Genesis 2:21. And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place.
The Hebrew word for “rib” is TSELA. Architecturally, it is used in the O.T. of a (especially floor or ceiling) timber or plank (single or collective, i.e. a flooring):—beam, board, chamber, corner, leaf, plank, rib, side (chamber).
Today, in the construction of a wooden building, we refer to the horizontal beams for floors and ceilings as JOISTS; the vertical beams as STUDS; the sloping beams for the roof as RAFTERS; and the horizontal supports for the rafters as PURLINS. All of these beams could be referred to as RIBS, and the human ribcage has a similar design and purpose to the beams in a wooden building.
The human ribcage consists of 12 pairs of ribs. One of these was taken from Adam, and we’re not told which. However, these ribs surround the lungs and heart, and it seems clear that Eve was designed from that part of Adam that protected his heart. Therefore he would look upon his wife with tender emotion, value her, and care for her. She was a special creation of God, unlike the creation of any other living creature. We shall need to think further about this as we progress in this series.
The Septuagint Greek translation of the O.T. uses the word PLEURA for RIB. We speak about PLEURISY, which is inflammation of the tissue (pleura) between the lungs and ribcage. It is interesting to find this word in the N.T. Greek of John 19:34, which speaks about the dead body of Christ on the cross. But one of the soldiers pierced His side [PLEURA] with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out.
The tip of the spear would have pierced the PERICARDIUM first, and then punctured the HEART. This explains the effusion of both water (surrounding the heart), and blood (from the heart itself.) Christian expositors have often spoken about the symbolism of water and blood in connection with BAPTISM and THE LORD’S SUPPER.
1 John 5:6. This is He who came by water and blood — Jesus Christ; not only by water, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit who bears witness, because the Spirit is truth. John had in mind the water that came forth from the Rock in the wilderness, but here, he says, not only water, but blood came forth from the Saviour’s side. There is much to ponder and learn from these things.