Genesis 2:24 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 2:24, NIV: "That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh."

Genesis 2:24, ESV: "Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh."

Genesis 2:24, KJV: "Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh."

Genesis 2:24, NASB: "For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh."

Genesis 2:24, NLT: "This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one."

Genesis 2:24, CSB: "This is why a man leaves his father and mother and bonds with his wife, and they become one flesh."

What does Genesis 2:24 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

The story of Adam and Eve pauses to make an aside to all who read it: we should follow the pattern of marriage as revealed in the rest of God's Word. Men must leave—or "forsake"—both of their parents and hold fast to—or "stick to"—their wives. They must become one flesh together. This is unmistakable, because of the way God designed this relationship between the two of them. Because we know that marriage is from God. Because it is not good for mankind to be alone. Because God saw that need and provided the woman to Adam as helper, companion, and wife. Because she was taken out of man and built from his own rib.

This verse implies significant ideas about how cultures should function. In the ancient world, one of the highest values was allegiance and honor to one's parents. The Bible makes clear, though, that a man's duty is to forsake his parents in the sense that he transfers his loyalty from them to his wife. Providing, living with, and caring for her must take priority in his life over doing the same for his parents.

Second, a man must stick to his wife in a willful and lasting way. The idea of a covenant or contract is implied. The husband's commitment must be iron clad.

Finally, the two will become one flesh. This speaks of their exclusive sexual bond, but also speaks of their family relationship. As one flesh, the husband and wife will become family to each other, with all of the legal and relationship rights and privileges that come with being so closely connected.