CLAIM: Eve is said to be Adam’s “helper.” Is this an example of how the Bible is gender biased?
Walter Kaiser: “The customary translation of the two words ‘ezer kenegdo as “helper fitting him” is almost certainly wrong. Recently R. David Freedman has pointed out that the Hebrew word ‘ezer is a combination of two roots: ‘-z’r meaning “to rescue, to save” and ‘g-z-r meaning “to be strong.” …the case that begins to build is that we can be sure that ezer means “strength” or “power” whenever it is used in parallelism with words for majesty or other words for power such as ‘oz or ‘uzzo. In fact, the presense of two names for one kind, Azariah and Uzziah (both referring to God’s strength), makes it abundantly clear that the root ‘ezer meaning “strength” was known in Hebrew.” (See Deut. 33:26, 29)
“Therefore I suggest that we translate Genesis 2:18 as “I will make a power [or strength] corresponding to man.” Freedman even suggests on the basis of later Hebrew that the second word in the Hebrew expression found in this verse should be rendered equal to him. If this is so, then God makes for the man a woman fully his equal and fully his match. In this way, the man’s loneliness will be assuaged… This line of reasoning which stresses full equality is continued in Genesis 2:23 where Adam says of Eve: “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.” The idiomatic sense of this phrase bone of my bones is a “very close relative,” “one of us” or in effect “our equal.” …What God had intended then was to make a “power” or “strength” for the man who would in every way “correspond to him” or even “be his equal.”
‘Ezer means helper. Used in 2 Chronicles 28:16 and Psalm 121:1-2 as a military ally.