3.9) A Helpmate was shown to Adam before Eve

We are not finished with the evidences for a previous helpmate in Ge 2:18.  Perhaps the most provocative evidence for Lilith in the Bible comes in the second half of the verse.  As shown in the literal translation of Table 3‑8, the literal Hebrew concludes with an amazing statement.  It states that a helpmate was shown to Adam before Eve existed.  The key word leading to this interpretation is k’neged’v (w:dgn:k).  It literally means “as shown before him.”  The root word is neged or its sister nagad (dgn – Strongs 5048, 5046).  Neged means “before”, as in being in front of something.  Nagad means “to show.”  Neged and nagad are essentially the same word with different implied shades of meaning.  When something is placed neged (before) a person, it is nagad (shown) unto him.  K’neged’v is the neged root prefixed with a kahf (k) inseparable preposition meaning “as” and suffixed by a vahv (w) singular masculine pronominal suffix meaning “him.”  Thus k’neged’v literally means “as shown him” or “as [set] before him.”  Perhaps it is best to just combine both shades of meaning into a composite translation, “as shown before him.”  

as shown before him
a help
for him
I shall make

Table 3‑8: A Transliteration of Ge 2:18, Part 2 (View Pic)

As seen in the literal translation below and the word-by-word breakdown in Table 3‑9, the phrase “a help as shown before him” is used again in Ge 2:20. 

Ge 2:20 (KJV)

And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.

as shown before him
a help
was found
But for the man

Table 3‑9: A Transliteration of Ge 2:20 (View Pic)

The use of k’neged’v in verses 18 and 20 has long puzzled translators and commentators.  Although the word’s literal meaning is simple enough to understand, its implication is perplexing.  The literal Hebrew implies that Adam had personally seen a previous mate right in front of his face.  Traditional interpreters go to great lengths to explain this.  They are forced to revert to tortured Hebrew and allegory to explain the literal Hebrew.  The KJV goes so far as to completely ignore the word in its translation of both verses.  Many commentators hold that k’neged’v indicates that Adam’s helpmate would be before him, near, close, and personal.  However, these explanations would really only make sense with the absence of the kahf preposition.  Adam Clark attempts to explain k’neged’v as implying that Eve would be standing before or opposite to Adam in the sense of being “one like” or “as himself.” [1]  However, having k’neged’v to connote this allegorical meaning is tortured Hebrew.  Rashi argues a similar meaning for the word, in that it indicated “opposite” and “opposed to him.”  Rashi explains that this meant that “if he is worthy she shall be a help to him; if he is unworthy she shall be opposed to him, to fight him.”  This suffers similar problems to Clarke’s translation, and provides a completely unsubstantiated claim for what the word implies. 

All explanations outside of the Lilith legend fail to address the literal Hebrew of verses 18 and 20.  Those passages are clear that God was going to make for Adam “a help as shown before him.”  This implies that before Eve even existed, a helpmate stood before Adam and was shown to him.  Besides Lilith, nothing can explain this previous woman. 

[1] Complete Commentary to the Old Testament, Adam Clark.