We’ve revealed the Ezer Neged for what it is, the Powerful Equal of the Dirt-Man, a fully suitable and essential counterpart, but how does this image reconcile with that of the person of the woman? In Hebrew this word is Ishah, and I add it here as the final description of the God-given counterpart.
We defined counterpart in the previous blog “A Counterpart for the Dirt-Man” and I put it here again for reference:
From Webster’s 1828 Dictionary:
COUNTERPART, n. [counter and part.]
1. The correspondent part; the part that answers to another, as the two papers of a contract or indentures; a copy; a duplicate. Also, the part which fits another, as the key of a cipher. (emphasis mine).
As we continue on in Genesis 2 with the creation of the woman, God takes a rib from the mans side. Think about the purpose of the rib cage in relation to the Ezer Neged. The Ezer Neged is a shield, a counterpart and a helper. So is our rib cage. She is not from the head to be above him, nor from his feet to be under him, but from his side so that they may walk together in unity. While Adam may not have truly understood, yet, what this woman, this Ishah was going to be, he trusted the Lord to fulfill his promise of a counterpart and says,
“This is now flesh of my flesh and bone of my bone, she shall be called Ishah for she was taken out of Ish.”
And the two forsake all other partners and are joined together. I’ve used the Hebrew rendering above for man (ish) and woman (ishah) purposefully to make sure that the word/picture here is understood. In Hebrew these same words are also what is used for husband and wife. The fact that the mans counterpart is a woman is unmistakeable in every way. This beautiful picture foreshadows what Paul would later speak about using the words submission. Only to an equal can we submit in love, and have no fear. Un-equality can come in many forms, some as basic as age, financial ability and religious beliefs, others go much much deeper and God examines each individually as we form a marriage covenant with another human being.
In summary, based upon the reasoning of God’s intent for the male and female beings of humanity, evident in Genesis 1 and affirmed by the creation of the ezer neged in Genesis 2, we can conclude that Adam not only fully recognized the powerful and essential role of the woman according to God’s revelation to him, he also ACCEPTED it and embraced her as his counterpart. There are further applications of the marriage covenant here between Adam and Ishah that I hope you will be inspired to discuss further. For now, our discussion has left the door open to answer a very important question, “What IS the origin of the church’s un-egalitarian worldview about men and woman, and husbands and wives?”
(stay tuned for part 5: Curses)