For my Daughter on the eve of her wedding

Ezer (Azar)

We have almost all been to a wedding ceremony sometime in our lives. The bride and groom come up to the front. For most Christian weddings there is a pastor. During the ceremony the pastor will give some sort of message which frequently includes quotes from Genesis chapter 2.

Now, I only remember one thing from my first wedding ceremony. It was in a Baptist church building in Port Neches, Texas. The pastor was reading from the KJV in Genesis chapter 2. I was in high school at the time and some family friends were getting married and I ‘had to go’. Starting off the pastor read “it is not good for man to be alone, I will make him a help meet.” That was it. The words ‘help meet’ reverberated in my head as I repeated them over and over. In fact, I did not realize they were two words. I thought it was one word for many years. The words stopped my mind. I could not make any sense of the two words. I had never heard anything like it before. I just decided it was some KJV gibberish that would never be of any concern to me for a long time. However, that time arrived when my son was married. I again reviewed Genesis, this time reading multiple different versions or translations of the Bible, and they all used this same word Helper which again did not make sense in the context i.e. Adam was alone so God made him a helper to take care of a garden?!?!

Then about six months before my daughter was to get married, I read some Jewish writings and they use the word “ally” instead of “helper”. This usage immediately sparked my interest again and started a study of this ancient Hebrew word ezer (from the verb azar).

Paleo-Hebrew

The union spoken of in Genesis 2:18, 20, not only speaks of the events of that moment, but also anticipates the future nature of the relationship between Adam and Eve by the Hebrew word used by the Holy Spirit. “Ezer” , a form of the verb azar (to help).

Now remember, Genesis was written by Holy Spirit inspired men ‘after the fact’. I believe the text in Genesis is meant to perform several functions: i.e., to record, to instruct, to explain, to illustrate, to prophesy, to reveal something of Himself, His Son, and the Holy Spirit. 

The words the Holy Spirit choose to use are brought forward to us now in translation. However, to gain a better understanding we will go back to the prime root word used, “azar”. The old testament terms for Helper are all based on the Hebrew verb azar; to help. The reason God made the woman was because “it was not good for man to be alone”. And He made a helper, but what kind of helper?

The Hebrew word azar is a primary root that occurs in all the ancient Semitic languages. In the old testament azar is used alone and in compound word approximately 80 times, generally indicating some sort of military assistance. Azar is used in a similar way in the other ancient Semitic languages. Thus some Jewish sources will translate ezer (from the verb azar) a as “ally”:

Genesis 2:18 “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him an ally who is like him”. As in a military ally. To continue our study of this word we will now look at the three letters which form it, in Hebrew, ayin, zayin, and reysh . Ancient semitic alphabets started out as pictures of various common objects, such as an ox, or a house. The individual letters were combined to form ‘word pictures’ to facilitate communication. Biblical Hebrew was most likely an offshoot of ancient Aramaic. over time the letters have changed shape but the original picture meanings are still there.

The first letter is ‘Ayin’, which in ancient Hebrew word picture means an ‘eye’. The ancient symbol was a circle or eye. The pictogram of an ‘eye’ symbolizes; to look or see, or watch for, to understand or comprehend, to be seen.

The second letter is ‘Zayin’, which in ancient Hebrew means a ‘weapon’. The ancient symbol was an ‘axe’. The pictogram of the ‘axe’ symbolizes, a weapon. Used in Hebrew words like armed, armed forces, armament.

The last letter is ‘Reysh’, which in ancient Hebrew means a ‘head’. The ancient symbol was like the number 9 . The pictograph of a head symbolizes; a person, a beginning, something which is most important, something raised up or elevated as the highest, a top, the highest chief.

Now lets try to put this relationship all together. Before the fall, the woman is:

1. Unique (not like the animals)

2. Made by God (man was created from nothing)

3. Companion (man should not be alone)

4. Divine (with the Spirit before the fall and now with the Holy Spirit in Messiah)

5. Ally (to give support, remain strong, to remain ready, to be strong, to come to his aid, to do spiritual battle with, supporter, deliverer, protector (pro-active) , defender, a friend, partisan, bodyguard, succorer.

6. Mirrors Messiah (the Lord is the ultimate Helper)

I personally believe that God was giving a message and prophecy when He picked this word Ezer (azar) to introduce Eve. He knew our future and our future needs. You might have a different phrase to describe Eve, however, I would use the phrase ‘Divinely appointed prayer warrior’.

Comments (1)
  • It is a blessed daughter indeed who receives such loving counsel on the eve of her special day!

    Yes, God is our helper, too. If so, there is no inferiority which can be read into this word, as is often the case.

    Marriages must be strengthened! If marriages fail, the home will fail. And of course, the prospects of a home church will fail, too.

    May God have mercy upon us.

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