’Iššāh [and] Chawwāh
Today’s words will not please the militant feminists of our day, but God has done more for women than the so-called “feminist movement” could even dream of. Adam actually gave two names to the woman that God provided for him. The first, of course, was Woman (Gen_2:23), the Hebrew ’Iššāh (H802), which Adam himself defined as “taken out of Man.” She is, quite literally, a part of man. (See February 8 for another use of ’iššāh.)
While Greek, Roman, and Jewish culture all held women in low regard, God and His Word hold them in the highest. The OT specifically teaches that women are spiritually equal to men. The Mosaic Law was given to all Israel, women as well as men (Deu_1:1). Both were to teach it to their children (Deu_6:4-7; Pro_6:20). The protection of the law applied equally to women (cf. Exo_21:28-32). Women had inheritance rights (Num_36:1-12). Men and women alike participated in the Jewish religious feasts (Exo_12:3; Deu_16:9-15). The single greatest spiritual vow, the Nazirite vow, was open to both men and women (Num_6:2). Women were involved in spiritual service (Exo_38:8; Neh_7:67). Nor did God hesitate to deal directly with women (Gen_3:13; Gen_16:7-13; Jdg_13:3).
The second name Adam gave this Woman was Eve, a name that should truly bless the heart of every woman. It is the Hebrew Chawwāh (H2332), which is related to chāyāh (H2421, “to be alive”) and Adam expounds as “the mother of all living” (Gen_3:20), as she gave birth (life) to the entire human race (Gen_4:1-2). What a truth! Every wife is both an ’iššāh, who is dependent on a man for her living, and a Chawwāh, on whom every man is dependent for his life. The warm-hearted Walt Disney movie The Lion King contained a song titled “The Circle of Life,” but what we see here is the real circle of life. And God did (and continues to do) all this through one institution, marriage.
To each dear, godly lady who might be reading this, may God richly bless you as you bring life into this world for His glory.
Scriptures for Study: Read the verses mentioned in today’s study, meditating on the place God has given women and the implications of that truth.