Verses 18–20

Here we have, I. An instance of the Creator’s care of man and his fatherly concern for his comfort, Gen. 2:18. Though God had let him know that he was a subject, by giving him a command, (Gen. 2:16, 17), yet here he lets him know also, for his encouragement in his obedience, that he was a friend, and a favourite, and one whose satisfaction he was tender of. Observe,

1. How God graciously pitied his solitude: It is not good that man, this man, should be alone. Though there was an upper world of angels and a lower world of brutes, and he between them, yet there being none of the same nature and rank of beings with himself, none that he could converse familiarly with, he might be truly said to be alone. Now he that made him knew both him and what was good for him, better than he did himself, and he said, “It is not good that he should continue thus alone.” (1.) It is not for his comfort; for man is a sociable creature. It is a pleasure to him to exchange knowledge and affection with those of his own kind, to inform and to be informed, to love and to be beloved. What God here says of the first man Solomon says of all men (Eccl. 4:9, 10), that two are better than one, and woe to him that is alone. If there were but one man in the world, what a melancholy man must he needs be! Perfect solitude would turn a paradise into a desert, and a palace into a dungeon. Those therefore are foolish who are selfish and would be place alone in the earth. (2.) It is not for the increase and continuance of his kind. God could have made a world of men at first, to replenish the earth, as he replenished heaven with a world of angels: but the place would have been too strait for the designed number of men to live together at once; therefore God saw fit to make up that number by a succession of generations, which, as God had formed man, must be from two, and those male and female; one will be ever one.

2. How God graciously resolved to provide society for him. The result of this reasoning concerning him was this kind resolution, I will make a help-meet for him; a help like him (so some read it), one of the same nature and the same rank of beings; a help near him (so others), one to cohabit with him, and to be always at hand; a help before him (so others), one that he should look upon with pleasure and delight. Note hence, (1.) In our best state in this world we have need of one another’s help; for we are members one of another, and the eye cannot say to the hand, I have no need of thee, 1 Cor. 12:21. We must therefore be glad to receive help from others, and give help to others, as there is occasion. (2.) It is God only who perfectly knows our wants, and is perfectly able to supply them all, Phil. 4:19. In him alone our help is, and from him are all our helpers. (3.) A suitable wife is a help-meet, and is from the Lord. The relation is then likely to be comfortable when meetness directs and determines the choice, and mutual helpfulness is the constant care and endeavour, 1 Cor. 7:33, 34. (4.) Family-society, if it is agreeable, is a redress sufficient for the grievance of solitude. He that has a good God, a good heart, and a good wife, to converse with, and yet complains he wants conversation, would not have been easy and content in paradise; for Adam himself had no more: yet, even before Eve was created, we do not find that he complained of being alone, knowing that he was not alone, for the Father was with him. Those that are most satisfied in God and his favour are in the best way, and in the best frame, to receive the good things of this life, and shall be sure of them, as far as Infinite Wisdom sees good.

II. An instance of the creatures’ subjection to man, and his dominion over them (Gen. 2:19, 20): Every beast of the field and every fowl of the air God brought to Adam, either by the ministry of angels, or by a special instinct, directing them to come to man as their master, teaching the ox betimes to know his owner. Thus God gave man livery and seisin of the fair estate he had granted him, and put him in possession of his dominion over the creatures. God brought them to him, that he might name them, and so might give, 1. A proof of his knowledge, as a creature endued with the faculties both of reason and speech, and so taught more than the beasts of the earth and made wiser than the fowls of heaven, Job 35:11. And, 2. A proof of his power. It is an act of authority to impose names (Dan. 1:7), and of subjection to receive them. The inferior creatures did now, as it were, do homage to their prince at his inauguration, and swear fealty and allegiance to him. If Adam had continued faithful to his God, we may suppose the creatures themselves would so well have known and remembered the names Adam now gave them as to have come at his call, at any time, and answered to their names. God gave names to the day and night, to the firmament, to the earth, and to the sea; and he calleth the stars by their names, to show that he is the supreme Lord of these. But he gave Adam leave to name the beasts and fowls, as their subordinate lord; for, having made him in his own image, he thus put some of his honour upon him.

III. An instance of the creatures’ insufficiency to be a happiness for man: But (among them all) for Adam there was not found a help meet for him. Some make these to be the words of Adam himself; observing all the creatures come to him by couples to be named, he thus intimates his desire to his Maker:—“Lord, these have all helps meet for them; but what shall I do? Here is never a one for me.” It is rather God’s judgment upon the review. He brought them all together, to see if there were ever a suitable match for Adam in any of the numerous families of the inferior creatures; but there was none. Observe here, 1. The dignity and excellency of the human nature. On earth there was not its like, nor its peer to be found among all visible creatures; they were all looked over, but it could not be matched among them all. 2. The vanity of this world and the things of it; put them all together, and they will not make a help-meet for man. They will not suit the nature of his soul, nor supply its needs, nor satisfy its just desires, nor run parallel with its never-failing duration. God creates a new thing to be a help-meet for man—not so much the woman as the seed of the woman.