Matthew Henry on Gen 1.21

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jambo

Puritan Board Senior
Adam was first formed, then Eve (1 Tim 2.13). If man is the head, she is the crown, a crown to her husband, the crown of the visible creation. The man was dust refined, but the woman was dust double-refined, one removed further from the earth...that 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.
 

A5pointer

Puritan Board Sophomore
This is reading too much into the text. If there is any doubt, Paul is clear in Ephesians on the proper hierarchy.
 

py3ak

Unshaven and anonymous
Staff member
I think it would be quite a stretch to think that Matthew Henry was not clear on the proper role of authority between a husband and a wife. Consider this from the commentary on Ephesians 5:22

The duty prescribed to wives is submission to their husbands in the Lord (v. 22), which submission includes the honouring and obeying of them, and that from a principle of love to them. They must do this in compliance with God's authority, who has commanded it, which is doing it as unto the Lord; or it may be understood by way of similitude and likeness, so that the sense may be, “as, being devoted to God, you submit yourselves unto him.” From the former sense we may learn that by a conscientious discharge of the duties we owe to our fellow-creatures we obey and please God himself; and, from the latter, that God not only requires and insists on those duties which immediately respect himself, but such as respect our neighbours too. The apostle assigns the reason of this submission from wives: For the husband is the head of the wife, v. 23. The metaphor is taken from the head in the natural body, which, being the seat of reason, of wisdom, and of knowledge, and the fountain of sense and motion, is more excellent than the rest of the body. God has given the man the pre-eminence and a right to direct and govern by creation, and in that original law of the relation, Thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. Whatever there is of uneasiness in this, it is an effect of sin coming into the world. Generally, too, the man has (what he ought to have) a superiority in wisdom and knowledge.
 

Presbyterian Deacon

Puritan Board Graduate
I think it would be quite a stretch to think that Matthew Henry was not clear on the proper role of authority between a husband and a wife. Consider this from the commentary on Ephesians 5:22

The duty prescribed to wives is submission to their husbands in the Lord (v. 22), which submission includes the honouring and obeying of them, and that from a principle of love to them. They must do this in compliance with God's authority, who has commanded it, which is doing it as unto the Lord; or it may be understood by way of similitude and likeness, so that the sense may be, “as, being devoted to God, you submit yourselves unto him.” From the former sense we may learn that by a conscientious discharge of the duties we owe to our fellow-creatures we obey and please God himself; and, from the latter, that God not only requires and insists on those duties which immediately respect himself, but such as respect our neighbours too. The apostle assigns the reason of this submission from wives: For the husband is the head of the wife, v. 23. The metaphor is taken from the head in the natural body, which, being the seat of reason, of wisdom, and of knowledge, and the fountain of sense and motion, is more excellent than the rest of the body. God has given the man the pre-eminence and a right to direct and govern by creation, and in that original law of the relation, Thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. Whatever there is of uneasiness in this, it is an effect of sin coming into the world. Generally, too, the man has (what he ought to have) a superiority in wisdom and knowledge.

:ditto: It seems to me, that Henry in Genesis was not trying to be overly theological. His commentary at this point seems more devotional than expositional. When the quote in the OP is read in its devotional context, it is a very moving and thought provoking sentiment.:2cents:
 

py3ak

Unshaven and anonymous
Staff member
Also, what other meaning is to be attached to God taking material for Eve from Adam's side rather than any other part of his body?
 

VirginiaHuguenot

Puritanboard Librarian
Matthew Henry's famous quote is a restatement of remark by Henry Smith published over a century before by Henry Smith in A Preparative to Marriage (1591):

To honour marriage more yet, or rather to teach the married how to honour one another, it is said that the wife was made of the husband's rib, Gen. ii.22; not of his head, for Paul calleth the husband the wife's head, Ephes. v. 23; not of the foot, for he must not set her at his foot. The servant is appointed to serve, and the wife to help. If she must not match with the head, nor stoop at the foot, where shall he set her then? He must set her at his heart, therefore she which should lie in his bosom was made in his bosom, and should be as close to him as his rib, of which she was fashioned. (Works of Henry Smith, Vol. 1, p. 8)
 

jambo

Puritan Board Senior
When I typed in the thread I was not thinking of any theological statement or any comment on the role of women. It was simply a quaint saying for husbands in their relationships with their wives.
 
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