Helper – Genesis 2:18

“Helper”  as found in Genesis 2:18

‘ezer kenegdo

I will make a helper suitable for him

We shall unpack the word kenegdo, translated in the NIV and many other modern translations as “suitable for him”. It literally means “as before him”.

The man had called out all the animals by name but none of them had answered back as an equal to the man. Only when God fashioned woman out of the man’s body did the man find someone who was to him “as before him”, that is, who corresponded to his own soul, and answered the cry of his flesh. The woman is his equal partner in being (she is “flesh of my flesh”) and standing (she is “as before him”).

The woman is, the Bible says, the man’s glory, so the woman reflects and expresses the glory of God in the soul of the man. She answers the one who calls. She is the satisfaction of an answer to the word of his createdness. She is made to be the answer to his word, as Creation is to the Creator, or as the Church is to Jesus.

The theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar describes how Adam is changed, on beholding Eve “as before him”, from one who sees, to one who is seen. Hagar explains this experience as “I have now seen the One who sees me”. It is the dynamic of personal relationship, based on mutual knowledge, that is revealed in the gift of Eve to Adam. The textures of seeing and of being seen are part of our lives with God. So in our imaging of God on earth, these realities are mirrored in our personal lives in relating with each other as we stand “as before” each other, face on to the reality of the Other, welcoming their impact, answering their call.

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