And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon
Adam, and he slept
This was not a common and natural sleep that Adam fell into, occasioned by any weariness of the animal spirits, in viewing the creatures as they passed by him, and in examining them, and giving them suitable and proper names; but it was supernatural, and from the Lord, his power and providence, who caused it to fall upon him: it was not a drowsiness, nor a slumber, but a sound sleep: his senses were so locked up by it, that he perceived not anything that was done to him; and it seems to have been on purpose, that he might feel no pain, while the operation was made upon him, as well as that it might appear that he had no hand in the formation of the woman; and that he might be the more surprised at the sight of her, just awaking out of sleep, to see so lovely an object, so much like himself, and made out of himself, and in so short a time as while he was taking a comfortable nap: and he took one of his ribs;
with the flesh along with it: men have commonly, as anatomists F11 observe, twelve ribs on a side; it seems by this, that Adam had thirteen. The Targum of Jonathan is,
``and he took one of his ribs; that is, the thirteenth rib of his right side:''but our English poet F12 takes it to be one of the left side, and also a supernumerary one F13. God made an opening in him, and took it out, without putting him to any pain, and without any sensation of it: in what manner this was done we need not inquire; the power of God was sufficient to perform it; Adam was asleep when it was done, and saw it not, and the manner of the operation is not declared: and closed up the flesh instead thereof:
so that there was no opening left, nor any wound made, or a scar appeared, or any loss sustained, but what was made up by an increase of flesh, or by closing up the flesh; and that being hardened like another rib, and so answered the same purpose. (Adam probably had the same number of ribs as we do today. Otherwise the genetic code for creation of an extra rib would cause at least some people today to have thirteen ribs. I know of no such case. Also, we know that acquired characteristics cannot be passed on to the next generation. A man who loses both legs in an accident, usually has children who have two legs. Ed.)
F11 Bartholini Anatomia, l. 4. c. 17. p. 516. Vid. Scheuchzer. Physica Sacra, vol. 1. tab. 27. p. 28.
F12 Who stooping opened my left side, and took From thence a rib.--- Milton's Paradise Lost, B. 8. l. 465.
F13 Ib. B. 10. l. 887.