After the man was placed into his new home, he was given the second commandment in Holy Scripture, the first being “to be fruitful and multiply”.
Then the Lord God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it. The Lord God commanded the man, saying,
From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die. (Genesis 2:15-17).– Genesis 2:15-17
By his act of creation, YHVH had full authority over his creation because all of creation was His, and by giving the man his command, He demonstrated that He was the Superior, and the man was subordinate to Him. Thus YHVH Himself was and is the First Patriarch. As such, He provided the man work to do, and food for his sustenance, with the specific limitation not to eat from the “tree of the knowledge of good and evil”. At this time, the man had no need of clothing, so he was naked. I am pointing this out now because, far in the future, Yeshua would say that
…do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? … But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.– Matthew 6:25,30-33
Parallel to this, each wife can expect from her husband three things: food, clothing, and conjugal rights (see Exodus 21:10). Speaking of a wife, at the time that the man was given this command, the woman had not yet been created.
YHVH chose an indirect means to demonstrate that no suitable helper ( עזר, H5828 meaning “one who helps”) was yet in existence by having the man name all of the beasts of the earth and the birds of the sky. Then the man was put to sleep, one of his ribs extracted, and a new being created around the rib. After the man woke up, YHVH brought her to him. Letting the man speak for himself,
This is now bone of my bones,– Genesis 2:23
and flesh of my flesh;
She shall be called Woman,
Because she was taken out of Man.
The man had just exercised his authority to name the beasts and birds, and he now uses that same authority to name the new created being “woman”; he had authority over her. The Hebrew word translated as woman is אששה H802 which has the meanings of “woman, wife, female”. The next verse makes it clear that the woman belonged to the man; she was his possession.
For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.– Genesis 2:24
The Hebrew word that is translated to “his wife” is אשתו which is the possessive form of אששה. Literally, the Hebrew word is “his woman”, but because the context is of the first marriage, it is translated “his wife”.
YHVH made His man, and also made a woman but gave her to his man, so now the possessive order is YHVH → man → woman. This is why Paul, millennia later, wrote
[f]or man does not originate from woman, but woman from man; for indeed man was not created for the woman’s sake, but woman for the man’s sake– I Corinthians 11:8-9
The purpose of this series is to highlight the awesome responsibility that men are given to make good choices, and the terrible consequences to themselves and their families and descendants for bad choices.
Unless otherwise noted, all scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, NASB.