; nor yet to be his slave to be abused, despised, or trampled under his feet; but to be kindly treated, and used like a companion, with moderation, respect, and affection.

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