CLAIM: When God created Adam, he said, “I will make him a helper suitable for him” (Gen. 2:18). Many feminist critics of the Bible find this offensive. Are women merely “helpers” for men?
RESPONSE: The term “helper” seems pejorative in the English language, but this is only because of a mistranslation of the original Hebrew. The Hebrew word ‘ezer (“helper”) comes from two roots. (1) ‘-z-r means “rescue, to save” and (2) ‘g-z-r means “to be strong.” These root words are used in Deuteronomy to modify God himself! For instance, “There is none like the God of Jeshurun, who rides the heavens to your help (‘-z-r), and through the skies in His majesty” (Deut. 33:26; c.f. v.29). Waltke writes, “The word helper, used for God sixteen of the nineteen times it appears in the Old Testament, signifies the woman’s essential contribution, not inadequacy.”
Therefore, this term “helper” should not be seen as condescending; instead, it shows the strength of women in their correspondence to men. Westermann observes, “Gen 2 is unique among the creation myths of the whole of the Ancient Near East in its appreciation of the meaning of woman, i.e., that human existence is a partnership of man and woman.” At the very least, this passage shows that men need the help!
For further reading, see our earlier article “Christianity and Women.”
 Kaiser, Walter C. Hard Sayings of the Old Testament. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1988. 24.
 Waltke, B. K., & Fredricks, C. J. (2001). Genesis: a commentary (p. 88). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
 Westermann, Claus. Genesis. 2 vols. Neukirchener Vluyn: Neukirchener, 1981–83. 232. Cited in Sailhamer, J. H. (1990). Genesis. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers (Vol. 2, p. 47). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.