Genesis (Part 13)

Genesis 2:18-25

18 Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper 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 helper 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 least 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.


These verses give us the creation of Woman. As is the tradition when examining Genesis, let’s start with translations:

Verse 18:

“alone” – בַּד bad, bad; from H909; properly, separation; by implication, a part of the body, branch of a tree, bar for carrying; figuratively, chief of a city; especially (with prepositional prefix) as an adverb, apart, only, besides:—alone, apart, bar, besides, branch, by self, of each alike, except, only, part, staff, strength.

“helper” – עֵזֶר ʻêzer, ay’-zer; from H5826; aid:—help.

“suitable” – נֶגֶד neged, neh’-ghed; from H5046; a front, i.e. part opposite; specifically a counterpart, or mate; usually (adverbial, especially with preposition) over against or before:—about, (over) against, × aloof, × far (off), × from, over, presence, × other side, sight, × to view.

Verse 19:

“formed” – יָצַר yâtsar, yaw-tsar’; probably identical with H3334 (through the squeezing into shape); (compare H3331); to mould into a form; especially as a potter; figuratively, to determine (i.e. form a resolution):—× earthen, fashion, form, frame, make(-r), potter, purpose.

Verse 21:

“deep sleep” – תַּרְדֵּמָה tardêmâh, tar-day-maw’; from H7290; a lethargy or (by implication) trance:—deep sleep.

“and he slept” – יָשֵׁן yâshên, yaw-shane’; a primitive root; properly, to be slack or languid, i.e. (by implication) sleep (figuratively, to die); also to grow old, stale or inveterate:—old (store), remain long, (make to) sleep.

“of his ribs” – צֵלָע tsêlâʻ, tsay-law’; or (feminine) צַלְעָה tsalʻâh; from H6760; a rib (as curved), literally (of the body) or figuratively (of a door, i.e. leaf); hence, a side, literally (of a person) or figuratively (of an object or the sky, i.e. quarter); architecturally, a (especially floor or ceiling) timber or plank (single or collective, i.e. a flooring):—beam, board, chamber, corner, leaf, plank, rib, side (chamber).

Verse 22:

“made / fashioned” – בָּנָה bânâh, baw-naw’; a primitive root; to build (literally and figuratively):—(begin to) build(-er), obtain children, make, repair, set (up), × surely

Verse 23:

“woman” – אִשָּׁה ʼishshâh, ish-shaw’; feminine of H376 or H582; irregular plural, נָשִׁים nâshîym;(used in the same wide sense as H582) a woman:—(adulter) ess, each, every, female, × many, none, one, together, wife, woman. Often unexpressed in English.

Verse 24:

“leaves” – עָזַב ʻâzab, aw-zab’; a primitive root; to loosen, i.e. relinquish, permit, etc.:—commit self, fail, forsake, fortify, help, leave (destitute, off), refuse, × surely.

“and be joined” – דָּבַק dâbaq, daw-bak’; a primitive root; properly, to impinge, i.e. cling or adhere; figuratively, to catch by pursuit:—abide fast, cleave (fast together), follow close (hard after), be joined (together), keep (fast), overtake, pursue hard, stick, take.

“to his wife” – אִשָּׁהʼishshâh, ish-shaw’; feminine of H376 or H582; irregular plural, נָשִׁים nâshîym;(used in the same wide sense as H582) a woman:—(adulter) ess, each, every, female, × many, none, one, together, wife, woman. Often unexpressed in English.

“one” – אֶחָד ʼechâd, ekh-awd’; a numeral from H258; properly, united, i.e. one; or (as an ordinal) first:—a, alike, alone, altogether, and, any(-thing), apiece, a certain, (dai-) ly, each (one), eleven, every, few, first, highway, a man, once, one, only, other, some, together,

“flesh” – בָּשָׂר bâsâr, baw-sawr’; from H1319; flesh (from its freshness); by extension, body, person; also (by euphemistically) the pudenda of a man:—body, (fat, lean) flesh(-ed), kin, (man-) kind, nakedness, self, skin.


A couple of my observations from the translations:

Genesis uses a different word to describe the creation of Adam, every beast of the field, and every bird in the sky than is used when Woman is created. For the former creations, the word ר yâtsar, is used. However, when God creates Woman, the word בָּנָה bânâh is used. The first word means “form” (like a potter) and the latter word means “build.”

The word “woman” as used in verse 23, אִשָּׁה ʼishshâh is used again in verse 24. The second time the word is used, it is translated in English as “wife” instead of as “woman.”


From the text:

  • Verse 18 is the first time that we see God declare something as “not good.” In this case, God declared that Adam being alone was “not good.”
  • God declares an intention to make Adam a “helper.”
  • God’s helper is “suitable.”
  • Adam named every animal. From the Pulpit Commentary

Verse 20. – And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field. The portrait here delineated of the first man is something widely different from that of an infantile savage slowly groping his way towards the possession of articulate speech and intelligible language by imitation of the sounds of animals. Speech and language both spring full-formed, though not completely matured, from the primus homo of the Bible. As to the names that Adam gave the animals, with Calvin we need not doubt that they were founded on the best of reasons, though what they were it is impossible to discover, as it is not absolutely certain that Adam spoke in Hebrew. But for Adam there was not found an help meet for him. This was the chief reason for assembling the creatures. It was meant to reveal his loneliness. The longing for a partner was already deeply seated in his nature, and the survey of the animals, coming to him probably in pairs, could not fail to intensify that secret hunger of his soul, and perhaps evoke it into conscious operation.

From Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers

(20) And Adam gave names.–Throughout this chapter Adam is but once mentioned as a proper name; and the regular phrase in the Hebrew is the adam, that is, the man, except in the last clause of this verse. In Genesis 2:23 there is a different word for man, namely, ish. We must not confine this giving of names to the domestic animals, nor are we to suppose a long procession of beasts and birds passing before the man, and receiving each its title. Rather, it sets him before us as a keen observer of nature; and as he pursues his occupations in the garden, new animals and birds from time to time come under his notice, and these he studies, and observes their ways and habits, and so at length gives them appellations. Most of these titles would be imitations of their cries, or would be taken from some marked feature in their form or plumage, or mode of locomotion. Adam is thus found possessed of powers of observation and reflection upon the natural objects round him; though we may justly doubt his being capable of the metaphysical discourses put into his mouth by Milton in the Paradise Lost.

But for Adam.–In this one place there is no article, and our version may be right in regarding it as a proper name. Among the animals Adam found many ready to be his friends and domestic servants; and his habits of observation had probably this practical end, of taming such as might be useful. Hence the omission of all notice of reptiles and fish. But while thus he could tame many, and make them share his dwelling, he found among them no counterpart of himself, capable of answering his thoughts and of holding with him rational discourse.

One of his ribs.–The word is never translated rib except in this place, but always side, flank. This is the true meaning also of the Latin word by which it is rendered in the Vulgate, costa, as shown in the French cote, and our coast Both the Greek and Syriac also translate by words which primarily signify the side, but derivatively the rib. Woman was not formed out of one of man’s many ribs, of which he would not feel the loss. She is one side of man; and though he may have several sides to his nature and character, yet without woman one integral portion of him is wanting.

  • An, uh, alternative take on the Adam and Eve story. Note 1: Nothing from the video makes reference to actual text from Genesis. Note 2: Sharing a view is not endorsing a view. Note 3: We will actually look at the Ancient Aliens view of Creation at some point, so here is one clip of the show expressing that view.

David Guzik on Adam’s reaction to “Woman.”

4. (Gen 2:23) Adam’s brilliant understanding of who Eve is and how she is related to him.

And Adam said:
“This is now bone of my bones
And flesh of my flesh;
She shall be called Woman,
Because she was taken out of Man.”

a. This is now bone of my bones: Adam recognized that Eve was both like him (bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh) and not like him (woman … taken out of man).

b. Flesh of my flesh: Adam understood the essential oneness in his relationship with Eve. This point is so important that it is referred to several times in the New Testament, including the great marriage passage in Ephesians 5:28-29so husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it (Ephesians 5:28-29).

Verse 24. – Therefore shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave unto his wife. There is nothing in the use of such terms as father and mother, or in the fact that the sentiment is prophetic, to prevent the words from being regarded as a continuation of Adam’s speech, although, on the other hand, the statement of Christ (Matthew 19:5) does not preclude the possibility of Moses being their author; but whether uttered by the first husband (Delitzsch, Macdonald) or by the historian (Calvin, Murphy), they must be viewed as an inspired declaration of the law of marriage. Its basis (fundamental reason and predisposing cause) they affirm to be

(1) the original relationship of man and woman, on the platform of creation; and

(2) the marriage union effected between the first pair. Its nature they explain to be

(1) a forsaking (on the part of the woman as well as the man) of father and mother – not filially, in respect of duty, but locally, in respect of habitation, and comparatively, in respect of affection; and

(2) a cleaving unto his wife, in a conjugium corporis atque animceIts result is stated in the words which follow: and they shall be one flesh (literally, into one flesh; εἰς σάρκα μίαν, Matthew 19:5, LXX.). The language points to a unity of persons, and not simply to a conjunction of bodies, or a community of interests, or even a reciprocity of affections. Malachi (Malachi 2:15) and Christ (Matthew 19:5) explain this verse as teaching the indissoluble character of marriage and condemning the practice of polygamy.

Is it possible that all human life originates with two people 6,000 – 10,000 years ago? There is some scientific argument that says yes.

What then do we make of the fossil record of humans that pre-date this time? We will get more into that in future study. However, it is worth remembering the general vagueness of the early verses of Genesis (i.e. the earth “became” formless) as well as the impression, from the Genesis text itself, that there may have been settlements of people *outside* the Garden.

When I finish the Creation and Fall section of Genesis, I will attempt to examine several big frequently asked questions from these chapters and verses and see what answers we might have – and what answers we might not have, yet.

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