Adam’s Search For A Mate
Genesis 2:19 must be placed in context. All the events of Creation had been playing out like a finely tuned symphony. And the chorus of the music sounds out “It is good.” (1:4, 1:10, 1:12, 1:18, 1:21, 1:25, and the movement hits a climax of “very good” in 1:31.) The food was good; the gold was good (2:9; 2:12). You can almost hear the sound of the record scratching when Genesis 2:18 provides the contrast: “NOT GOOD!!” It is “not good” for man to be alone. The status of “not good,” and that the solution to find a help-meet for Adam is the primary sub-theme of Genesis 2:18-24.
The entirety of Genesis 2:18-24 takes place on the sixth day of creation. To review the context of 2:19, it is the sixth day of creation, Adam had just been created a few hours earlier the same day, and Adam is yet alone. I think most Bible readers think of the name-the-animals segment as a distraction from his search for a help-meet, or perhaps a different story altogether from the account of Adam’s search. But this was no diversion, and the animals all took part in Adam’s search.
When the beasts and the fowl were placed before Adam, Adam was not naming the beasts for the purpose of giving the animals names. But God placed the animals before Adam in order that Adam might go on record as rejecting all other species unsuitable for a “help meet.” That is, he was cooperating with God in identifying what was NOT GOOD yet about God’s perfect creation. God had one more task before Him before He could enter His seventh-day rest.
Still on the sixth day of creation, when God placed the woman before Adam, all readable English translations understate Adam’s reaction. The tone cannot be communicated without resorting to paraphrase. Young is correct in translating “This is the proper step! bone of my bone, and flesh of my flesh!” The Hebrew text reads “This step,” or “This footstep,” or “This iteration now before me.” “This time you got it right, God!” In this case, there is no difficulty translating any word. Getting it to make sense can be tricky. Among a translator's highest fears is providing a translation that is technically sound but confuses rather than illuminates. So most versions omit the noun and reading as “This [no noun] is bone….” It is a safe technique. But it significantly tones down the excitement Adam experienced.
Placing the woman before Adam was the next iteration in the process of finding a help meet, and it blew Adam’s mind! A suitable paraphrase might read, “WOW God!! Yes! This one!”