Somewhere someone says this saying is in the Talmud:"The 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".

Can anyone tell me whether it's true or false? In case it's true, where is it precisely?

  • 4
    Where did you get that quote from?
    – Double AA
    Commented Jan 31, 2017 at 17:43
  • you can find it anywhere in the web. Someone attributes it to Shakspeare Commented Jan 31, 2017 at 18:55
  • 4
    ok but if you bring it as a quotation, you should say what you're quoting. right now someone reads this post and is just confused.
    – Double AA
    Commented Jan 31, 2017 at 18:56
  • This sounds like the old Uncle Moishe song: “Don’t walk in front of me...”
    – DonielF
    Commented Jun 4, 2018 at 17:29

3 Answers 3


Although the English formulation is Matthew Henry's, the idea seems to have been borrowed from ancient Jewish sources, e.g., Devarim Rabbah:

א"ר יהושע דסכנין כשבא הקב"ה לבראת חוה היה מתבונן מהיכן לבראת אותה, דכתי' ויבן ה' אלהים את הצלע, אמ' הקב"ה לא אברא אותה מן הראש שלא תהא זוקפת ראשה, ולא מן העין שלא תהא עינה רמה, ולא מן האוזן שלא תהא צייתנית, ולא מן הפה שלא תהא דברנית, ולא מן היד שלא תהא גונבת, ולא מן הרגל שלא תהא רגלה פורסת, ומאיכן ברא אותה, מאבר הצנוע שיש באדם, מן הצלע

Said R. Joshua of Sakinin, when God sought to create Eve, He pondered from where to create her...He said, I will not create her from the head, so that she not erect her head [i.e., rebel], not from the eye, so that she not have haughty eyes, not from the ear, so that she not be overly obedient, not from the mouth, so that she not be overly loquacious, not from the hand, so that she not steal...From where shall I create her, from the rib, the most modest of man's limbs...

However, it seems that the more direct source for this interpretation is the Abarbanel's commentary, cited by R. Ari Zivotofsky:

In describing the account, Abarbanel states that Chava was not created from Adam’s foot so that he would not consider her a lowly maidservant, nor from his head so that she would lord over him. Rather, she was created from his side so that she would be equal to him.

In the original Hebrew:

והנה לא ברא את האשה מן הרגלים שהוא החלק היותר שפל כדי שלא תהא בעיניו כשפחה ולא בראה מן הראש כדי שלא תהא בעיניה כגברת הבית אבל בראה מן הצלע שבאמצע הגוף לשתהי' בבית כמותו.

This precedes Matthew Henry by a number of centuries.

[According to Shnayer Leiman, "Abarbanel's sphere of influence was not limited to Jewish circles; his commentaries exercised a lasting influence on the Christian world as well. Most of Abarbanel's commentaries were translated into Latin. There were numerous Christian admirers and many who opposed his theological views, but all perused his writings diligently."]

  • 2
    Was it borrowed from there? There's not much in common except for explaining why the rib is symbolically better than other places. Do we know if Matthew Henry studied rabbinic literature, for instance?
    – Double AA
    Commented Jan 31, 2017 at 17:50
  • did you specifically skip the line about why she wasn't created from the foot?
    – user6591
    Commented Jan 31, 2017 at 19:21
  • @user6591 yes, b/c I wasn't sure how to translate it
    – wfb
    Commented Jan 31, 2017 at 20:03
  • In light of Double's comment it might make a difference.
    – user6591
    Commented Jan 31, 2017 at 20:10
  • 2
    @IsaacKotlicky in fact, Henry's predecessor Matthew Poole, whose work was recommended by Henry, cites Abarbanel on some occasions. On this verse, Poole's interpretation seems to have been drawn directly from Abarbanel (without citation) biblehub.com/commentaries/poole/genesis/2.htm
    – wfb
    Commented Feb 1, 2017 at 18:10

The words are from Matthew Henry's commentary on Genesis. Matthew Henry is a Christian commentator who wrote the Exposition of the Old and New Testaments.

See here.


This is not in the Talmud. It is a quote by Matthew Henry, see point 4 here.

  • This answer was posted on another copy of this question and merged hither. Commented Feb 5, 2017 at 1:14
  • @MonicaCellio I know, I answered this before that happened on the other site
    – depperm
    Commented Feb 5, 2017 at 13:04

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .