I Want/Intend to Make for Him a Helper Genesis 2:18

          A very profound statement that I wish to discuss. I would love to hear your opinions as to the meaning of this pasuq

וַיֹּ֙אמֶר֙ יְהוָ֣ה אֱלֹהִ֔ים לֹא־טֹ֛וב הֱיֹ֥ות הָֽאָדָ֖ם לְבַדֹּ֑ו אֶֽעֱשֶׂהּ־לֹּ֥ו עֵ֖זֶר כְּנֶגְדֹּֽו׃

Genesis 2:18

          There are two primary parts to this pasuq [verse]. The first part ends with לבדו levaddo [by himself] and the second part ends with כנגדו keneghdo [as his opposite]. The first part began with a consecutive imperfect verb ויאמר wayYomer [then he said] and the second part began with a volitional imperfect- specifically, the cohortative אעשׂה e’eseh [I want/intend to make]; this latter verb is conjuncted to the prepositional phrase לו lo [for him] by the maqqef [a hyphen] which indicated the indirect object of the volitional verb [I want/intend to make].
          While the first part of the verse began with a consecutive imperfect, there is no definite direct object of the verb [then he said]. On the contrary, the entire clause לא־טוב היות האדם לבדו lo-tov heyoth ha-Adham levaddo [it is not good that the human being should be alone] is an independent clause and is, therefore, the direct object of the verb. The dependent clause היות האדם heyoth ha-adham is not the primary point of the independent clause itself- rather the prepositional phrase לבדו levaddo [alone] is. We can remove the relative clause out and the phrase would still contain the main meaning of the negating element [Then YHWH Elohim said, alone is not good].
          The second part of the verse explains the corrective course of action which YHWH intended to remedy the problem that the human was alone. The primary focus of the intention was upon the noun עזר ezer [help] which is the direct object of the verb אעשׂה e’eseh [I want/intend to make] while the indirect object is the prepositional phrase לו lo [for him]. It is clear that the primary intention of YHWH was to make for the human a helper. The final prepositional phrase, then, expresses the function of the direct object which YHWH intended to make for the human כנגדו keneghdo [as his opposite].
          At no time did YHWH express an intention to make an equal for the man, but a helper. This is important because many assume that the woman was an equal to the man and, somehow, lost this equality when she ate from the forbidden fruit. That opinion, however, is not tenable from the context of Genesis 1-3.
          While it is true that YHWH stated that both the man and woman had rule over the creatures of the earth, at no time did he place human beings under that purview of rule- neither had the right to rule over the other. Therefore, it was not any right of equality of rule which the woman- somehow- lost. In fact, there is no mention of the woman having lost anything in YHWH’s judgment of her. She remained, as was originally planned and intended, a helper- not a slave, a helper.
          According to the narrative, the desire of the woman would be toward her man and that he would ימשׁל־בך yimshol-bakh [he shall rule you]. This is not a statement of loss of position as the woman was never said to have rule over anything but the creatures of the earth- the same as the man. It was clear that she was intended to be a helper, not a co-regent. She was never demoted. The man, as is the right of every firstborn, actually had the role of leadership- albeit, there are instances in the Tenakh where the firstborn lost that right. Adham was made first and the woman made from the man- meaning she was from him, but he not from her. At no time was the man beholden to the woman, but she was beholden to the man. This is not a position of inequality, but of respect- the elders of the family have more “authority” in decision making than the younger.
          The wife is, as was originally intended, the helper of her husband. It must be born in mind that helper does not mean servant- although service is also a form of help. On the contrary, help means a mutual endeavor to achieve a common goal. Although the man has the rule of the house and his wife is, as are his children, his property, this does not mean the man has no responsibility in the household- she is not his slave. Both must work together to make a Peaceful, Functioning, and Mutually Beneficial home.
 א Who can find a valiant woman? for her price is far above precious stones.
ב The heart of her husband safely trusts in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.
ג She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.
ד She sought wool and flax and worked willingly with her hands.
ה She was like the merchants’ ships; she brings her food from afar.
ו She rose up even at night and gave food to her family and a portion to her maidens.
ז She considered the inheritance and bought it; with the fruit of her hands she planted a vineyard.
ח She girded her loins with strength and strengthened her arms.
ט She perceived that her merchandise was good; her fire did not go out by night.
י She laid her hands to the spindle, and her hands held the distaff.
כ She stretched out her hand to the poor; yea, she reached forth her hands to the destitute.
ל She shall not be afraid of the snow for her family, for all her family is clothed with double garments.
מ She makes herself tapestries; her clothing is of fine linen and purple.
נ Her husband is known in the gates when he sits among the elders of the land.
ס She made fine linen and sold it and delivered girdles unto the merchant.
ע Strength and glory is her clothing, and she shall laugh in the last day.
פ She opened her mouth with wisdom, and the law of mercy is upon her tongue.
צ She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat bread in idleness.
ק Her sons rose up and called her blessed; her husband also, and he praised her.
ר Many daughters have done valiantly, but thou dost excel them all.
ש Grace is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but the woman that fears the LORD shall be praised.
ת Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her own works praise her in the gates.
Proverb 31:10-31

About Ya'aqov ben Yisrael

I am simply a man with questions and trying to figure out the answers; my greatest joys are found in the study of Torah: its language and exegesis.
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