The word, “helpmate” is always one that made me cringe. I would skip over it and quickly dismiss it. It seemed to elevate men, and devalue women. I didn’t desire to be described as only, “a helper for men.” A little embarrassed to be a Christian, I shook it off. If I turned a blind eye to it, it wasn’t my problem.
NO more will I look at this word that way. It is with honor and excitement that I dig into the word and parallel the Hebrew word for helpmate/helpmeet with all the other instances that it appears in the Bible. God could have used any number of descriptors for women and he chose, “ezer.” This is not an accident.
Genesis 2:18 it says, “18 The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable of him.”
In Hebrew the word “help mate/help meet,” is derived from two words, ezer and k’enegdo.
First, I will explain the Hebrew word, ‘ezer.’ The word ‘ezer’ appears 21 times in the Bible. In the Old Testament, the word ‘ezer’ is most often used to describe God being an EZER to human beings. In David Freedman’s book he says that the word, ‘ezer’ originally had two roots: “to rescue, to save,” and “to be strong.” (R. David Freedman, “Woman, a Power Equal to a Man,” Biblical Archaeology Review 9 : 56-58)
Similarly, in Diana Webb’s book Forgotten Women of God she also talks about the meaning of the word, ‘ezer,’
“In eight of these instances the word means “savior”. These examples are easy to identify because they are associated with other expressions of deliverance or saving. Elsewhere in the Bible, the root ezer means “strength…. the word is most frequently used to describe how God is an ezer to man. ”
As I looked into the instances of ‘ezer’ in the bible, I saw that two times it described women, three times it was in reference to military support, and sixteen times it talked about the saving help of GOD for his people. WOW, almost every time, ‘ezer’ is used God uses it in reference to himself. God used a descriptor for women that he used for himself. He calls us the same word that he calls himself.
In exploring further, I realized that not only did, ‘ezer’ mean savior and is used in reference to a saving/strong presence, it is a word that is continually used to describe military aid in battle. It is actually a military term. (See verses: Deuteronomy 33:29, Exodus 18:4 are just a few examples) Therefore, many interpretations of ezer have explained that ‘ezer’s’ meaning is not just a “helper” it describes a warrior. We are a strong helper and warrior for Christ.
Lastly, the word that accompanies ezer is kenegdo which means “in front of him,”‘opposite as to him’ or ‘corresponding as to him’. A great visual explanation of the word kenegdo would be two wings on a bird, they are not the same, but are equal. They correspond to each other, both are useful for flight, but they are not identical. When both are used together they accomplish one purpose, movement towards Christ. Kenegdo denotes the idea of equality, a mirror image of a man, but the opposite of him.
As women, we are often declared the “weaker sex,” but this is not how God sees us. He sees us as warrior’s in battle. Women who are strong fortresses with our men, a savior in times of trouble. Jesus had many women that he called to battle. One of these was his own mother, Mary. Mary gave up everything to follow God. She was strong, and able. Ruth and the Proverbs 31 woman are called women of valor. Both women are described using the term ‘chayil’ (virtuous) This term is ALSO a military term uses to describe strength, might, armies, and force.
Ladies between the word EZER and the word CHAYIL, God continually uses military terms to describe women. You are meant to be on the front lines. You are meant to do battle for Christ. You are a strength, a force to be reckoned with. Battle for your kids, battle for your husbands, battle for the Kingdom of God. It is time to do battle for the hearts of our husband’s and kids to follow Jesus Christ and serve HIM.
I have listed seven (Out of 21) of the verses where the word ‘Ezer’ appears for you to look at for reference:
Happy art thou, O Israel: who is like unto thee, O people saved by the LORD, the shield of thy help, and who is the sword of thy excellency! and thine enemies shall be found liars unto thee; and thou shalt tread upon their high places. Deuteronomy 33:29
And the name of the other was Eliezer; for the God of my father, said he, was mine help, and delivered me from the sword of Pharaoh:
Our soul waiteth for the LORD: he is our help and our shield.
O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself; but in me is thine help.
My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.
And I will scatter toward every wind all that are about him to help him, and all his bands; and I will draw out the sword after them.Ezekial 12:14
O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself; but in me is thine help. Hos 13:9