Troublesome Topic: God Made the Woman in a Special Way and for a Special Purpose

Genesis 2:18



ELOHIM (read Adonai Elohim) said, “It is not good for the adam to be alone; I will make him a rescuer

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opposite him.”

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Then THE PERSONAL AND ETERNAL GOD who is also THE CREATOR AND OWNER OF ALL THINGS said, “It is not good for the man to be without a partner; I will make someone who comes to his aid, surrounds him and rescues him, someone who

will compliment him well.

Genesis 2:19


YHVH ELOHIM (read Adonai Elohim) formed

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from the ground every living thing of the field

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and every bird of the air.

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He caused them to come to the adam to see what he would name them,

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and whatever the adam proclaimed

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about each living, breathing creature, that was its name.

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Now THE PERSONAL AND ETERNAL GOD who is also THE CREATOR AND OWNER OF ALL THINGS formed the living things of the field and the birds of the air, from the ground just like He did with the man. So, in response to man’s aloneness God first caused them to come to the man to see what he would proclaim about them and thus give them an identity and a reputation. Whatever the man exclaimed about each living creature that had the breath of life in it, that was its reputation from then on.

Genesis 2:20


So the adam gave names to all the easily domesticated animals, and birds of the air and to every living creature of the field,

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but for ADAM


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there was not found

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a helper opposite him.


So the man gave identification and a reputation to all the easily domesticated animals, and the birds of the air, and to every living creature that belongs to the open fields, but for THE RED  MAN MADE FROM DIRT no corresponding and complementary helper was found.

Genesis 2:21


And YHVH ELOHIM (read Adonai Elohim) caused a deep sleep

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to fall upon the adam and he slept, and He took one of his ribs

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and closed up the flesh in the place where the rib had been.

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Then THE PERSONAL AND ETERNAL GOD who is also THE CREATOR AND OWNER OF ALL THINGS caused the man to fall into a trance-like state, and he was out. He took one of his ribs and then filled in the deep part of the cavity that the removal had left.

Genesis 2:22



ELOHIM (read Adonai)

fashioned the rib He had taken from the adam into

a woman

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and caused her to come near

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to the adam.


Then THE PERSONAL AND ETERNAL GOD who is also THE CREATOR AND OWNER OF ALL THINGS fashioned the rib He had taken from the man into a corresponding counterpart to the man, and presented her to the man as his close companion.

Genesis 2:23


And the adam said,


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is a bone from my bones, and a piece of flesh from my collective flesh.

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This one shall be called


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because this one was taken out of man.”

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Then the man exclaimed, “In contrast to everything I have seen so far, at last this one is especially suited to be a companion for me because she was taken out of me. This one is unique and will be given a name based on history not on physical

characteristics; she will be called “from man” because her history is that, unlike the animals, this one was taken out of the man.

Genesis 2:24


On this ground

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a man

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leaves behind

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his father and mother and clings

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to his wife,

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and they become one body.   (See comment below.)


Based on the pattern that was established back then, a man moves out from under the direct authority of his father and mother and becomes closely united to his wife and they become one family and one body [when their love produces their first child.]  (See comment below.)

Genesis 2:25


And both of them were bear,

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but the adam and his wife

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were not ashamed.   (See comment below.)

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At that time both of them were naked, but for the man and his wife, there was no shame involved, for they were completely innocent.   (see comment below.)

The next lesson is: Marriage Is a Covenant


1: "Rescuer"

This word means “help, succor or rescuer, the one who gets me out of jams.” It comes from a root word that means “to aid, to rescue, to surround.”  The first level of meaning is supplied by the immediate context. All the other animals had partners, but Adam did not. Therefore, when Jesus was not walking and talking with him, Adam was lonely. He had a job to do but no one to do it with him. So God made a wife for him to rescue him from his loneliness and to be a partner in his work. This word is sometimes used of God; in the Psalms God is often portrayed as our rescuer. He comes to our aid and surrounds us with his presence. A wife does much the same thing. Just like God does not do our work for us, or fight our battles for us while we watch from a safe distance, she does not fight all of his battles for him or take over his role in the home. However, she does rescue him from disaster by surrounding him with the things he needs, e.g. the right atmosphere and context so he is not tempted to go anywhere else because his needs are met at home. He can face his battles with his head and his shoulders up, not down. This is not a demeaning word; it is an uplifting word. While the husband and wife do not have the same roles, they are equals in most ways. When a team captain is needed, he is the captain, but she is an important team player. She is not presented here as a servant that does his every bidding, or as a door mat for him to walk all over, or as a slave for him to order around or as a sex slave or a baby factory. She is just like him, just different.

2: "opposite him"

This word means “in front of, in sight of, or opposite.” It is used here of someone who is “over against, or in contrast to.” The fact that it is describing the word “helper” gives us the idea that it is a complimentary opposite, not someone standing opposite him in battle or some other form of confrontation.

Likewise she is not an exact replica of him; she does not fulfill a role that is identical to his; she contributes something different to the team and it starts with how she is different from him physically and emotionally.

3: “formed”

This verb is obviously referring to the animals God created earlier as described in chapter 1. It is not a newly created set of animals. However, at this point in the narrative it is giving us a new piece of information about them – that God formed them from the dirt just like He made man. In chapter one it says He spoke and they became a reality but here it says he formed them, presumably with His hands, from the earth. Which is it? Remember that the Hebrew idea of speaking something into existence means that he brought out into plain view something that was deep within himself. He showed us through everything He created, what He is like. He could reveal what is inside Him by forming something with his hands; it is not a contradiction.


What is meant by “of the field”? Is it the easily domesticated animals that work in the field, or the wild animals that live and roam in the fields, meaning in the wide open spaces? Most scholars lean toward it meaning the wild animals, those apart from the easily domesticated animals. Man would quickly learn about, and gain control over, those that are easily domesticated, but not so with the wild animals. So here God gives man the chance to watch each of those wild animals in turn and give them a name.

Is this different from, or the same as, the group of animals mentioned in Genesis 1:24 “living creatures of the earth”? The wording is more similar than different. In 1:24 the emphasis was the type of relationship the animals had (or would have) with man based on how they moved. Here we don’t see the emphasis on how they move, but it is still about man’s relationship with those animals, so it does appear to indicate those animals that are not easily domesticated, i.e. wild animals.


God included the birds in this exercise because man does have interaction with the birds. However, not very many people have interaction with fishes in the normal activities of life, and it is hard to see them much of the time, so the fishes were not included here.


How long did it take Adam to name the animals? We are not told so we do not know. We can figure that it would have taken at least several hours. Was it possible to get this done in one day? I think it was possible since Adam did not name the fish or the insects, and he would only have had to give a name to each family of animals, not each genus or species of animal within that family. We do not know if God’s original creation included various species, or if speciation (microevolution) happened after that. Even if there were more than one species of squirrel alive when Adam named the animals, it seems logical to think that he gave all the squirrels the same name without concern for the classification of species (different types of squirrels) at that time.

7: “proclaimed”

I picture Adam watching each type of animal for a little while to see how they acted and what they were like. He would exclaim something about each characteristic that caught his attention. Then he would choose the characteristic that he thought most set this animal apart from the others and was worthy of becoming that animal’s identity and reputation and he chose that as its name.

I imagine Adam laughing as he watched two squirrels chase each other around a tree trunk. Our English word for squirrel comes from French which came from Latin which came from a Greek word meaning “tail.” Lots of animals have tails, but squirrels do that thing with their tail when they want to send a warning to other squirrels. But they had no reason to send such warnings before the fall. I imagine that Adam’s name for a squirrel was a descriptive word or phrase that tried to capture their amazing agility in the trees and their level of activity, maybe something like “frenetic tree runner.”

Adam was not speaking in Hebrew. The names he gave them were lost at the time of Babel when the languages were all changed. However, the tendency to call animals by some prominent characteristic lived on. In ancient times the names of animals were often a word or phrase that described what that animal looked like or how it acted, just like Adam had done.

8: “that was its name”

The reasons for having Adam name the animals could have been several, as follows: 1) In Bible times a name had meaning and that meaning was important. Also, a name was tied to reputation, it was not just a form of identification; a number will suffice for identification, but a name had meaning and showed purpose. This was begun by God when He asked Adam to name the animals. 2) This act established man as the clear leader among the created kinds. It was his first exercise of authority over creation. God did not tell Adam what they should be called or how to name them. He gave Adam responsibility as a leader. 3) For their encouragement. see below.

While it is not true that by naming something we then own it, there is a sense in which naming something sets the direction in which that thing or living being then moves. Think of people you know with names like Joy, Faith, or Hope. We consider them beautiful names because they are more than identifiers; they express a quality we hope that person will exude, and often they do. Now think of the devastating effects of giving a child a negative name. I personally knew a girl at a middle school where I once worked whose parents named her Tequila, and I heard about a girl at another middle school whose name was Cocaine. What’s more, the teachers and staff were required to call them by the name on their birth certificate, no alterations or nicknames were allowed. We consider this sad and unfortunate because we understand in a small way that names have power.

What was the purpose of the naming? Was it just for Adam to have authority over them? Was it just for identification? Was it for Adam or was it also for the animals also?

3) Purpose number three is this: I postulate that it was also for the animals’ encouragement – for them to know and be clear about the role they should play in pointing to God’s creative power and greatness. If animals could communicate with man, then man could also communicate with animals (see my comment for Genesis 3:1). If there was communication between the two, then Adam could have used the naming of the animals as a way to guide them and encourage them in how to fulfill their purpose of glorifying God.

9: “creatures of the field”

Notice that the text consistently mentions the animals in conjunction with the domain in which they live. The consistency of this usage tells us that these domains or realms are important to God. In the Bible, sometimes the message is this: “Make sure you belong to the correct realm, God’s realm.” The concept of realms is an important aspect of the Law. There are a number of passages in the New Testament that are tied to the question, “Which realm are you a part of?” See


ADAM: This is the first time the word “adam” is used without the article; here it is simply “Adam” rather than “the adam” as it has consistently appeared up till now. Bible versions are divided on when they stop interpreting the use of “adam” as “the man” and when they start to use it as a proper name “Adam.” I agree with the editor of the NET Bible that this seems to be the logical and intended place to do so because it is the first time the word is used without the article “the.” However, the narrative continues using “the man” quite often after this rather than the personal name. That shows the importance of this statement. Here Adam’s need for a wife is very personal; in this instance he is not representing the entire human race, it is referring only to him and his need.

11: “not found”

There is no subject to this verb; we are not told if only Adam was looking for and hoping for a companion, or if he and God together were looking, or if nothing was said about it. The focus here is not on the looking but on the outcome – none was found. It appears that one of the reasons God had Adam complete this exercise of naming the animals was to heighten Adam’s sense of need for a companion, and to show him that there were no other options. Although it is not stated clearly, we can assume that God brought the animals to Adam in pairs in order to heighten Adam’s sense of loneliness. All the Bible scholars I am aware of agree that God brought them in pairs.

12: “deep sleep”

This is one word not two, but it usually means something more than ordinary sleep. BDB says that this type of sleep, when mentioned in the Bible, is usually brought about by divine agency. A trance is also a good translation. Those are the ways this word was used in ancient times. In our modern era we would likely say that God sedated Adam just like we are given powerful anesthesia before a surgery.


The word used here means “rib, side, or something bent.” It is obvious that a rib is intended here because God took “one of” them, implying that Adam had several. Luther may have been right when he speculated God took out the rib and its accompanying flesh, not just the bone.

14: “where the ribs had been”

This is an interesting choice of words. We usually think this means that God sealed up the wound, meaning he did something to the skin to keep Adam from bleeding. However, the word used here means “beneath, underneath, below, or instead of, in the place of.” The mental picture I have had up till now would better be expressed with the phrase “over top of,” but that is the opposite of what the text says. It seems that the concern here is that God took a chunk out of Adam, but don’t worry, God filled in the place where that had been so that Adam did not have a hollow spot inside him. Of the possible meanings of the word, “in its stead, or in its place” seem to fit best, but we need to keep in mind, just like the ancient Hebrews surely would have, that the word basically means “beneath.” So the meaning “instead of” carries with it the concept of something deep, not something superficial.


The word used here for woman is the word that corresponds to, comes from, and sounds similar to, the other common word for “man” that is not the word “adam.” The only difference is that it has a feminine ending. The significance of this word is that it highlights the origin of the woman, she came out of the man, from a place close to his heart, thus establishing a close connection between the two. The man and the woman are the same, and yet they are different; they are two parts of one whole. In the man-woman relationship we find (or should find) unity amid diversity – just like the unity amid diversity that Paul describes in the church (I Corinthians chapters 12 and 14).

16: “come near”

This word choice is curious to me simply because the woman God had made was already close to the man. Usually this word is used in Scripture of something that is brought from another place, either far away, or a small distance away, to this place; it is strange at first glance to use it of someone or something that is present, already close. I think it was used to emphasize greater closeness – God brought her very close to the man. In the paraphrase column I express what I think is the true intent of the statement, namely that God presented her to him as a close companion. God was encouraging closeness. It is as if God, in the person of Jesus, was saying to Adam, “I want the two of you to have a close relationship and always stay close. She is part of you; take good care of her.”


The word “this” or “this one” is used three times in Adam’s exclamation. It serves to indicate how unique Eve was. Adam had just finished naming the animals which had been brought to him by God presumably in pairs. This made Adam feel more acutely than ever his condition of being alone, with no companion that was similar to him. Each time he used the word “this one” he was expressing the idea of contrast, “unlike the animals, this one . . .”


The word used here literally means “a foot beat, a foot step, a stroke, an occurrence, a happening.” Its close association to the feet gives all of its uses a rhythmic quality. As God brought the animals to Adam a pattern and a rhythm had developed, but this beat, this rhythm was different. When God brought her close to him, he felt something different than he had felt about any animal.

19: “from my collective flesh”

This was a poetic way of saying, “she is perfectly suited to be my companion.” How could he tell just by looking at her that she was well-suited as his companion? While she was different from him in some obvious ways, she was similar to him in several ways that the animals were not. She had warm, smooth skin that was not covered with fur, feathers, or scales. Her face was structured like him, as were her limbs, and she stood upright like he did. Her voice was similar to his, and different from the calls or grunts of animals. Feel free go beyond this and find other similarities as well. The point is that he immediately noticed an entire set of important similarities which confirmed that she was designed as a good companion for him, while her differences also indicated she would be a good counterpart to him.

The fact that he mentioned flesh, not just bone, seems to confirm the idea that God took out of Adam, not just the bone we call a rib, but the accompanying flesh as well.


This is the same word used in the previous verse for “woman.” Yes, the word for woman means “manness” or “like a man.” It was used earlier in the text because it was the common word for “woman,” and would have been known as such by all Hebrew readers. Why did Adam use this word to describe her? The word seems to have been invented by Adam when he saw Eve. It means “having man-like qualities, or to be like the man.” God intended for a special bond to exist between a man and a woman (husband and wife) that is unlike any relationship he has with an animal. When Adam saw her, he realized that she was the one to pair with him, just as he had noticed that all the animals came in pairs, but he had no one that he could pair with. She looked enough like Adam for him to know she was his partner, his other half (or better half), but she was also different from him in ways I do not need to explain.


This is NOT the word “adam,” rather it is the other common word for man, the one from which the word for woman is derived.

22: “on this ground”

This verse contains principles that appear to have been added later by someone else such as Moses when he wrote down the oral tradition that had been handed down from generation to generation.

The phrase used here basically means “on this ground,” and it fulfills the role of our English phrases “based on this, or on account of this.”

What is based on what? The leaving to establish a new household is based on the fact that God provided a companion that was perfectly suited for man; the closeness of their relationship was based on the way the woman was taken out of man, one became two, and now two would become one again.


Once again this is not “the adam,” but the other word for “man.”

24: "Leaves behind”

When a man and woman get married, the relationship they establish replaces the relationship of parent to child as the new priority of top importance. Because it is now the most important relationship it requires both man and woman to leave their parents, otherwise there may be a confusion of the authority structure. Dad may want to continue exercising the level of authority he always has, or something close to it, therefore the new couple must leave to establish their own family unit with their own authority structures.


This word means “to cling to, to stick to” as the tongue sticks to the roof of your mouth when you are desperately thirsty. “Clinging and sticking” bring with them a picture of great closeness, thus it becomes a picture of the closeness desired from a marriage relationship. There is also a hint in this verse that loyalty and continued closeness are expected.”

26: “his wife”

This is simply the word for “woman,” the word that sounds like the word for man and emphasizes the fact that she was taken out of man. Context in cases like this tells that it is a woman who is in a special relationship with a man, thus a wife.


This word means “bare.”


The word can mean “woman, wife, or female of any age,” and context must tell the difference as it does here. Once again, the general word for “woman” is used, but we know from context that she is in a close relationship with the man and therefore she is his “wife.”


The fact that they were naked but felt no shame is a powerful indication that they were innocent. They did not respond to things the way we do now; that is the difference that sin makes. Here there was no fear of exploitation and vulnerability was not seen as a negative thing, but was an important part of a close relationship. Being bare was just part of their reality.