I know that there is a lot of doctrine floating around today concerning the identity of woman, the role that Father designed her for, and what happened as a result of the curse. These ideas have stretched to form everything from the idea that women cannot preach, or wear make -up, or pants, to even the idea that women aren’t allowed to talk in the church (yikes!) but are these ideas grounded in the Bible? Is this what YHVH taught?
First, in order to really understand what the heart of the Father is concerning woman, we need to understand how she is introduced in the scriptures. The word used to first describe (Chavvah) Eve, and by proxy all women, was “Help Meet”.
Genesis 2:18 And the LORD YHVH said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.
The Hebrew word used here is “Ezer Kenegdo” and carries a surprising connotation. The word “Ezer” comes from the roots “g-z-r” that originally were guttural sounds but later merged, however the meaning of the word has remained unchanged. The meaning is “salvation”, “to rescue or to save”, or “to be strong” and interestingly it also implies military might and power. In fact, YHVH is mentioned in the Bible as our “Ezer” sixteen times because He is our salvation, help, and strong shield. The term “Kenegdo” means “opposite to” or “in sight of” and details the man who was in solitude in the garden that had no one who was opposite of himself, or mirrored what he was. It carries the connotation of a counterpart. This is YHVH’s definition of woman. When we put these meanings together, we see that what is given is that Woman, the “Ezer Kenegdo” to Adam, was made to be a person mirrored to himself and equal but opposite, made to save through her strength. It is indicative of correspondence, not inequality.
So, Let’s look at what it means to be “an opposite of” Adam.
She is a reflection. Chavvah (or Eve), the woman is this perfectly designed counterbalance for the perfectly designed man. We serve an Elohim that designed us to fit naturally together, with equal weight; but yet have different roles. We complement one another. In the original Hebrew understanding, Chavvah stands with Adam, face to face, designed to work in harmony. She is designed to have a symbiotic relationship with him. She is his strength, a balancing out of the weight on the scales. So, as you can clearly see, it is a misunderstanding of scripture to say that Chavvah (Eve) is somehow less than Ha’Adam (Adam), or subservient, as so many would have us believe. YHVH’s true meaning of this phrase for the woman is laid out for us in Genesis 2:23
“This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.”
It is important to note that the phrase “bone of my bones” is a Hebraic idiom for “family”, “close relative” or ” one of us” and further denotes a standing of equality with a person or within a group or tribe. This is the same meaning we see in the verse where YHVH is telling Abraham that the same rules of Torah are to apply to both the native-born and the sojourner in the land because they are one and the same. Family. Equal. You cannot tell them apart. (See Exodus 12:49 & Leviticus 24:22) Men and women are seen as equals in the eyes of the Father. There is no way to see otherwise.
Still, the belief that YHVH made women subordinate to men persists for many, and we have solid examples of what this actually looks like in practice if we look around. Was man made to abuse woman either physically or emotionally? Was man made to lord over woman for any reason? Was man made to be first while the woman was made to be second? Absolutely not. Does the Bible teach us this? Would YHVH, who loves ALL of His creation want this? Again the answer is no. Instead, man and woman are two halves of a whole.
To further my point, let’s look at the scriptures and Yeshua.
Yeshua didn’t abide by the idea that women were subordinate when He made the Samaritan woman at the well the very first Evangelist in human history, and He didn’t abide by this when He appointed Mary Magdalene the first preacher in human history either. Did He sin by going against what YHVH had appointed for women, or are we misunderstanding the scriptures? Yeshua was without sin, and if we think that YHVH taught female oppression then we are in error. In fact, part of what the scriptures have taught us is that if at any time there is an entire group of people that is stationed unequivocally over another group of people for any discernible reason, you do not have YHVH’s law, you have slavery. To say that YHVH made women subservient to men is absurd, and it vastly limits both the Elohim we serve and His ability to create harmoniously. In truth, what YHVH did do was create a situation wherein a woman- when she becomes a wife- is meant to submit to her husband as a demonstration of the relationship between Christ and His bride. This is the only time that this applies, and it does not mean that we are to be subservient to our husbands. It means that we are to allow him to be the King of his castle, while we take our rightful place as Queen. This is exactly why we are told from the word that upon a marriage covenant the two become one flesh. Never separated but one and the same- and Paul tells us that within marriage we are called to submit to one another in agreement.
We can also understand from the word of YHVH that spiritually speaking there is no difference between men and women (Galatians 3:28), and that has to mean that, yes, women can and do preach. They can Evangelize. They can lead. The can bear children. They can submit to their husband lovingly. And they can lead countries (see Judges chapters 4 & 5). Women are to be equal to their male counterparts, and vice versa. We have different roles within a family unit, but we are intrinsically valuable and equal both in the world and for the purpose of the gospel. When we misunderstand the scriptures, or we take a part of them out of context and base a doctrine or belief system off of only part of the information, we invite division and a falsehood.
For more insight on gender and YHVH’s intent for women, see my teaching entitled “Why do we care about certain women?” on this blog.