Who is the Helper?

by Susan King

The helper is not who you think it is!!  Tradition has taught us that woman was created by God to be mans helper.  Since she was a helper rather than being created equal in all respects, this demonstrates Gods divine plan for man to have some level authority over woman. The proponents of male-only leadership have relied heavily upon the creation verses in Genesis chapter two, declaring that she was to be a helper suitable or a help meet for him.[i] Meaning, she was created to be an adequate or fitting assistant. But that is not what happened in the Garden. We have been misinformed.

If She is the Helper then He is the Boss!

Genesis chapter one is a chronological account of creation. On day one God creates time, separating the day from the night.[ii] The repeating phrases of morning and evening the first day, second day, and so forth, speak clearly to the fact that these are chronological, twenty-four hour periods. On day six God creates all the animals and both humans. God then gives dominion over the earth to both male and female who bear Their image.[iii] By the close of day six, creation is totally complete, and God rests on the seventh day. In Genesis chapter two, we move beyond the magnified, chronological view of creation and look through a microscope at day six. It is in this section of scripture where the male-only leadership view found its birth.

 

On day six God begins by creating the first human, literally the adam.[iv] Adam is the Hebrew word for human even though it is usually translated man. However, the word adam is not man as in male person. It is a generic word meaning person or human being. Although there is no evidence to support that this first human was a genderless being, there is no mention of this adams sex until the woman is also created. Then there are two adams (two humans): a man, as in male person (ish),[v] and a woman (ishshah).[vi] However, at the beginning of day six, God had created only one adam.  This adam takes the time to name all the tame animals, all the wild animals and even the birds of the air. Finally he is put to sleep, undergoes surgery, has a side removed (not rib!)[vii] and is closed back up. God then takes that side of adam and creates another adam, the woman. This is one busy day!

 

It is here, in this detailed account of the creation of man and woman, where the notion of male supremacy is rooted. Traditionalists believe that since God created man first and that woman was simply to be his helper, this proves that the male gender has a divine right to have authority over women. Some well-known complementarians assert: the Bible teaches that only men should be pastors and elders. That is, men should bear the primary responsibility for Christ-like leadership and teaching in the church. So it is unbiblical, we believe, and therefore detrimental, for women to assume this role.[viii] Another author from the same venue states that men and women may be equal in their humanity, but they are not in fact equal. He says, The paradox is this: God created male and female in His image equally, but He also made the male the head and the female the helper.[ix] He goes on to say that the very fact that God created human beings in dual modality of male and female cautions us against an unqualified equation of the two sexes.[x] Does it? Only if one has a pre-determined point of view that reads into the creation account meaning that is not present.

 

For example, these same complementarians place a great deal of emphasis upon the idea that woman was created to be mans helper, or as they claim -- an assistant. They view creation like this: Since man was alone and that was not good, God parades the animals in front of him to see what he would call them. Yet in passing through helpful animals to woman, God teaches us that the woman is a mans helper in the sense of a loyal and suitable assistant in the life of the garden.[xi] Certainly, if God made the man boss and the woman just an assistant, then the man should have authority over the woman like any other boss would have over their helpers. Yes indeed -- if she is the helper then he is the boss! However, that is not what happened in the Garden.

Not Created to be Mans Helper?

To fully understand what God is doing on day six of creation, one must examine exactly what is actually recorded: "And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man [adam] should be alone; I will make him a help meet for him" (Gen. 2:18, KJV). Other translations say, a helper suitable for him. At first glance that appears to be exactly as the traditionalists assert. She is a helper suitable in English. How easy it is to see why people believe what they do. However, in studying these Hebrew terms, one will see that she was not an assistant but one of equal status with the man. In fact, the word for help here should not even be applied to the woman at all! This is a radically new revelation and a rather bold one at that. She was not created to be a helper? Not even a grand helper with power and strength? Nope, that is where the enemy has slipped in to twist the interpretation of Gods Word. 

For centuries upon centuries people have believed that the woman was created to be mans helper. But that is not what happened in the Garden. Presenting a rather academic Bible study and examining carefully this word for help will clarify the truth. And, before defining what this help really is,  one must take a look at what it is not.

The word translated helper in this verse is the Hebrew word ezer.[xii] Several very interesting facts come to light when studying this word. First of all, the best word for helper or assistant in Hebrew is not ezer, but rather a similar word azar.[xiii] Azar is used eighty-two times in the Old Testament and means to help, assist, or give aid. So, if God wanted to convey that she was a regular helper or assistant that would have been the best choice. But this is not the word used in the Genesis account. God did not use azar. God used ezer something far more significant.

Now, if God had wanted to say that she was more like a servant-helper, the Hebrew word ebed would have been used.[xiv] That would have been the most common expression, for in Old Testament language servant was used far more frequently than helper or assistant. In fact, the English word helper is only used a dozen times in the Old Testament, and the word assistant does not appear at all. However, the word servant(s) appears nearly a thousand times!  Most of which come from this Hebrew word ebed.  This is the word used to convey the meaning of a helper as being someone lower in status than the other. Ebed can even refer to great people such as Moses when they are helping one greater than themselves, e.g. Moses was the Lords servant.  Additionally, this word has such a wide range of use that it can even be applied to someone of equal or greater status humbling themselves in service to others. But this is not the word used in the Genesis account. God did not use ebed.  God used ezer something far more significant.

Okay, one more. How about the Hebrew word that implies a high-ranking assistant, like Elisha was to Elijah or like Joshua was to Moses. That would have been the Hebrew word sharath,[xv] which means to serve or to minister but denotes a high level of service. That one would have been perfect for the woman if she were second-in-command of the earth. But God did not choose the word for high-ranking assistant. God did not use sharath. God used ezer something far more significant.

God did not choose any of the help-words that would convey the meaning of a servant or one helping from a lower position. The Lord did not even choose a word that meant a high-ranking assistant with one serving from a high-level position.  These facts demonstrate what ezer is not.  The next step is to find out what ezer is. 

Aside from these two times in Genesis, ezer is only used nineteen other times in the Old Testament. Gods use of this word teaches something truly remarkable. A careful study of every verse with ezer was used to determine what this important word meant. Egalitarians assert that this word was almost always used as one who brought help from a position of superior strength or rank. That is close, but that is not exactly correct.  What the Lord revealed was even more remarkable than that. In fact, it will revolutionize the way one views this word in Genesis.

At the end of this article there is a thorough study of the Hebrew word ezer. It includes all nineteen verses along with study notes where applicable. Although very academic in nature, it will prove what this article is about to claim. A slow reading through these verses will actually reveal another attribute of God.

 

In sixteen of the nineteen times this special word is used, ezer is obviously coming from the Lord Himself e.g., O God: thou art my help and my deliverer and But in Me is thine help (Ps. 70:5 and Hos. 13:9). The name Eliezer actually means God is help.[xvi] Sixteen out of nineteen times ezer is used, clearly it is either the Lord being or bringing the help. In the other three verses: 1) ezer is something that even royalty and powerful men cannot provide;[xvii] 2) ezer can be withdrawn in times of judgment;[xviii] or 3) ezer can be limited in times of testing and purification.[xix] No human can do this. Ezer is clearly divine in nature. Let that sink in moment. Ezer can never be attributed to a person for it is divine.

 

Remarkably, in every one of these verses God is announcing that He is the help. In nearly 85% of the verses (16 out of 19), ezer comes directly from the Lord without a shadow of a doubt. Then to confirm that it can come from nowhere else, God demonstrates in the other three verses that no other human, despite being all-powerful in human terms, can provide this divine help. In fact, trying to do so brought them shame and a reproach. God can remove ezer in times of judgment or withhold some of it for periods of testing and cleansing.

 

There is not one single verse where ezer is successfully applied to anyone other than the Lord God. Ezer clearly is never a servant, helper or assistant at any level. To have placed that label on the woman in the garden violates the intent and the extreme superiority of this divine help over any human help. Many scholars have recognized that ezer was help coming from a superior or from a position of strength, but that does not apply to the woman for she was not the mans superior; she was his equal. The only superior this help comes from is the Lord God Almighty. 

 

Since ezer can only be successfully applied in reference to God, it should not be applied to the woman at all. In fact, it should not be ascribed to any human being no matter how grand their position. That is the difference between the usages of this Hebrew word in the Old Testament as compared to all the other Hebrew words used for help. Ezer can only come from God! Tradition has taken this glorious, God-honoring term and assumed it was applied to her. God being our Help in Hebrew is similar to the New Testament usage of the Greek word parakletos, which is always used in reference to God as our Helper.[xx]

 

If ezer comes only from God, then clearly the woman was not a helper at any level. Forgive the repetition, but this concept is so new and so foreign to the traditional understanding of the womans creation it bears repeating: The help in the Garden came from the Lord not the woman!  Her creation solved adams aloneness; the help came from the Lord. God was the one bringing the help. The entire text has been misunderstood.  This is an important point, so if there are any questions regarding ezer, please take a look at the study at the end of this article before moving forward in this discussion.

If She is Not the Helper Then What did God Make?

In the past, translators have simply incorporated the traditional view of womans creation; it was taken for granted. Recent scholars have questioned this. However, without this revelation on ezer, there has not been much headway.  One valiant scholar from the 
Ancient Hebrew Research Center said in commenting about Genesis 2:18, Personally I think there is much more going on here but am not sure what it is yet. [xxi] When looking at the translated words I will make him a help meet for him (KJV) or I will make him a helper suitable for him (NASBand NIV), several things do not quite fit. In Hebrew the sentence is: e'eseh lo ezer kenegdo. Dissecting this sentence will illuminate exactly what God made in the Garden.

The Hebrew word for make is eseh or asah; spelled differently in different sources but both are clearly the same word.[xxii] This is a very common verb, and in fact it was already used eleven other times in the creation account before we get to this verse in Genesis 2:18. Basically it means to work, labor, make, build, accomplish, acquire, fulfill, etc.  It often means to create, but not out of nothing (ex nihilo) like bara.[xxiii] In the beginning, when God created the heavens and earth, that was bara out of nothing. Bara is another word that can only be attributed to God, for only God can create out of nothing. However, the word eseh means there was something there to start with. It is also a qual imperfect verb, which means the action is not yet complete or will take place in the future. So will make would be a good way to convey that in English. This word in Genesis 2:18 also has a prefixed preposition (e') and a pronominal suffix (lo) attached to it. So one could translate e'eseh lo as I will make for.

Next, Gods help (ezer) must be added to the phrase: e'eseh lo ezer. There is not an article attached to the word help. Therefore it should not be translated a help or the help but just help by itself. However, the translators had a preconceived idea that the woman was to be the helper; therefore they added the article a. Adding an article for clarity is not a problem. However, given the new understanding of ezer, it would not be appropriate to add one here.

So far, the translation of e'eseh lo ezer looks like: I will make for help.  We are just about done. One more word: suitable, meet neged,[xxiv] which means front, front part, to face, before, in front of, corresponding to, counterpart, or mirror image. Since a mirrors reflection is backward, this word began to carry with it (particularly in mid-evil times) the meaning of opposite. This word really does not mean suitable or meet. It does not mean fitting, adequate or agreeable as the English terms imply. It means facing, counterpart, corresponding, or mirror image. In this verse neged has attached to it the prefix ke (which indicates likeness) and the suffix o (a third person singular pronoun). Putting them together gives you the word kenedego, which literally means like facing him or like corresponding to him or like mirror image of him or like counterpart of him. 

With all the Hebrew words put together, e'eseh lo ezer kenegdo, Genesis 2:18 looks something like this: I will make for help like counterpart of him.  Meaning, I will make for help a counterpart of him in his likeness. Or better still, I will make for help a mirror image of him.

This may seem quite elementary, but what God created was simply a counterpart of adam. She was not a helper but rather a reflection of adam. She was female, so she was not exact in anatomy but she was clearly neged corresponding to adam. However, because of the male dominant view of creation we have missed such an easy interpretation. Nowhere in these verses do we see her as being anything less than adam, nor do we see her being created to be an assistant to the man. Many sermons have been preached that taught she was needed to help name millions of species of animals. But scripture is clear: adam had finished that job before God ever put him to sleep. Adam did not need human assistance. God helped the adams aloneness. Literally here aloneness means separation like a part of the body being without the rest. It was not that the adam was lonely. The adam had only been alive several hours and was kept busy naming the animals. This adam had to have noticed that each animal had a counterpart, but there was no other adam. In fact, that is the most logical reason God took the time to do that prior to bringing forth the woman. He was not being shown the animals to find a suitable assistant; -- he was being taught that all the living creatures come in pairs.

Adam was not having a staffing problem.  Rather, the problem was that this adam was incomplete, separated from his counterpart. God helped by doing what no animal and no person could ever do. The Helper drew out part of adam and made another adam; now there were male and female. Before there was only one adam alone, and that was not good. Ezer took a side from one and made another adam to be a counterpart. Male and female created he them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created (Gen. 5:2).

This is a picture of likeness and unity not of female subordination or inferiority. While God was forming the adam from the dust of the earth, something of the female was already inside him.  So when it came time a few hours later to make the female, God did not need to start with a new batch of dirt.  He was still working with His original plan A -- the woman was not a second-thought or a plan-B. 

He did not give the adam a to-do list for running for earth and then wait until he screamed for helpers.  No.  He did not create the woman to be mans helper. She is not the assistant, and he is not the boss! Calling them both Adam, giving them both dominion, and building her from his side places the emphasis on their likeness and unity. It does not focus on their differences nor does it ascribe to the man a divine right to rule over the woman. Separation and domination began at the fall and is part of the satanic curse. It was after the fall that the man-adam changed the womans name to Eve.  God called them both Adam, but now after the fall he was Adam and she was Eve. The emphasis became focused on their differences rather than on their unity and oneness. Separation and domination were not part of Gods perfect design from the beginning -- they originate with the fall.

What happened in the Garden was this: man and woman were created to be one flesh.[xxv] From one flesh -- from one body they became two, but they were to stay united together as one. True unity and oneness will never take place so long as one party believes they have a divine right to rule over the other. True unity and oneness will never take place so long as one adam believes another adam should be under them -- no matter how benevolent the premise for doing so. With Gods help, with ezer, this true unity and oneness will become a reality once again. God began this process through Jesus teachings to esteem others as higher than yourself --  to not seek a place of prominence --and to dwell in mutual, reciprocal servanthood.

Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil and to restore all that was lost in the fall. Potentially, half of Gods army has been held under a false restraint. As the church, we are still appropriating all that Jesus accomplished through the cross and resurrection. We are still in progress. Thankfully through many revelations like these, our Helper -- the Holy Spirit -- is removing our domination over one another. Historically, dominion and authority have been misdirected. With Ezers help, dominion over the enemy and over all the earth (including the biological realm) will become an ever-increasing reality. Jesus paid the price and paved the way.  It is time for His counterpart His Bride, the Church, to take dominion and wield her authority against the enemies of the Kingdom rather than against her own flesh.

Study of Ezer

Help that Only Comes from the Lord

 In order to determine how ezer should be used in the Genesis account, the following examines every other time it is used in scripture. In most verses, it is blatantly clear that ezer is actually an attribute of God and/or something that came directly from the Lord. There are only a couple of verses that require much discussion. What is learned from these discussions is quite remarkable. Even the Biblical name Eliezer is very telling. The name itself contains El, which means God, and ezer, which means help (El i ezer).  The name Eliezer literally means: God is help or God of help. 

There are nineteen times this word is found in the Old Testament, other than the two verses in question in Genesis chapter two.[xxvi]  In every case it is translated help, and each translation of the word ezer is italicized below. The following King James Version scriptures are in biblical order.

1) Exodus 18:4, And the name of the other was Eliezer; for the God of my father, said he, was mine help, and delivered me from the sword of Pharaoh.  -- God was his help.

2) Deuteronomy 33:7, Hear, Lord, the voice of Judah be thou a help to him from his enemies. -- Asking the Lord to be his help.

3) Deuteronomy 33:26, There is none like unto God of Jeshurun, who rideth upon the heaven in thy help, and his excellency on the sky. The translators added the preposition in to this sentence, but there is no preposition here in the Hebrew. -- God is his help.

4) Deuteronomy 33:29, Happy art thou, O Israel: who is like unto thee, O people saved by the Lord, the shield of thy help, and who is the sword of thy excellency!... The translators added the preposition of to this sentence, but there is no preposition here in the Hebrew.  -- The Lord is their help.

5) Psalm 20:1-2, The Lord hear thee in the day of trouble; the name of the God of Jacob defend thee; Send thee help from the sanctuary, and strengthen thee out of Zion. -- Asking the Lord to send help.

6) Psalm 33:20, Our soul waiteth for the Lord; He is our help and our shield.  -- The Lord is their help.

7) Psalm 70:5, But I am poor and needy: make haste unto me, O God: thou art my help and my deliverer; O Lord, make no tarrying. The Lord is his help.

8) Psalm 89:19, Then thou spakest in vision to thy holy one, and saidst, I have laid help upon one that is mighty; I have exalted one chosen out of the people. The Lord laid help upon him.

9) Psalm 115:9, O Israel, trust in the Lord: he is their help and their shield. The Lord is their help.

10) Psalm 115:10, O house of Aaron, trust in the Lord: he is their help and their shield. The Lord is their help.

11) Psalm 115:11, Ye that fear the Lord, trust in the Lord: he is their help and their shield. The Lord is their help.

12) Psalm 121:1, I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. The psalmist looks to the Lord for help.

13) Psalm 121:2, My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth. The psalmists help comes from the Lord.

14) Psalm 124:8, Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth. Their help is in the Lord.

15) Psalm 146:5, Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God.  The translators added the preposition for to this sentence, but there is no preposition here in the Hebrew. The Lord is his help.

**That is fifteen in a row where ezer is clearly, without a shadow of a doubt,  an attribute of God; or the ezer is coming from Him alone. Now for a few more difficult ones:

16) Isaiah 30:5 -- God is saying that His children did not ask for His help, rather they looked to the rulers of men. The princes and ambassadors of Pharaoh could not deliver ezer. This supports the premise that ezer can only come from God. Here even royalty and powerful people are unable to provide the kind of help that can only come from God. By even trying to do so, these powerful men brought shame and a reproach. Verses 1-5 to provide the context; verse 5 contains the word ezer.

1 Woe to the rebellious children, saith the Lord, that take counsel, but not of me; and that cover with a covering, but not of my spirit, that they may add sin to sin: 2 That walk to go down into Egypt, and have not asked at my mouth; to strengthen themselves in the strength of Pharaoh, and to trust in the shadow of Egypt! 3 Therefore shall the strength of Pharaoh be your shame, and the trust in the shadow of Egypt your confusion. 4 For his princes were at Zoan, and his ambassadors came to Hanes. 5 There were all ashamed of a people that could not profit them, nor be a help nor profit, but a shame, and also a reproach.

17) Ezekiel 12:14: The Lords glory has departed from the temple. God has condemned Jerusalem but promises future restoration. Now the Israelites are being taken captive as part of Gods judgment. Since this is the most difficult one grammatically to understand, the surrounding verses must be examined. Ezekiel 12:10-16 for context; verse 14 contains the word ezer:

10 Say thou unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; This burden concerneth the prince in Jerusalem, and all the house of Israel that are among them. 11 Say, I am your sign: like as I have done, so shall it be done unto them: they shall remove and go into captivity. 12 And the prince that is among them shall bear upon his shoulder in the twilight, and shall go forth: they shall dig through the wall to carry out thereby: he shall cover his face, that he see not the ground with his eyes.  13 My net also will I spread upon him, and he shall be taken in my snare: and I will bring him to Babylon to the land of the Chaldeans; yet shall he not see it, though he shall die there.  14 And I will scatter toward every wind all that are about him to help him, and all his bands; and I will draw out the sword after them. 15 And they shall know that I am the LORD, when I shall scatter them among the nations, and disperse them in the countries. 16 But I will leave a few men of them from the sword, from the famine, and from the pestilence; that they may declare all their abominations among the heathen whither they come; and they shall know that I am the LORD.

After studying the words carefully in verse 14, it does not exactly say He would scatter toward every wind. The word wind is ruwach[xxvii] and could also be translated breath or spirit. In fact, spirit is the most common translation of this word. So, it could possibly be Gods Spirit or Breath that is being removed, scattered or diffused. Even if wind is the proper rendition, the translation of wind often carries with it the presence of God. As part of the definition of ruwach, Strongs includes this statement in reference to wind: It is clear that the wind is regarded in scripture as a fitting emblem of the mighty penetrating power of the invisible God.

The real question, of course, comes with the word help in verse 14. Ezer is always used as a noun, and in this case it also has a pronominal suffix. So it could be his help, my help, help him, help me, etc. Grammatically it is plausible for it to be Gods help, but it is not as clear as it is in the prior sixteen verses. However, the context makes up for the grammatical ambiguity.

If this help was from coming from those around the prince rather than from the Lord then why add the phrase and all his bands? The word bands is defined as crowds of troops or those covering him. Therefore, the sentence would be redundant. It would in effect be saying, Scatter all those who help him and his crowd of helpers. Grammatically, it is not perfectly clear, but in context it can easily be argued that this help is different from that of his bands. From the context it is also evident that the Lords removal of help is for the purpose of bringing judgment. So, that would again confirm ezer being help that comes from the Lord. When God brings judgment, this divine help no longer rests on the chosen people; it is removed.

18) Daniel 11:34 In this verse ezer is being restrained for a period of testing and purifying. Interestingly, this verse also contains the use of the normal word for help (azar), along with this special word (ezer), as noted below. Only God can restrain help for the purpose of testing and purification. Again, this fact clearly points to ezer being only from God. Daniel 11:32-35 for context; verse 34 contains the word ezer:

32 And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries: but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits. 33 And they that understand among the people shall instruct many: yet they shall fall by the sword, and by flame, by captivity, and by spoil, many days.  34 Now when they shall fall, they shall be helped (azar) with a little help (ezer): but many shall cleave to them with flatteries. 35 And some of them of understanding shall fall, to try them, and to purge, and to make them white, even to the time of the end: because it is yet for a time appointed.

And last, but not least:

19) Hosea 13:9, the Lord is speaking: O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself; but in Me is thine help. So, ezer is found in the Lord.

Summary

So to summarize, in sixteen of the nineteen verses that contain ezer, this help is obviously coming from the Lord.  In the other three verses:  1) ezer is something that even royalty and powerful men cannot provide; 2) ezer can be withdrawn in times of judgment; or 3) ezer can be limited in times of testing and purification.  No human can do this.  Ezer is clearly divine in nature.

There is not one single verse where ezer is anyone other than the Lord Himself being, or being able to bring, the help.  It clearly is never a helper, servant, or assistant.  To have placed that label on the woman in the Garden violates the intent and the extreme superiority of this help over any human help.  The woman was not to be the ezer.  In fact, no human can be or supply this kind of help, and therefore it should not be applied to any person.  That is the difference between this Hebrew word for help in the Old Testament and all the others.  

Tradition has taken this glorious, God-honoring term and assumed it was applied to the woman rather than to our creator, Elohim, or in this case, Eliezer -- God of help.  How awesome to discover another attribute of God!  God is Help.  Getting a handle on this is much like getting a handle on love as an attribute of God.  It is not just that God loves -- God is love.  It is not just that God helps -- God is help.  God is Ezer!

You can contact Susan King at susan.king22@yahoo.com.

Endnotes

All scripture references are taken from the King James Version (KJV) unless otherwise noted.  Strongs reference numbers refer to The New Strongs Expanded Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2001).

[i] The New American Standard Bible (NASB) and the New International Version (NIV) both render Genesis 2:18, Then the LORD God said, It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him." KJV translates it, I will make him a help meet for him.

[ii] In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day. (Gen. 1:1-5)  The sun and moon were not created until day four, so what God created on day one was time. Therefore, a literal six day creation is what is meant by the repeating phrases, morning and evening, the third day, fourth day, etc.  Man and woman were both created in the same day. So there are only a few hours of aloneness before woman too was created. Adam was kept busy naming all the animals, so it is not that he was lonely or bored.

[iii] Use of the plural, possessive pronoun Their is justified considering Gods emphasis on the plurality of the Godhead during the creation of male and female. Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness (Gen. 1:26). The plurality and oneness of adam were designed to reflect the plurality and oneness of God. Twice in the creation account God declares dominion is given to both male and female: Genesis 1 vv. 26 and 28.

[iv] The Hebrew word for a human being is adam, also spelled adham (Strongs #120).  It is a generic word for a person or persons without respect to gender.  It is similar to anthropos in Greek (Strongs #444) or enash in Aramaic (Strongs #606); both refer to mankind without respect to gender.  They do not mean male even though often translated man in English.  

[v] The Hebrew word for man as in a male person is ish (Strongs #376), and is similar to the Greek word for a male person, aner (Strongs #435).  This is a man as distinguished from a woman.  This word is not used in Genesis until woman is also created.  After her creation, there is not just adam (human without regard to gender) -- there is man (ish) and woman (ishshah see below). The Hebrew word for male, whether animal or human, is zakar (Strongs #2145).

[vi] The Hebrew word for woman, as in a female person, is ishshah (Strongs #802).  Note the similarity between the words for man (ish) and woman (ishshah). And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman [ishshah], because she was taken out of Man [ish] (Gen. 2:23). That was the first time man as in male person is used in scripture. However, the focus was their likeness and unity not their difference, and certainly no hierarchical order is stated or implied. God had previously referred to her as a woman in v. 22, so adam was not ascribing a name to her like the animals. The Hebrew word for female, whether animal or human, is neqebah (Strongs #5347).

[vii] And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon [the adam], and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from [the adam], made he a woman, and brought her unto the [adam] (Gen. 2:21-22, brackets literal). The Hebrew word translated rib is tsela (Strongs #6763), which means side or side chamber. It does not mean rib.  It does carry with it the idea of being curved, which is where the notion of rib probably originated.  Her anatomy as compared to his probably has more to do with curves than what physical section of adam was removed.  Men do not have one less rib than women, but women usually have more curves then men.

[viii] John Piper and Wayne Grudem, eds., Recovering Biblical Manhood & Womanhood (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1991) 60-61.

[ix] Raymond C. Ortlund, Jr., Male-Female Equality and Male Headship, in Recovering Biblical Manhood & Womanhood, 99.

[x] Raymond C. Ortlund, Jr., Male-Female Equality and Male Headship, 99.

[xi] Piper and Grudem, Recovering Biblical Manhood & Womanhood, 87.

[xii] Sparsely used Hebrew noun for help.  Ezer (Strongs #5828) is used twenty-one times in the Old Testament. Strongs indicates that this word is translated help in every case except the creation account. This article establishes that ezer always refers to help coming from God.

[xiii] The most common Hebrew word for help is azar (Strongs #5826) and is used eighty-two times in the Old Testament. It basically means to help, assist, or give aid.

[xiv] The Hebrew word for a servant is ebed (Strongs #5650). This is an extremely common word, appearing eight hundred times in the Old Testament. The English use of the word servant(s) appears 970 times, most of which come from this word ebed.

[xv] Another Hebrew word for servant or minister is sharath (Strongs #8334). This word appears ninety-seven times in the Old Testament.  Sixty of those times it is used to refer to one worshipping or rendering service unto the Lord. The rest of the cases have to do with rendering service to a person rather than to God.  However, the person being served is one of high rank or authority, and the person rendering the service is never a slave or person of low status.  It is an official or high-ranking person rendering service to another in an even higher position.

[xvi] The name Eliezer (Strongs #461) contains El, which means God, and ezer, which means help  (El i ezer).  The name literally means: God is help or God of help.

[xvii] Isaiah 30:5. See paragraph numbered 16 in the Study of Ezer above.

[xviii] Ezekiel 12:14. See paragraph numbered 17 in the Study of Ezer above.  

[xix] Daniel 11:34. See paragraph numbered 18 in the Study of Ezer above.

[xx] Greek word used for helper when referring to God as ones Helper: Parakletos (Strongs #3875).  New Testament applications: John 14:16, 26; 15:26; 16:7; 1 John 2:1.

[xxi] Jeff A. Benner, founder of the Ancient Hebrew Research Center (www.ancient-hebrew.org), as quoted in an on-line response to a question on Genesis 2:18, http://loverofdolphins.blogspot.com/2007_04_01_archive.html (accessed October 2007).

[xxii] The Hebrew word asah (Strongs #6213) is used 2633 times in the Old Testament with a wide range of applications, basically meaning to do or make in a broad sense.

[xxiii] The Hebrew word bara (Strongs #1254) means to create out of nothing, something only God can do. This is another example of a Hebrew word that is only used when referring to God.

[xxiv] The Hebrew word neged (Strongs #5048) means the object is before something or someone. In various applications it means front, front part, to face, before, in front of, corresponding to, counterpart, or mirror image. Since a mirrors reflection is backward, this word began to carry with it (particularly in mid-evil times) the meaning of opposite.

[xxv] And [the 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. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his [woman]: and they shall be one flesh (Gen. 2:23-24, brackets literal).  The word flesh is the Hebrew word basar (Strongs #1320).  It means flesh, body, blood-relation.  Its primary meaning is the outside of an individual; ones body as opposed to ones heart.  The two adams came from one body and were to stay united as one body.  That cannot happen if one adam thinks the other adam should be under, no matter how benevolent the premise for doing so.

[xxvi] The two verses in question are Genesis 2:18 and 2:20. And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him (Gen. 2:18). 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 (Gen. 2:20).

[xxvii] The Hebrew word ruwach (Strongs #7307) is used 378 times in the Old Testament.  Two hundred thirty-two times (61%) it is translated spirit. Ninety-two times (24%) it is translated wind. Twenty-seven times (7%) it is translated breath.  Even the translation of wind often carries with it the presence of God.  Strongs states, It is clear that the wind is regarded in scripture as a fitting emblem of the mighty penetrating power of the invisible God. (Strongs, p. 259)