Genesis 2:18-24

Genesis 2:18-24
Ordinary B45


18 Then the LordA GodB said, “It is not goodC that the manD should be alone;E I will make him a helperF as his partner.”G 

Notes on verse 18

A “Lord” = YHVH. From havah (to be, become) or hayah (to come to pass, become, be). This is the name of the God of Israel, the self-existent and eternal one, the tetragrammaton. This pronunciation has been lost to time so “Lord” is generally used in its place.
B “God” = Elohim.
C “good” = tob. This is good, beautiful, pleasant, agreeable, bountiful, at ease. This word is used for goodness as a concept, a good thing, a good person. This can refer to prosperity and welfare as well as joy, kindness, sweetness, and graciousness. So, this is ethically good, but also enjoyably good.
D “man” = adam. Perhaps from adam (to be red, make ruddy); related to adamah (ground, dirt, earth). This is man, humankind, also Adam’s name. It refers to a human individual or humanity.
E “alone” = bad. From badad (to divide or be separated; alone, solitary, lonely, isolated, straggler). This is apart, alone, separation, body part, tree branch, except. It can also be a city’s chief.
F “helper” = ezer. From azar (to help, protect, support, ally; properly, to surround so as to provide aid). This is help, aid, or helper. This same word is used of God’s help (as in Psalm 121:1) so we should not underestimate the significance of this word for “help.”
G “partner” = neged. From nagad (to declare, make conspicuous, stand in front, manifest, predict, explain). This is in front of, opposite to. It can refer to a counterpart or partner, one corresponding to or in the sight of.

19 So out of the groundH the Lord God formedI every animalJ of the fieldK and every birdL of the air,M

Notes on verse 19a

H “ground” = adamah. Related to “man” in v18. From the same as adam (see note D above). This is ground, earth, soil as red, or land.
I “formed” = yatsar. Perhaps related to yatsar (to be narrow, distressed, or vexed); perhaps related to tsarar (to bind, restrict, narrow, be cramped, an adversary). This is to fashion or form, perhaps by squeezing something into a shape or form. Particularly, it is to create as a potter does. Figuratively, it is to determine.
J “animal” = chay. From chayah (to live or keep alive literally or figuratively). This is alive, living, lifetime. It can also be used to describe someone’s age. It can refer to animals, plants, water, or a company or congregation of people. It is life in a very broad sense.
K “field” = sadeh. This is literally field, ground, soil, or land. It is used to mean wild like a wild animal.
L “bird” = oph. From uph (to fly, flee, shine, be weary, be faint). This is a flying creature.
M “air” = shamayim. Root may mean being lofty. This is sky, the air, or heaven. It is in a dual noun form so this might refer to the part of the sky where the clouds move on the one hand and the part beyond that where the sun, moon, and stars are on the other hand.

and brought them to the man to seeN what he would callO them; and whatever the man called every livingP creature,Q that was its name.R 

20 The man gave names to all cattle,S and to the birds of the air, and to every animal of the field; but for the man there was not foundT a helper as his partner. 

Notes on verses 19b-20

N “see” = raah. This is to see in a literal or figurative sense so stare, advise, think, view.
O “call” = qara. This is to call or call out – to call someone by name. Also used more broadly for calling forth.
P “living” = chay. Same as “animal” in v19. See note J above.
Q “creature” = nephesh. Related to naphash (to refresh or be refreshed). This is soul, self, person, emotion. It is a breathing creature. Can also refer to appetites and desires.
R “name” = shem. May be from sum (to put, place, set). This is name, fame, renown. A name was thought to indicate something essential about a person – something about their individuality. So, this word can also mean honor, authority, or character.
S “cattle” = behemah. This is animal or cattle. It is often used of large quadrupeds.
T “found” = matsa. This is to find, catch or acquire. It can also mean to come forth or appear. Figuratively, this can mean to meet or be together with.

21 So the Lord God caused a deep sleepU to fall upon the man, and he slept;V then he took one of his ribsW and closed upX its placeY with flesh.Z 

Notes on verse 21

U “deep sleep” = tardemah. 7x in OT. From radam (asleep or sleeper; a heavy sleep – being stupefied either of sleep or death). This is a deep sleep, lethargy, or trance.
V “slept” = yashen. This is to be languid or go slack. By implication it can mean to sleep, become old or stale, or die.
W “ribs” = tsela. Perhaps from tsala (to limp, be lame). This is rib, side, leaf, plank, side of a person or object; quarter of the sky.
X “closed up” = sagar. This is to shut up, imprison, lock, hand over, or figuratively surrender.
Y “place” = tachat. This is underneath, below, the bottom, instead of.
Z “flesh” = basar. From basar (being a messenger, publish, carry preach; properly, this is being fresh, rosy or cheerful as one bearing news). This is flesh, the body, fat, skin, self, nakedness, humankind, or kin. It can also refer to private parts.

22 And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he madeAA into a womanBB and brought her to the man. 

23 Then the man said,

“This at lastCC is boneDD of my bones
    and flesh of my flesh;
this one shall be called Woman,
    for out of ManEE this one was taken.”

Notes on verses 22-23

AA “made” = banah. This is to build, make, set up, restore, repair, or obtain children. It is to build literally or figuratively
BB “woman” = ishshah. From ish (man); perhaps from enosh (human, humankind, mortal); from anash (to be weak, sick, or frail). This is woman, wife, or female.
CC “at last” = paam. From paam (to move, trouble; to tap in a regular rhythm; to agitate). This is a beat, stroke, footstep, or occurrence.
DD “bone” = etsem. From atsam (vast, numerous, strong; to close one’s eyes, to make powerful; to break bones). This is self, life, strength, bone, or substance.
EE “Man” = ish. Related to “woman” in v22. See note BB above.

24 Therefore a man leavesFF his father and his mother and clingsGG to his wife,HH and they become one flesh. 25 And the man and his wife were both naked,II and were not ashamed.JJ

Notes on verses 24-25

FF “leaves” = azab. To loosen, relinquish, permit, forsake, fail, leave destitute.
GG “clings” = dabaq. This is to follow closely or abide fast, to cling or be joined together. Figuratively, it can mean to catch something by chasing after it, to overtake, or to stick. A man clings to his wife in Genesis 2:24, Shechem was deeply attracted to Dinah in Genesis 34:3, Ruth clung to Naomi in Ruth 1:14, Solomon clung to his foreign wives and concubines in 1 Kings 11:2. It is also used of a tongue sticking to the mouth, pursuing or overtaking as in battle, and also clinging to God.
HH “wife” = ishshah. Same as “woman” in v22. See note BB above.
II “naked” = arom. 16x in OT. From ur (to be made naked, exposed, or bare) OR from aram (to be cunning, sensible, crafty; to make bare or smooth; usually in a negative sense). This is naked, whether in part or in full. May be related to, “the serpent was more crafty” than any other wild animal” in Genesis 3:1.
JJ “ashamed” = bosh. Properly, this means to be pale, which implies shame, disappointment, or confusion.

Image credit: “Adam and Eve in the Garden – Creation” at the Songea Cathedral in Tanzania, 20th century.

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