An excerpt from The Reverend Dr. LeAnn Flesher’s excellent sermon on Sunday. Clearly, the traditional interpretation of some often used texts is in order –
The Hebrew word translated as “helper” is ezer (help, a help, helper). This word is found 6 times in the Old Testament—twice in Genesis 2 and 1 time each in Deut 33:7, Ps 89:20, Isa 30:5, and Dan 11:34.
From this little word, only 3 letters in the Hebrew Bible, a long standing, highly developed tradition has evolved; a tradition that shifted the translation from “help” to “help meet” in the KJV and eventually to “helpmate” and proceeded to define the latter term, “helpmate” as one that is subordinate to her husband and expected to obey the wishes and commands of her husband. In other words, the tradition has developed in such a way as to suggest that the Hebrew word ezer ought to be understood as one who is subordinate.
Let’s take a closer look at that Hebrew word: ezer. One means for determining the full meaning and significance of a word is to study how it is used in other contexts. For example, ezer is used in the four additional OT texts follows:
In Deut 33, before going to his death Moses gives his final blessing to the Israelite tribes and prays “O LORD give heed to Judah and be a help against his adversaries.
In Psa 89:20 the LORD says of king David “I have set the help (crown) on one who is mighty”
In Isa 30:5 we find a verse that spoke against Egypt who was not a help in Israel’s battle against Assyria
In Dan 11:34 speaks of the “wise ones” receiving help from the Maccabees during the time of the persecution of Antiochus Epiphanes IV in the second century BCE.
To summarize: this is the list of entities that could or were asked to be a help in the OT: God (YHWH), King David, Egypt, the Maccabees.
Do these sound like subordinates to you?
No, the word ezer in fact does not suggest subordination, rather it suggests (pause) salvation!
The “A Woman’s Place Is In the Pulpit” series concludes this coming Sunday our Minister-in-Residence, Sandra Lee will be our preacher.
Prayers of the Congregation
- All who are grieving
- Dave Gattey (Alta Bates Hospital)
- Alice Edmondson (health concerns)
- Thanksgiving with Declan Brown that he is emerging from the valley of profound grief
- Dr. Aaron Hopkins as he prepares for an advanced certification exam
- Karen Hopkins for her brother’s mother-in-law (health concerns)
- The ministry of the Oakland Community Organizations
- The ministry of the Interfaith Council of Alameda County
- The ministry of Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity
- Ann Fields for her brother, Ezra
- Thanksgiving with Peggy Rogers-Tamayo for the improved health of Robert Ward
- Carolyn Matthews for her daughter, Joanna
- Sandra Dunn (health)
- Dayle Scott (health)
- Marian Ott (health)
- Kay Baxter for Jamie and Stacey
- LCC Teachers Joni and Terecita (health)
- Pastor Tanner and her sister Lori as they participate in the LA Marathon in memory of nephew/son Gavin
- The city of Austin, Texas in the face of three package bomb attacks
- The city of Yountville, the Veterans Home and the Pathways Agency as they mourn the hostage taking and murders of last Friday
- Seafarers Ministry Swedish Pancake Breakfast, Saturday 10:30
- ABSW Immigration Symposium, Saturday, 9:00
- Stand and Sing for Justice, Sunday following worship
- LABC Hunger Task Force Bake Sale, Sunday following worship
- Hallie Randel and friends in concert, Sunday at 12:30
From a Letter to the United States Department of Justice from the 36 Sanctuary Congregations in Northern California – We denounce the racist and demonizing mischaracterization of immigrant communities, including those who have a past conviction. Those who have past convictions have paid their debt to society and are a vital part of our families and communities. We believe in transformation and that no one should be separated from their family, and deported to a place they hardly know.