In Genesis 2:18 God said, “It is not good that man should be alone. I will make him a helper comparable to him.” God could’ve created Eve and given her to Adam. Instead, He had Adam name the animals for two reasons:
- Establish Adam’s headship over creation
- Reveal Adam’s lack of a helper
Genesis 2:20 records, “So Adam gave names to all cattle, to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him.” Adam noticed the animals were in pairs, but he was not part of any pair. With Adam longing for a mate, God was ready to create Eve.
A Helper Comparable to Him
The Hebrew word for “helper” is ezer. It means “help” or “one who helps.” The word occurs twenty-one times in the Old Testament, including twice in Genesis 2, first in verse 18 and then in verse 20 when Adam named the animals and could not find “a helper comparable to him.”
Some women might find it offensive to be identified as their husbands’ “helpers,” but the title is not a criticism of Eve’s insufficiency. Instead, it is an identification of Adam’s inadequacy! In the Amplified Bible Genesis 2:18 reads: “Now the Lord God said, ‘It is not good [sufficient, satisfactory] that the man should be alone.’” Woman is the helper man needs because he is not sufficient without her! God created woman to remove man’s deficiency. In Holding Hands, Holding Hearts (pp. 26–27) Richard and Sharon Phillips write:
To call a woman a helper is not to emphasize her weakness, but her strength. Not to label her as superfluous but as essential to Adam’s condition and to God’s purpose in the world. Helper is a position of dignity given to the woman by God Himself.
Here are four reasons wives should be encouraged being identified as their husband’s helper!
1. Ezer describes great strength and support
Ezer is never used in Scripture for something negative, such as a sycophant, minion, or slave. Consider these verses:
- Deuteronomy 33:29—Happy are you, O Israel! Who is like you, a people saved by the Lord, the shield of your help (ezer) and the sword of your majesty!
- Ezekiel 12:14—I will scatter to every wind all who are around him to help (ezer) him, and all his troops.
Considering this context, identifying woman as her husband’s ezer reveals her as a powerful and influential companion.
2. God is called Helper (Ezer)
Eleven of the nineteen times ezer is used outside Genesis 2 occur in Psalms. Each time it describes God as our helper. Some examples include:
- Psalm 33:20—Our soul waits for the Lord; He is our help (ezer) and our shield.
- Psalm 70:5—Make haste to me, O God! You are my help (ezer) and my deliverer.
- Psalm 115:9—O Israel, trust in the Lord; He is their help (ezer) and their shield.
The very title used to describe a woman’s role is a title used to describe God Himself. Since we do not let the identification of God as our helper make us think less of God, we should apply that same thinking to wives as their husbands’ helpers.
3. The Holy Spirit is called Helper
Helper is the title Jesus used for the Holy Spirit when He promised not to abandon the disciples after His departure:
- “I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper.”—John 14:16
- “The Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name.”—John 14:26
- “It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you.”—John 16:7
It’s a privilege for women to carry the same title given to the Holy Spirit! It is clear that the title of ezer or helper is not one of inferiority but of honor.
4. Helping is very commendable
Thinking biblically, helping and serving are two of the most admirable actions we can engage in as Christians. Jesus modeled such behavior and called His followers to do the same in Matthew 20:26–28:
Whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.
Few actions are commanded as often in Scripture or look more like Christ than helping and serving. As a result, wives should find it encouraging to be called their husbands’ helpers. They should not let society’s stereotypes influence their thinking about being a wife. Instead, they should joyfully embrace the role God has given them. In the Above Rubies article, “Do You Feel Downgraded?” Nancy Campbell writes:
[Ladies] are you feeling base and discouraged? Don’t listen to these lies any longer. Lift up your head and embrace your mandate from God. You are not working for any earthly employer, but for the King of kings and Lord of lords, the Sovereign God of the universe. When He calls you a helper you can hold your head high.
- These sections contain a number of reasons a wife should be encouraged by being identified as her husband’s helper. Which ones most stood out to you?
- The world has created many false stereotypes about a wife’s role in her husband’s life.
- Wife: How are any stereotypes tempting you to think falsely about your role as a wife? What can you do to resist these influences?
- Husband: What can you do to help your wife resist being influenced by the world’s stereotypes?