How Some Men Totally Miss the True Meaning of the Biblical Word 'Helper'

God put men and women on this earth to complement each other, not for one to serve the other. (Photo by Pablo Heimplatz on Unsplash)

In today's modern culture, even among believers in Yeshua, there is a lot of discussion about the roles of men and women. With this in mind, I wanted to write a little bit about one of the least discussed and yet possibly the most important role that exists for both men and women.

Let's begin by looking at Genesis 2:18: "Then Adonai Elohim said, "It is not good for the man to be alone. Let Me make a well-matched helper for him."

While this verse is quite familiar to almost all believers, far too many base their understanding of this verse upon the story from their children's Bible instead of what the words in the text actually say. As a result, hasatan (the adversary) has been able to deceive men and women into being at odds with each other instead of being unified as G-D intended for them to be.

In verse 20, we find the word "helper," or something similar in English translations. The word in Hebrew is עזר, or ezer, which can correctly be translated as "helper" in a very superficial or surface way. But the deeper meaning of the word ezer brings much more clarity and understanding to the intention of the word and, by doing so, it limits the opportunities of misinterpreting its intent.

In our modern world, men have misapplied and misused this word ezer (helper) to subjugate women into subordinate roles in ways never intended. The result of this poor interpretation is the mindset of a woman's place being "barefoot and in the kitchen." This is totally contrary to G-D's description of the virtuous woman of Proverbs 31, which, by the way, would better be translated as "woman of valor," which adds even more weight to the point I am making in this blog.

The word ezer does imply helping, but it is more specific to what type of help. Let's look at some other verses in which this word appears. Exodus 18:4: "and the name of the other was Eliezer because he said, "For my father's God is my help, and delivered me from the sword of Pharaoh."

Notice Eliezer's name, which comes from the root word ezer, and means "G-D is my help." Why? Because He delivered me from the sword of Pharaoh.

Deuteronomy 33:7 says: "Now this is for Judah. He said, 'Hear, Adonai, the voice of Judah! Bring him to his people. His hands contended for him, so You will be a help against his foes.'

Here again, we see what type of help ezer demonstrates.

Psalms 33:20 tells us: "Our soul waits for Adonai— He is our help and our shield."

Psalms 70:6 says: "But I am poor and needy—God, come quickly to me. You are my help and my deliverer—Adonai, do not delay."

And Hosea 13:9 reveals: "It has corrupted you, O Israel, for you are against Me—against your Helper!"

There are many other verses using the word ezer in the Bible, but these should be enough for you to see that the meaning of helper is not "a servant," but someone that aids in the battle. This is made even more clear when we include the Hebrew word נגד, or neged, that is translated as "for him" or "suitable for him," which means someone who is opposite you, in sight of or in front of.

So, we see when we read this verse in its proper context, G-D did not think that it was not good for Adam to be alone because Adam needed a maid, a cook or a servant of any kind. It was not good for Adam to be alone because he needed a woman of valor to stand opposite of him with him in her sights so that she could be a helper to him by watching his back.

Eric Tokajer is author of With Me in Paradise, Transient Singularity, OY! How Did I Get Here?: Thirty-One Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me Before Entering Ministry, #ManWisdom: With Eric Tokajer, Jesus Is to Christianity as Pasta Is to Italians and Galatians in Context.

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