Provided by Dr. David Smith
from the NET Bible

Gen. 2:18
The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a companion for him who corresponds to him.” NET Bible

The English word “helper,” because it can connote so many different ideas, does not accurately convey the connotation of the Hebrew word (’ezer). Usage of the Hebrew term does not suggest a subordinate role, a connotation which English “helper” can have. In the Bible God is frequently described as the “helper,” the one who does for us what we cannot do for ourselves, the one who meets our needs. In this context the word seems to express the idea of an “indispensable companion.” The woman would supply what the man was lacking in the design of creation and logically it would follow that the man would supply what she was lacking, although that is not stated here.

The Hebrew expression (k˙negdo) literally means “according to the opposite of him.” Translations such as “suitable [for]” (NASB, NIV), “matching,” “corresponding to” all capture the idea. (Translations that render the phrase simply “partner” [cf. NEB, NRSV], while not totally inaccurate, do not reflect the nuance of correspondence and/or suitability.) The man’s form and nature are matched by the woman’s as she reflects him and complements him. Together they correspond. In short, this prepositional phrase indicates that she has everything that God had invested in him.

In Gen 3:16 the Lord announces a struggle as part of the curse in the fall,i.e., a conflict between the man and the woman. She will wrongfully desire to control him, but he will dominate her instead. This interpretation also fits the tone of the passage, which is a judgment oracle. The same word appears in Gen 4:7 where it refers to sin’s desire to control and dominate Cain.