A Suitable “Helper”

A Suitable Helper | RachelShubin.com

A strong help in time of need indeed! Think Eowyn. (Also, first commissioned drawing from my daughter Trinity!)

 

What does the Bible mean when it says Eve was created as Adam’s “helper”? Well, to find out, let’s take a look at the passage itself, and then we will look at how the word translated “helper” or sometimes “helpmeet” is used elsewhere.

Genesis 2:18-25 (ESV)
18 Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a [highlight]helper[/highlight] fit for him.”
19 Now out of the ground the Lord God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name.
20 The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a [highlight]helper[/highlight] fit for him.
21 So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh.
22 And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man.
23 Then the man said,
“This at last is bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called Woman,
because she was taken out of Man.”
24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.
25 And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.

So, what does “helper” mean? Here is a list of every place this word is used in the Bible. The first two instances are the ones quoted above, so make sure you don’t quit reading before you get to see how the Bible uses the word in almost every other case. Doesn’t really give you the impression God was giving Adam someone to make sure his socks had no holes in them, does it?

◄ 5828. עֵ֫זֶר (ezer) ►
Strong’s Concordance
ezer: a help, helper
Original Word: עֵ֫זֶר
Part of Speech: Noun Masculine
Transliteration: ezer
Phonetic Spelling: (ay’-zer)
Short Definition: help

Strong’s Hebrew: 5828. עֵ֫זֶר (ezer) — 21 Occurrences

Genesis 2:18
HEB: אֶֽעֱשֶׂהּ־ לּ֥וֹ עֵ֖זֶר כְּנֶגְדּֽוֹ׃
NAS: I will make him a helper suitable
KJV: alone; I will make him an help meet for him.
INT: to be alone will make A helper suitable

Genesis 2:20
HEB: לֹֽא־ מָצָ֥א עֵ֖זֶר כְּנֶגְדּֽוֹ׃
NAS: there was not found a helper suitable
KJV: there was not found an help meet for him.
INT: not found A helper suitable

Exodus 18:4
HEB: אֱלֹהֵ֤י אָבִי֙ בְּעֶזְרִ֔י וַיַּצִּלֵ֖נִי מֵחֶ֥רֶב
NAS: of my father was my help, and delivered
KJV: of my father, [said he, was] mine help, and delivered
INT: [highlight]the God of my father was my help and delivered the sword[/highlight]

Deuteronomy 33:7
HEB: רָ֣ב ל֔וֹ וְעֵ֥זֶר מִצָּרָ֖יו תִּהְיֶֽה׃
NAS: he contended for them, And may You be a help against
KJV: be sufficient for him; and [highlight]be thou an help [to him] from his enemies.[/highlight]
INT: his hands be sufficient help his adversaries become

Deuteronomy 33:26
HEB: רֹכֵ֤ב שָׁמַ֙יִם֙ בְעֶזְרֶ֔ךָ וּבְגַאֲוָת֖וֹ שְׁחָקִֽים׃
NAS: [highlight]the heavens to your help, And through the skies[/highlight]
KJV: upon the heaven in thy help, and in his excellency
INT: rides the heavens to your help his majesty the skies

Deuteronomy 33:29
HEB: בַּֽיהוָ֔ה מָגֵ֣ן עֶזְרֶ֔ךָ וַאֲשֶׁר־ חֶ֖רֶב
NAS: Who is the shield of your help And the sword
KJV: the shield of thy help, and who [is] the sword
INT: [highlight]the LORD is the shield of your help and sword[/highlight]

Psalm 20:2
HEB: יִשְׁלַֽח־ עֶזְרְךָ֥ מִקֹּ֑דֶשׁ וּ֝מִצִּיּ֗וֹן
NAS: [highlight]May He send you help from the sanctuary[/highlight]
KJV: Send thee help from the sanctuary,
INT: send help the sanctuary Zion

Psalm 33:20
HEB: חִכְּתָ֣ה לַֽיהוָ֑ה עֶזְרֵ֖נוּ וּמָגִנֵּ֣נוּ הֽוּא׃
NAS: [highlight]for the LORD; He is our help and our shield.[/highlight]
KJV: for the LORD: he [is] our help and our shield.
INT: waits the LORD is our help and our shield Him

Psalm 70:5
HEB: חֽוּשָׁ֫ה־ לִּ֥י עֶזְרִ֣י וּמְפַלְטִ֣י אַ֑תָּה
NAS: to me, O God! You are my help and my deliverer;
KJV: [highlight]unto me, O God: thou [art] my help and my deliverer;[/highlight]
INT: God Hasten are my help and my deliverer O

Psalm 89:19
HEB: וַתֹּ֗אמֶר שִׁוִּ֣יתִי עֵ֭זֶר עַל־ גִּבּ֑וֹר
NAS: [highlight]I have given help to one who is mighty;[/highlight]
KJV: I have laid help upon [one that is] mighty;
INT: and said have given help unto who

Psalm 115:9
HEB: בְּטַ֣ח בַּיהוָ֑ה עֶזְרָ֖ם וּמָגִנָּ֣ם הֽוּא׃
NAS: [highlight]in the LORD; He is their help and their shield.[/highlight]
KJV: thou in the LORD: he [is] their help and their shield.
INT: trust the LORD is their help and their shield O

Psalm 115:10
HEB: בִּטְח֣וּ בַיהוָ֑ה עֶזְרָ֖ם וּמָגִנָּ֣ם הֽוּא׃
NAS: [highlight]in the LORD; He is their help and their shield.[/highlight]
KJV: in the LORD: he [is] their help and their shield.
INT: trust the LORD is their help and their shield that

Psalm 115:11
HEB: בִּטְח֣וּ בַיהוָ֑ה עֶזְרָ֖ם וּמָגִנָּ֣ם הֽוּא׃
NAS: in the LORD; He is their [highlight]help and their shield.[/highlight]
KJV: in the LORD: he [is] their help and their shield.
INT: trust the LORD is their help and their shield he

Psalm 121:1
HEB: מֵ֝אַ֗יִן יָבֹ֥א עֶזְרִֽי׃
NAS: [highlight]From where shall my help come?[/highlight]
KJV: from whence cometh my help.
INT: where cometh shall my help

Psalm 121:2
HEB: עֶ֭זְרִי מֵעִ֣ם יְהוָ֑ה
NAS: [highlight]My help [comes] from the LORD,[/highlight]
KJV: My help [cometh] from the LORD,
INT: my help from the LORD

Psalm 124:8
HEB: עֶ֭זְרֵנוּ בְּשֵׁ֣ם יְהוָ֑ה
NAS: [highlight]Our help is in the name of the LORD,[/highlight]
KJV: Our help [is] in the name of the LORD,
INT: our help the name of the LORD

Psalm 146:5
HEB: שֶׁ֤אֵ֣ל יַעֲקֹ֣ב בְּעֶזְר֑וֹ שִׂ֝בְר֗וֹ עַל־
NAS: is he whose [highlight]help is the God[/highlight]
KJV: of Jacob for his help, whose hope
INT: is the God of Jacob help hope is in

Isaiah 30:5
HEB: לָ֑מוֹ לֹ֤א לְעֵ֙זֶר֙ וְלֹ֣א לְהוֹעִ֔יל
NAS: profit them, [Who are] not for help or profit,
KJV: [highlight][that] could not profit them, nor be an help nor profit,[/highlight]
INT: profit cannot help cannot profit

Ezekiel 12:14
HEB: [עֶזְרֹה כ] (עֶזְרֹ֛ו ק) וְכָל־
NAS: are around him, his helpers and all
KJV: all that [are] about him to help him, and all his bands;
INT: who are around[highlight] help all his troops[/highlight]

Daniel 11:34
HEB: וּבְהִכָּ֣שְׁלָ֔ם יֵעָזְר֖וּ עֵ֣זֶר מְעָ֑ט וְנִלְו֧וּ
NAS: a little help, and many
KJV: with a little help: but many
INT: fall will be granted help A little will join

Hosea 13:9
HEB: כִּֽי־ בִ֥י בְעֶזְרֶֽךָ׃
NAS: [highlight]O Israel, That [you are] against Me, against your help.[/highlight]
KJV: thou hast destroyed thyself; but in me [is] thine help.
INT: Israel for your help

(From BibleHub)

So, what does “helper” mean? This word is used multiple times in the Old Testament, and almost every  instance refers to the kind of help that would fight with or for you in battle, and often it refers to the Lord being the helper. This is not the kind of help that trails behind you polishing your armor and picking up your helmet. This is not the one who helps by saying encouraging things and then staying home while you fight. This is the strength that stands beside you in battle. This is one who toils beside you in the face of a monumental task. This is practical, eminently capable aid. That’s what a “helper” means.

Rachel Shubin

Critical thinker, obsessive reader and writer (not just on this blog), Bible-studier, church-goer, Jesus woman.