Helpmeet is a strange word for the unique and vital role God specially designed women to play. It isn’t what you think.
Helpmeet is an old English KJV (King James Version) translation. A modern definition of helpmeet would be suitable help. Before you go scurrying off thinking this refers to a maid or doormat (not that there’s anything wrong with either of those!) let me assure you helpmeet and suitable help include the highest level of positive characteristics you can image. We will devote several posts to detailing the beauty and valor of a helpmeet.
(Origin of Humankind, chapter 7.4)
This post will limit itself to the elaboration of help; we’ll discuss meet a little later on and, of course, The Explanation will show the relationship between suitable and help.
To start, I realize I’m on touchy ground. Feminist movements are clamoring for equal rights as women around the world live under very harsh conditions and treatment. All around, gender has become an issue, and it seems no matter where you position yourself, you can come under fire. The Explanation is not against anyone. It tries to raise issues to a higher level of explanation based on the Biblical Hebrew in the Bible. Beyond that, everyone exercises their free will, and so be it.
This post, with the first word of helpmeet, help, is the foundational role of the woman. To be realistic, we have to talk about the pros and cons of women and men. Not everything is rosy with gender, no matter which it is. Always keep in mind the initial and ultimate roles of women (and men) and realize we’re now in a very tumultuous intermediary time.
Here’s the Bible verse, and we immediately want to note the contrast of ideas in the vocabulary. Can you spot it? I ask you this because we tend to read words, which we understand, but not the deeper meaning of what they are conveying. Take time and meditate on this.
And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone (H905); I will make him an help (H5828) meet for him.
Alone and help meet are in complementary opposition. We’ll scrutinize alone. But first, I want to remind you that the Hebrew word for male (zachar) includes the concept of preeminence. Please go to the link if you haven’t heard this before. Don’t be jaded by preconceptions; this is not to show that he has all the rights. We have seen and shall see that this preeminence has responsibilities and obligations. Here I want to show you that preeminence ALONE is NOT GOOD. The man lacks something essential.
בַּד bad bad; from H909 (בָּדַד); properly, separation; by implication, a part of the body, branch of a tree, bar for carrying; figuratively, chief of a city; especially (with prepositional prefix) as an adverb, apart, only, besides:
KJV – alone, apart, bar, besides, branch, by self, of each alike, except, only, part, staff, strength.
בָּדַד bâdad baw-dad’; a primitive root; to divide, i.e. (reflex.) be solitary:
KJV – alone.
Alone can be good, but it is not complete. In the desert, God gave the people ONLY ONE dish of food, manna, for 40 years for a lesson. This type of bread had no accompaniment; it was ALONE.
And he humbled you, and suffered you to hunger, and fed you with manna, which you knew not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make you know that man does not live by bread only (H905), but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of the LORD does man live.
This manna was sufficient to keep them alive. It had all the nutrition they needed (don’t ask me what it’s composition was). It was good. But, the manna ALONE was not good. It was a reminder that something important was missing, God’s Word, which is the bread of spiritual life. The physical bread needed a spiritual complement.
Alone is also translated strength in the KJV (see above); this appears strange until we realize the relationship in the verse below, Bildad, one of Job’s friends, talks about how wickedness demolishes strength.
13 It [wickedness] shall devour the strength (H905) of his skin: even the firstborn of death shall devour his strength (H905).
Man, men tend to rely on their strength. I’m generalizing, but men gravitate to being islands of strength unto themselves. Being strong is a good quality, but an individual cannot, particularly a man, should NOT be a solitary strength. It is NOT good to be a strength unto himself. Hence the need for help. Hence the need for female help; this is the contrast in the verse, the insufficiency of solitary strength and the complementary need for help.
This help is not a cry for help, like that of a drowning person. It is not from an inferior position. Remember, the male is preeminent, but, in his preeminence, he is INcomplete. Let me ask you a question. If you have a problem with configuring Excel or installing some plumbing you look for help, right? Do you want your help to be MORE ADVANCED and BETTER EQUIPPED than you? Of course, you do, there’s no point asking help from someone with LESS or even EQUAL capacity compared to you. They must have MORE, BETTER know-how than you do, Then, and only then, can they help you. Conclusion, this woman helper is BETTER EQUIPPED in certain areas to HELP the man than the man ALONE is. That’s why the man needed and needs a woman, a helpmeet.
עֵזֶר ʻêzer ay’-zer; from H5826 (עָזַר); aid:
KJV – help.
עָזַר ʻâzar aw-zar’; a primitive root; to surround, i.e. protect or aid:
KJV – help, succour.
Our keyword H5826 is unique in that it only has one English KJV translation for the 21 times it appears in the Old Testament. As you know, most Biblical Hebrew words have multiple translations. The first couple of times, it is used as help meet referring to the first woman. The third time, below, it talks about the name of Moses’ second son, God my Help.
And the name of the other was Eliezer; for the God of my father, said he, was my help, (H5828) and delivered me from the sword of Pharaoh:
And this is the blessing of Judah: and he said, Hear, LORD, the voice of Judah, and bring him to his people: let his hands be sufficient for him; and be you an help (H5828) to him from his enemies.
In Deuteronomy, like in Exodus, help refers to GOD! Sixteen of the twenty-one verses with ezer (H5828) refer to God as the help. Do you make the connection?
The woman, created for the man, is comparable to God. The help-ezer is an extraordinary and elevated role; this is not a lowly, subservient, spiritless, subdued blob of a human being in man’s shadow.
The Biblical Hebrew collates the woman with God. Realize also that Moses and Judah were preeminent figures in the Bible story. I don’t have space to develop that. In Deuteronomy above, the blessing is that Judah’s hands be sufficient. Check that word at UnlockBibleMeaning.com. It means plenteous and mighty. So, as preeminent, plenteous, and mighty as Judah was, he still needed an ezer. All men need an ezer. And that ezer has superior qualities than what the man possesses to help him meet his challenges.
You cannot find a higher and more eloquent and marked comparison than God. Anyone God compares to Himself is in an i state. Read Exodus 7:1, God says to Moses, “I have made you a god to Pharaoh.” The Hebrew does not say “a god,” it says Elohim, “I have made you GOD…” When you understand the symbolism here, It is indeed God. Even with that preeminent status, Moses needed ezer-help. He knew the value of the help he requested, and never forgot it. He even named his son Eli-ezer, God, my help.
The woman was created to be man’s help meet.
Humankind cannot decide what the value or role of a woman is, no more than that of a man, or God. When God created the UNIQUE characters and characteristics that animate each aspect of His Creation, He SET the VALUES. He decided what the pieces of the puzzles are, and He placed them in their appropriate positions in the overall picture. Humankind and each one of us have the right to accept or reject what God has established; that’s free will. In dismissing the originally named values, we are putting the cart before the horse. We think humankind can decide the role of a woman (and man) in society; we’re the horse. Or, we can see the value God has placed on a woman (and man) and accept and do our utmost to respect His pieces in the puzzle: God is the horse, and each of us is the cart.
Jordan Peterson, in his many videos, refers to his helper. He has the exact right approach, like all men and women. We often fall short of the standards we should respect; however, we should at least know what they are and doing our utmost to strive for them.
Here are his words of wisdom starting around the 81-minute mark. “I’ve been fortunate in my marriage because I have someone to contend with. You know we have our discussions, and they’re not easy. Partly because we have hard problems to solve because life is full of hard problems, I want someone who stands up, you know, and have her say even if it’s not what I would say and maybe I’m even willing at times because she’s quite intuitive and a good dreamer and I’m more facile verbally, and so we have to be careful in our relationship because if I’m in a particularly ornery mood and she has something to say I can usually slice up her arguments verbally…”
Let me be frank. Some might think taking helpmeet, looking up ezer (H5828), and comparing a woman to God in her role as blasphemous. Imagine men looking on women, not just their wives, as representing God. How many inter-gender problems would vanish?!
Let’s refer back to Genesis 1:27, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” Both genders have the identical image of God. In that, the preeminent and the helper are fully equal. Please go back and read How Humankind Socializes: Gender Equality, Gender Inequality, or Gender Compatibility? Men and women have the same spiritual potential, Matthew 12:50 For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother. To be a helper is to be Christ’s sister. That is a lofty ideal for all women.
This blog post is an excerpt from chapter 7.4 of the book Origin of Humankind.
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