Old Testament: Genesis 2:18-25 (Proper 22: Series B)
The Old Testament lesson for this Sunday, October 7, 2018, is from the first book of the Torah, Genesis. The text is Genesis 2:18-25 and centers around creation, especially the creation of woman. This is the second creation account recorded in Scripture and begins with chapter 2:4. It must be said, although somewhat obvious, this is NOT describing a “different” creation than the one laid out in Genesis 1. Rather, we have two distinct patriarchal narratives which deal with and detail God’s creation. The second creation account focuses on man and his relationship to God as the center/crown of His creation. In contrast, the first narrative is a chronological account (day one; day two; etc.). Interesting to note is the second account is more in keeping with the usual “Hebrew” style of recording things and focusing on relationship. In contrast, the first account appeals more to the “Western” mindset. However, there is no real conflict between the two narratives, only a difference of perspective.
The theme of relationship runs strong in this text. First, the relationship between God and Adam, then the relationship between Adam and the living creatures, and, of course, the relationship between man and woman. The church has recognized this for centuries, thus this text is used as a regular reading in marriage ceremonies.
2:18 tAyh/ root: hyh “to be”. This infinitive form is best translated as “should be” or “to be”
ADg.n,K. rz,[E AL-Hf,[/a, This phrase is generally translated as “I will make a helper fit for him,”
but a more complete/fuller translation would be, “I will make a helper corresponding
to him.” The reason for this will become apparent when we deal with verse 23. Ironically,
the verb dgn standing alone is translated as, “to be in opposition to, to contradict”.
However, in this phrase and context it should be understand as one who is opposite of
man but at the same time the corresponding part.
2:19 rc,Yiw; root: rcy “to form; to fashion; to create”. The tense allows for the translation of “and
He formed” or “and He had formed.”
tY;x;-lK “all living creatures; every living animal” (also verse 20)
@A[-lK “all flying creatures; all birds”
tAar.li root: har “to see” Infinitive construct.
hYx; vp,n, “living thing; living creature”
2:20 acm-alo “not found”
2:21 lPeY;w; root: lpn “to fall” Hiphil with a waw consecutive; “He caused to fall”
hmDer.T; “a deep sleep”
!vyYiw; root: !vy “to be asleep; to fall asleep”
wyt[ol.C;mi from: [lce “rib” “from his ribs”
rGos.Yiw: root: rgs “to close; to close up”
2:22 !b,Yiw: root: hnb “to build; to make”
2:23 ym;cme ~c,[, “bone from my bones” “bone of my bones”
YrifB.mi rfbW “and flesh of my flesh”
Returning to the discussion which began in verse 18, the language here in verse 23 supports the idea of corresponding parts. The language of “completeness” works well. Man and woman together are complete. Apart, they are incomplete. The two correspond and form “one flesh” when combined in sexual relationships and as helpmates. Therefore, when a man and woman are joined together in a proper relationship there is an intended/created completeness. In verse 24, with the rest of Scripture as witness, we also can note a foreshadowing of the sacrament of circumcision. Circumcision is the mark of the covenant in the flesh—it is a naming and sealing covenant—yet, women are not circumcised. Where is their participation in the all-important covenant? THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH! The woman shares in the sacrament of her husband because they are one. Together they are complete. For young girls, they are under the circumcision of their father until they are joined in marriage. Then they are of one flesh with their husband—again note verse 24.
2:24 bzy: root: bz[ “to leave; to forsake”
Qb;dw. root: qbd “to cling to; to cleave to”
2:25 ~yMiWr from: ~Ar[ “naked” Plural: “both naked”
WvvBot.yi root: vAb “to be ashamed”
It is important to consider why nakedness and shame are used together in this verse. We remember what follows this verse—the Fall. Suddenly Adam and Eve realize they are naked and they are ashamed. It is too simplistic to suggest being naked is a shameful thing after the Fall, although many have suggested this. In Hebrew, sin, shame, and nakedness are all bound together. Adam and Eve realize they have sinned and they desire to hide themselves and their sin from God. To do this they attempt to cover their nakedness/the shame of sin with fig leaves, but sensing this will not be enough, they also hide in the bushes. Man’s attempt at covering (atoning?) for his own sin fail and so the LORD clothes them with animal skins. This points to two things: first, the sacrificial blood needed to cover/atone for sin; second, only God can provide this covering—man’s feeble attempts only widen the gap between him and his Creator.
As one approaches this text with preaching in mind there are several directions one could go. Certainly, there is always man and woman being joined together in proper relationship—marriage. However, one could also focus more upon how God makes the two “one flesh” by how He takes woman out of man so that they might be reunited in completeness. Of course, there is also the theme of sin, shame, and nakedness as previously discussed.
God bless your preaching!