Genesis 2:21 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 2:21, NIV: "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 then closed up the place with flesh."

Genesis 2:21, ESV: "So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh."

Genesis 2:21, KJV: "And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;"

Genesis 2:21, NASB: "So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that place."

Genesis 2:21, NLT: "So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep. While the man slept, the LORD God took out one of the man's ribs and closed up the opening."

Genesis 2:21, CSB: "So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to come over the man, and he slept. God took one of his ribs and closed the flesh at that place."

What does Genesis 2:21 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

In verse 18, God declared that He would make a helper for the man, since it was not good for the man to be alone. Then in the following two verses, Adam goes through the process of naming all of the animals God had created. In doing so, he finds out first-hand that none of them can serve as a suitable helper for him.

Even as God creates, He often does so with the intent of modifying that creation later on (Genesis 1:9–12). So now God goes to work, taking action to complete his intended design of the human race. He causes a deep sleep to fall on Adam: the first anesthesia before surgery. While Adam is asleep, God removes one of Adam's ribs and closes up the place with flesh. It's amazing to think of the God who had formed Adam out of dust now performing surgery on the man's body of flesh, blood, and bone.

It's important to remember several things about this action. This surgery was not to remove an imperfection from Adam's body, but to add something essential and beautiful to Adam's existence. It also speaks powerfully of the symbolic connection between man and woman. God could have created woman out of earth, as he did with man, but chose not to. The exchange of wedding rings, circumcision, communion, and other rituals are real-world actions with symbolic importance. In the same way, God's creation of woman from the rib of Adam meant to be seen as both literal and figurative.