Genesis 2:20 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 2:20, NIV: "So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals. But for Adam no suitable helper was found."

Genesis 2:20, ESV: "The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him."

Genesis 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."

Genesis 2:20, NASB: "The man gave names to all the livestock, and to the birds of the sky, and to every animal of the field, but for Adam there was not found a helper suitable for him."

Genesis 2:20, NLT: "He gave names to all the livestock, all the birds of the sky, and all the wild animals. But still there was no helper just right for him."

Genesis 2:20, CSB: "The man gave names to all the livestock, to the birds of the sky, and to every wild animal; but for the man no helper was found corresponding to him."

What does Genesis 2:20 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

In the previous verse, God brought the animals to the man in order for him to name them. Whatever the man called them, God allowed that to stand as their name. This is a sign of great honor, since naming something in biblical times was a sign of ownership and authority. God also seems to be taking pleasure in watching man use the intellect and creativity which makes him unique in creation (Genesis 1:26-27). The man gives names to all the livestock, birds, and wild animals.

And then, in this verse, the Bible calls the man by his name for the first time: Adam. Up until now, this unique creature has been referred to as hā' ā'dām, literally meaning "the man." This name reflects the dust from which we were formed: the Hebrew word for "ground" is adamah. Here, however, the first human being is simply referred to as ā'dām, literally "Man," now taking on the nature of a personal name.

The story-sense of verses 19 and 20 is that, as Adam was naming the animals and birds, he was looking for one that might serve as his helper and companion. It becomes clear that none of the animals are suitable (Genesis 2:20). Adam needed someone who would "correspond" to him (Genesis 2:18). The fact that no animal suits this purpose is an important aspect of Scripture: humanity is truly distinctive, and meant for a truly unique relationship with other people.