What IS an Ezer Kenegdo?
Well, to put it simply…the word translates from the Hebrew as ‘helpmate’. Oh my how that is such a poor translation! Especially when you remove the context from the Hebrew!
This will be an ongoing subject with me as I feel it is very, VERY important to understand. Without a correct understanding of what a ‘helpmate’ actually means from HIS perspective, well, it’s like everything else, it simply comes down to man’s interpretation. And as we all know….that can be disastrous!
So, let’s take the first step. Where in the scriptures do you find this word? Turn with me, if you will, to Genesis 2:18.
‘And the Lord God said, ‘It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.’ (NKJV)
Ok…to be perfectly honest…when I read this verse I would always cringe! When read in the 21’st century (and I dare say not too long from the original spoken word) it sounds like someone that is a servant, or subservient to the ‘man’. Now, I don’t have any problem with being a ‘helper‘ as long as the ‘helped‘ recognizes the value and strength and importance of the helper. But, unfortunately, too often this verse has been used to degrade women, to ‘put them in their place‘, and to make them subservient to the other gender. Literally, a lot of abuse happens because of this understanding. That is NOT what the Holy One had in mind! Let’s go deeper.
Let’s look at the word ‘ezer‘ and examine how it is used throughout the scripture (if we could read Hebrew!). First of all, we find the meaning above, referring to the woman. Doesn’t really tell us much, does it? It simply says she is a ‘helper’ – but if you read one word further it says COMPARABLE. Did you catch that? COMPARABLE! So what does that say to you? Let’s look at some synonyms from the Merriam-Webster Dictionary:
Synonyms for comparable
akin, alike, analogous, cognate, connate, correspondent, corresponding, ditto, like, matching, parallel, resemblant, resembling, similar, such, suchlike
Mmmm….interesting, don’t you think? So this word ‘helper‘ means that something is ‘like‘, similar, resembling, ditto, matching….the helped. To me…it means equal. Both man and woman are equal – they may have different qualities and gifts – but those are equal – comparable – to each other. And we can all agree that both man and woman, or all of mankind, or equal in the eyes of our King! Can we not?
So, let’s turn to the Hebrew meaning. In Hebrew Ezer has originally two meanings, depending on the pronunciation: to rescue/to save and to be strong. We can find this word, EZER used 21 times in the Original Covenant (Old Testament). There are three ways in which this word is used throughout the scriptures: as ‘woman’ being the helper, as the nations who aided Israel as the helper, and it is used as God when he aides Israel.
If you look at all the verses containing EZER, you will notice something very peculiar. All seem to refer to ezer in a military sense. Ezer is … yes, a warrior!
So, one last point – what does KENEGDO mean? Simply put, it means ‘opposite to’, or ‘corresponding to’. So, in truth, the helpmate, or Ezer Kenegdo (as the Creator called her) is a warrior comparable to man. No better, no less – but equal and uniquely created!