What does it mean that a wife is supposed to be a helpmeet/ help meet?

The word "helpmeet" comes from the King James translation of Genesis 2:18: "And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him." Over time "help meet" has morphed into one word that has come to be a Christian phrase for the role a woman fulfills in marriage. "Helpmeet" is also sometimes used as a synonym for "helpmate."

The ESV puts Genesis 2:18 this way: "Then the Lord God said, 'It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.'" The NKJV has "a helper comparable" and the NIV uses "a helper suitable." The Hebrew word translated as "helper" is `ezer. In other parts of the Bible `ezer is used in reference to God's help, giving a clue to the kind of help that a wife gives (Deuteronomy 33:26; Psalm 20:2; 70:5; 115:9–11; 121:1). Being created in the image of God, a wife does not offer the kind of help a tool or an animal gives; her help is similar to the kind that God can give. The Hebrew word translated as "meet" or "fit" or "suitable" (neged) means "a counterpart" or "a mate" or "corresponding to" or "in front of" or "parallel to." This refers to something that is different from Adam, but is within the same purpose. The help is suitable, or fitting, because it corresponds to him. The concept of a helpmeet gives the picture of parallel lines: the husband and wife are not the same, but they follow the same path. Eve was made as a suitable companion to Adam. A wife being a helpmeet is an honorable and valued position, not one of inferiority.

God deemed everything He created "good", but after God created Adam He said that it was not good that he should be alone. Humans are social beings. God created Eve for Adam as a companion, as a mate, and as someone to complement him. As a woman, Eve had different characteristics and strengths from Adam that would aid him in fulfilling God's calling on his life. Adam could not "Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth" (Genesis 1:28) on his own. And God, knowing Adam's character intimately, was able to make just the right woman in disposition, personality, and character to help him.

God created man and woman to work together as a team in His purpose for them, complementing one another in our various strengths and weaknesses. In a societal sense, both men and women are essential and valuable. When speaking specifically of marriage, God created a husband and wife to live together as one flesh (Genesis 2:24). Of course, not every man or woman will get married, and Paul talks about the good opportunities for serving God that come with celibacy (1 Corinthians 7:7–9). However, within the marriage the concept of a wife as a helpmeet essentially means that a wife should be walking in a way that would help her husband and not hinder him.

Related Truth:

What does the Bible teach about marriage?

What is the purpose of marriage?

In marriage how do the two become one flesh?

What does it mean to leave and cleave?

What does the Bible say about being a godly wife?

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