We have four instances where the fifth rib is mentioned in the Bible. Each of these have to do with the despatch of one person by another. The dispatched person was struck “under the fifth rib” and expired rapidly. Why the fifth rib? The encyclopedia in describing the heart uses as part of that description this: “the apex [of the heart] touches the chest wall between the fifth and sixth ribs.” Apex is the highest point. So the fifth rib would be the most vulnerable point of entry into the heart.

The heart of man is often used figuratively as the seat of the emotions. It “grieves, gladdens, sorrows, loves, rejoices, fears, etc.” God, in the creative mode, seeing that it was not good for the man to be alone, determines to make a mate who would be an appropriate helper. He would make this helper to be one whom, not only Adam, but all male humankind would draw her close to him as the love of his heart. So, God opened Adam’s side and took a rib and made woman. It is logical to assume that God opened his side at the fifth rib; the apex of the heart; that which is the nearest part of the heart to mankind. Just as life was taken from man at the fifth rib, so life was created for woman at the fifth rib.

Woman became a vital factor in the live of man so Adam makes the declaration, “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh” (Genesis 2:23-24; Matthew 19:5-6). Just as surely as God joined Adam and Eve back yonder so that it is said, “they shall be one flesh,” even so when today, man chooses a certain woman as the love of his life and so declares it, in some recognizable way, to the world, God joins them together and they become “one flesh.” When God joins them together, man [the man involved in the relationship or any other man] does not have the right nor the power to put asunder. So, even though he may give her a bill of divorcement, she is still his wife until God severs the relationship and he will do this only on the grounds of sexual unfaithfulness. What God joins only God can “unjoin.”

Return to Daily Devotionals