The first reading is from Chapter Two of the Bible. It is useful for demonstrating the way the Bible became a written document. Between 587 and 530 B.C. the population of Jerusalem were captives in Babylon, and while there they were able to join the Babylonians in their national festival.
That festival was called the Enuma Elish, and for two weeks even the captive Jews took off work to take part in the Babylonian creation myth. It began with people dressed in blue and green who acted out a ravaging flood between the Tigris and Euphrates. What caught the attention of the Jews was that through pantomiming of the myth that priests kept reading aloud from their written account of the myth.
Now, up to then the Jews hadn’t done any writing, but what the Babylonians were doing gave them the idea of putting their far superior creation stories into writing. For that they called in the priests and the court story tellers who had kept an oral Bible alive for centuries.
Today’s account of the creation of the woman was one that the story tellers used with little children. Now, the children knew that their names were chosen by the parents they belonged to, so they saw that by letting the man name the animals God was saying that the animals belonged to humans..
Next came the part that the children loved. God brought the animals one by one before the man to see which one he wanted to marry. “How about this monkey?” and the man said, “No, no no.” So, “What about the giraffe? Great for necking.”
“No, no no.”
The idea in going with the rib was that the word for rib and the word for life were practically the same. The best part of the story is what the man said when he saw the first woman. He shouted “This one. This one!”