Please help us share God's truths and hope in Christ. A donation of any amount is greatly needed and appreciated.

What-is-a-helpmeet

Q.  I’ve been told that Eve was a helpmeet to Adam and that wives are to be helpmeets to their husbands. What is a helpmeet?

A. The word “helpmeet” comes from the King James Version (KJV) of Genesis 2:18, in which God tells why He created woman.

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.

A Helpmeet?

While there are clearly two words in the KJV translation of this verse, many Christians have joined the words together into one word, and they use “helpmeet” as a noun and as a title for Eve.  But is that correct to do?

In Genesis 2:18 the Hebrew word translated “help”  is ‘ezer or ay’-zer.  It means “aid or help.”  Many other Bibles translate this word as “helper” to describe both the person and the purpose of Eve.

The next word in Genesis 2:18, in the King James Bible, is “meet.”  This is the 1611 English translation of the Hebrew word “neged” (or neh’-ghed).  Strong’s Dictionary defines it as “a front, i.e. part opposite; spec. a counterpart, or mate; usually (adv., espec. with prep.) over against or before:–about, (over) against, aloof, far (off), from, over, presence, other side, sight, to view.”  Many Bible translations translate this word as “suitable” and the New American Standard Bible footnotes this word with, “Lit. corresponding to.”

(NASB) Genesis 2:18  Then the LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.”

So why did the King James translators, in 1611, select the word “meet” in their translation of the Hebrew word “need?”  The 1828 Webster’s Dictionary provides the answer.  Many words in 1828 (and therefore previously in 1611) had a different meaning than they do in our day.  In 1828 the word “meet” was commonly used as an adjective, to imply suitable.

1828 Webster’s Dictionary

MEET, adjective [Latin convenio.] Fit; suitable; proper; qualified; convenient; adapted, as to a use or purpose.

While there are verb forms of the word “meet” defined in the 1828 Webster’s Dictionary, the first listing is the adjective form of the word.  This indicates it was most frequently used as an adjective in 1828.  Our current dictionaries list the adjective definition last, indicating that it is not commonly used as an adjective.

The 1828 Webster’s Dictionary is a great resource.  It’s one all Christians should be familiar with and it is very beneficial in teaching children a Christian worldview.  Children must understand how our language has changed over the centuries and the influence of Christianity on past culture–much of which we are losing in our day.

The 1828 Webster’s Dictionary not only gives an understanding of words found in older Bible translations, but it also includes 1611 KJV Scripture in its definitions of the words.  Isn’t it interesting that in the early 1800s, God’s Word was used to instruct and teach?  Sadly, in our time, the Bible is banished from the classroom.

The following Scripture verses are listed along with the definition of the word “meet” in the 1828 Webster’s Dictionary. Note that in the context of these verses, the English word “meet” was used to imply “suitable for.”

Ye shall pass over armed before your brethren, the children of Israel, all that are meet for the war. Deuteronomy 3:18.

It was meet that we should make merry–Luke 15:32.

Bring forth fruits meet for repentance. Matthew 3:8.

Helpmeet or Helper?

Do not jump to the conclusion that the KJV is wrong in its translation of “help meet” in Genesis 2:18.  The old-English language is NOT wrong, but it can be confusing to many in the 21st century.  Therefore, we must seek to understand it in the context of 1611, when it was written.

Additionally…regarding the use of the word “helpmeet” in our time, “helpmeet” is not really a word. Helpmeet is not found in the 1828 Webster’s Dictionary as a noun, and you won’t find it in academic dictionaries online.

Because the word has been popularized from the 1611 KJV, there are a couple online resources that define it as one word.  Note however that both define it as meaning a suitable helper and one declares it to be a “misunderstanding of the phrase…a helper suitable.”

dictionary.com — Origin of helpmeet: from the phrase an help meet for him i.e., a help suitable for him, in the Authorized Version of the Bible (1611)

thefreedictionary.com —  help·meet  (hĕlp′mēt′) n. A helpmate. [From misunderstanding of the phrase an help meet for him, a helper suitable for him (Adam), in Genesis 2:18, referring to Eve.]

We must clearly communicate God’s truths when sharing biblical knowledge.  Therefore, it is better to explain that Eve was created to be a helper for Adam, a helper who was suitable for him.  However, if you prefer to call Eve a “helpmeet,” explain what the word means.

Again, the KJV is not wrong.  Just remember that in 1611 some English words were used differently than today. There are many other examples of this. Be aware of how words have changed over the centuries so you are best prepared to explain and effectively share God’s Word with others.

<*}}}><

Got Questions? We have Reasons for Hope* Jesus!

GQRB-all3books A great gift for any believer who wants to know Jesus better and love Him more.

Reasons Books 1, 2 & 3

Come now, and let us reason together... At Reasons for Hope we invite our community to ask questions.  Each book answers 30 of those questions with answers and reasoning from God’s Word.

Buy PRINT books or eBOOKS

 

All proceeds from products at the store support the ministry outreach of Reasons for Hope* Jesus.

 

*******

Jesus is the Reason this Ministry Exists

We continue to reach people worldwide with the truths of God's Word and the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Your generosity is both a blessing and encouragement. Our mission is to glorify God by equipping, encouraging, and empowering YOU to understand the Bible and grow in faith. If our online resources have blessed you, please support Reasons for Hope* Jesus. Our ministry outreach has grown significantly and . . .

Please support Reasons for Hope* Jesus with a donation of $5, $10, $20, or more. A donation of any amount is needed and greatly appreciated.

CLICK TO DONATE
to Reasons for Hope*Jesus(a 501c3 Ministry)
Use a Credit Card or PayPal for safe, secure giving.

*******

***A Hidden Message in Psalm 23?***  

Hidden in the six verses of Psalm 23 are 11 names for Jesus.  When you subscribe to our newsletter, we’ll send you The Names of God in Psalm 23 PDF that reveals all 11 names and Scripture verses of comfort and hope (link will be sent in your confirmation email).

A Room with a View of Eternity—The Last Will & Testament of Jesus Christ   Take a seat at the Master's table. Learn about the riches He gives to all who are His. This book will bless and encourage you, give you hope, and help you live in the joy of your salvation and the riches of Christ that are yours.

The Top Ten Got Questions? in 2021 

  1. The Meaning of NUMBERS in the Bible?
  2. The Meaning of COLORS in the Bible?
  3. How are the Shepherd’s ROD and STAFF Different?
  4. How long did JOB SUFFER?
  5. What is the Significance of the Wise Men's THREE GIFTS? And were they kings? 
  6. Did The Wise Men Arrive 12 DAYS AFTER JESUS’ BIRTH? Or Was It Much Later?
  7. Which Old Testament Book Did JESUS QUOTE most often?
  8. How Did the Wise Men Know This Was the Messiah and KNOW TO FOLLOW HIS STAR?
  9. Did Jesus Fight Satan to Take Back the KEYS of Death and Hell?
  10. Was Jesus CRUCIFIED on Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday?

This is not a Got Questions? article. But it's so popular it ranked among the top pages viewed:

More Popular Got Questions & Articles

 

Reasons for Hope* Jesus video banner

TOP TEN Videos from Reasons for Hope* Jesus
  1. Memorial Day BAGPIPES TRIBUTE: Amazing Grace 
  2. RISE AND SHINE and Give God the Glory, Glory!
  3. PAUL HARVEY: THE BIRDCAGE
  4. WERE YOU THERE When They Crucified My Lord?
  5. PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN: A SOLDIER'S PLEDGE
  6. JOHN WAYNE ~ WHY I LOVE AMERICA
  7. Hark! the Herald Angels Sing -- CHARLIE BROWN Christmas
  8. THE LEGEND OF THE CANDY CANE - A Christmas Story to Share 
  9. Erwin Lutzer - We Will Not Be SILENCED
  10. Jimmy Stewart - Nativity Scene Prayer: Mr. Krueger's Christmas

*****************

Please help us share God's truths and hope in Christ. A donation of any amount is greatly needed and appreciated.

SubscribeNow!

Yes, send me answers to interesting and challenging questions about Jesus and the Bible.  Help me get equipped and be encouraged so I am empowered to know, live, and share my faith.  <*}}}><

 

Get equipped with knowledge!

Be encouraged in hope!

Live empowered with love! 

You have Successfully Subscribed!