Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Ezer Kenegdo, What Woman Was Intended To Be

In preparing for our ladies Bible study last week I did some extensive reading & studying on the topic of woman. Specifically I zoned in on what God's intent was when he created woman. I gotta be me so I have to be honest here. I have NEVER accepted the term help meet or helper suitable or any other of the translations. WHY Jennifer you may ask? Don't you believe the Bible? First, yes absolutely I believe. Here is why though..... bear with me 'cause this is gonna blow your socks off if you read all the way through.

In Genesis 2:18 we see the first mention of woman where in our English translated Bibles we see God saying I will make a help meet for him. Speaking of Adam being alone in the garden. So as much as we ladies try to make ourselves feel better about the term help meet it so implies inequality, it feels less than man. However, in the Life App. Bible study guide and any other study I have seen we are taught that Adam & Eve were equal at creation & they were to co-rule the earth together. All that got messed up at original sin in the garden but.... how can we be taught that they were equal co-rulers at creation & at the same time call Eve Adam's help meet? Can somebody tell me what a help meet is anyway? Again, being honest here I think that term is degrading & it has been used to keep women in a place of servitude throughout the ages. For years I have been taught that it was our job to "help the men out". WHAT? We are so much more than helpers.... serving is highly exalted in God's kingdom, Jesus came to serve but somehow I just always felt this was so not all there was to woman.

Clearly in Genesis 1:28 when God blesses Adam & Eve he gives them both the same command to rule & subdue the earth and also procreate. He did not say Adam do these things and Eve you help him. So, I do believe the teachings that say they were equal at creation. Still though to this day we say we are help meets & that just doesn't spin as equal to me. Also, if Eve's job was to help Adam why was she not present in the verses before where we see Adam all alone working hard to name everything God had created. Name EVERYTHING? Surely Adam was working long hard hours, he probably got quite hungry and such while he was busy coming up with names for the animals & such. Why would God not have given Adam his helper when he was doing all this work? After all, Eve could have picked some veggies & made Adam a nice salad while he was working so hard & brought him a little drinky. She could have been busy organizing the animals & such. You know, helping Adam out?

I decided to look up the Hebrew words from the Torah that were the original words that we translated to get the English words help meet. I just knew there was more to woman than a help meet. The Hebrew words that are in the Torah where God says I will make a __________ __________ for him are the words Ezer Kenegdo. So then I looked up the definitions of Ezer & Kenegdo.

God says he is going to make an Ezer for man. Did you know that the word Ezer is only in the Old Testament in Hebrew 21 times? Only 1 time does the word Ezer refer to woman. The other 20 times it is refering to God himself! Did you get that? God is OUR Ezer. That just rocked my female world may I say. Before we go further, God says he is going to make an Ezer for man. At the same time 20 other places God is our Ezer.

Ezer is made up of two root words which mean to be strong or to save, it also means powerful. Eight of the 20 times that Ezer is used it is in reference to God saving man. It is used in a time of desperation where man needs God to come to his rescue or he will die. God is their only hope, he is their Ezer. The other twelve times it is used in reference to God being their strength. Tomorrow I will give you some of these verses in detail. For today a couple examples okay? You know the verse, Casting Crowns even has a song about it..... "I lift mine eyes up to the hills, where does my help (Ezer) come from, my help (Ezer) comes from the Lord." or this one..... you are my shield and my strength (ezer).

In all twenty cases of God being the Ezer he is helping man in some capacity. He is either literally saving their lives or He is their strength and sustainer. This may be why we have the term "help" coming from the word Ezer because when God is the Ezer, he is helping man. But um, he is not doing man's laundry or cooking him dinner. Somehow the meaning behind being an Ezer has gotten lost to us. God is not beneath us & yet He is our Ezer. God is all powerful. the Father of all, the Creator of every single thing and yet...... He is our Ezer. God said, it is not good for the man to be alone. I will make an Ezer kenegdo for him.

Let's get to Kenegdo shall we? Kenegdo is easy, it simply means to be equal, counterpart, alongside.

I do not believe woman is here to save man as part of Ezer means to save. When Ezer is used to mean save it is used in the context as God is our Savior, our only means of hope. It makes more sense to use the to be strong, powerful as the definiton.

So how would that translate? It is not good for the man to be alone, I will make a powerful strength equal to him. OR It is not good for the man to be alone, I will make a strength equal to him. Okay, I am no scholar here.

The point is, that YES!!! I just knew there was more to us than the traditional help meet. It is an honor in my opinion to be called an Ezer! After all, God is an Ezer to all of mankind. What do we think about God being our Ezer? I honestly am still trying to settle in my mind what that means exactly for us ladies. God is our Ezer, our strength, our hope, our power. We are meant to be man's Ezer but yet equal to, alongside also. Hmmm, a lot to grasp & get ahold of. This is a definition that really in my humble opinion should be OUT THERE more. Do you know this is a fact, widely known in many circles around the world? We are Ezer Kenegdo's. I will share more on this throughout the week, I hope you will come back & discuss this wonderful definition of the Hebrew wording.

Might I say that I was more than a little nervous to bring this study to our ladies last Thursday but they LOVED IT! Many people are resistant to something they have never heard before so I admit, I was nervous. But the Torah is a fact & the words Ezer Kenegdo are a fact, we can't escape that. Help meet was translated from Ezer Kenegdo, not the other way around so I feel quite fine and secure with studying this. My pastor's wife was so excited she told me. She came home from our study and proudly told our pastor "I am your ezer kenegdo!" Ha ha, I just love them all. What a group of fun ladies. I would love to know what you think about this, I tell ya, it just floored me. I want to talk about this through the week but here are a couple of really good links if you want to read more about what an Ezer Kenegdo is.

Loved this blog post from Stoned-Campbell Disciple.

This is a blog post from a book review about a book called Captivating where the book discusses God's words of calling woman an Ezer Kenegdo. Articulate Me: Ezer

Hope you enjoy it as much as I did!!




Andrea said...

My husband and I work as a team. We both consult each other and pray about any decision. He would tell you that I were his equal. I am thankful to be in a great marriage with a husband who loves the Lord and loves me. That has not always been the case. I struggled for 17 yrs in a bad marriage where GODs word was used to justify abuse, etc. I am thankful for God's gift of a kind, loving, and gentle hubby,now!
Blessings and prayers, andrea

Heart2Heart said...

I love this and it is so true for the definition of what marriage was truly intended to be, a way for us to help one another out. We were not meant to dwell in this life alone, even though at times we find ourselves there.

However, we need to remember this is a partnership, not a servanthood!

Love and Hugs ~ Kat