There were some interesting things in here that I had not put together before. In Hebrew, note that:
- "ground" and "earth" is Hebrew ''adamah". In particular it is a reddish, clay-like earth
- Hebrew "Adam" is of course "Adam"
- But "Man" also comes from the Hebrew "Adam." so "Man" and "Adam" are from the same word. Some translators say that "earth creature" would be the best translation for Hebrew "Adam" because he is a creat/ure from the earth.
- "Ish" is "Man" at the end of this section, which stands out from the surrounding chapters
- "Woman is "isshah"
And Isshah came from Ish/Adam.
You have this relationship:
Isshah is made from a small portion of Ish. Ish/Adam is made from a portion of Adamah. The Adamah will torment Adam/Ish and Issah, and they will return to the Adamah when they die. This makes an interesting interplay from ground to man to woman who obtain sustenance from the ground, and eventually return back to ground. There may be more relationships on this. If you think of any, let me know.
A land south-east of Israel is called Edom, which is basically the same word as Adam in Hebrew (ancient Hebrew didn't have explicit vowels, but is written with only the consonants). It is a land of reddish clay famous for it's pottery - hence it's name Edom.
Also of interest is that other Canaanite myths talk of the creation of man. They say that a god Kinglu was slain and another god Anu mixed the blood of the Kinglu with the dirt, creating a reddish clay, which he formed into mankind. Because of the god's blood, mankind came to life. They were created to serve the gods, because the lesser gods had become unruly and would not serve the gods very well. They hoped that man would do a better job.
I'm getting a head of the story here, but it turns out that man was so noisy, the gods could not sleep, so they devised a great flood to wipe out humans. The story goes on from here about one who is saved from the flood, etc...
A couple of other notes: Verse 23 is a poem, possibly from an older text. And notice verse 24. It seems out of place and may be a later addition inserted into the text providing explanation.
18 ¶ And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.19 And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.20 And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.21 And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;22 And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.23 And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.