The following is an excerpt from Marriage God’s Way by Scott LaPierre. I have invited Pastor Scott to write some guest posts on Genesis 2:18 when God said, “It is not good that man should be alone. I will make him a helper comparable to him.” In his last post he discussed why it’s not good for man to be alone, or in other words, why men need a helper! Now he’s going to discuss why women shouldn’t be bothered being identified as their husband’s ‘helper.’
The Hebrew word for helper is ezer. It means “help” or “one who helps” looking to the complementarian roles between husbands and wives. The word ezer occurs 21 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 husband’s “helper,” but the title is not a criticism of Eve’s insufficiency but 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. Marriage experts and authors Richard and Sharon Phillips explain:
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.
Ezer is never used in Scripture for something negative, such as a sycophant, minion, or slave. Instead it is used to describe great strength and support. 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.
God as Our Helper or Ezer
Eleven of the 19 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 husband’s helper.
The Holy Spirit as Our Helper
Helper is also a title given to the Holy Spirit by Jesus in the New Testament 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).
What 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.
Next post we will discuss the commendable nature of helping, as well as a few examples of the way wives can best help their husband.
Discuss: How does the world present helping? How does Scripture present helping? Man needed a helper because of his inadequacies. What inadequacies come to mind?
 Richard and Sharon Phillips, Holding Hands, Holding Hearts (P&R, 2006), pp. 26–27.
The post is an excerpt from Scott LaPierre’s book, Marriage God’s Way. You can reach him at email@example.com or visit his website at scottlapierre.org. Interested in learning more about Marriage God’s Way? Click on the book image to watch a short trailer, get more info, and even purchase a copy.