Genesis 2:18 reads, "And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him."
The word translated "alone" literally means "separate" - as in the branch of a tree according to the symbols. "Towb", translated "good" basically means "productive". We all know that a branch with no tree is not productive - we could easily agree with God I would think. What humanity needed, was some sort of attachment, and God was about to create some relief.
A rib is a pretty symbolic thing in and of itself. If it were a wooden rib, then it would help the hull of a boat to keep its' shape (http://www.people.cornell.edu/pages/drw23/boat%20frame%20from%20bow.JPG). If it were made of bone, then it would help the skin to hold its' shape, and it would also encase and protect the vital organs.
This was taken out of humanity, and so named in hebrew, "ishah". "Ishah" is a feminine word and she is female. It also means "betrothed", or "promised".
(Covenant = Promise.)
Have you ever heard the saying, "I knew your Daddy before you were a spark in his eye"? Well, the spark suggests that even at the moment of passion, the child was being born. That is how I see the birth of "Iysh". "Iysh" is a masculine word and he is male. Like "Ishah", it also means "betrothed", or "promised". Before Ishah, who would become known as Eve, was ever taken out of humanity, Iysh was a spark in God's eye - so he was first and would become known as the patriarch, Adam.
While in Genesis 1 mankind has within it male and female and creation is largely given a direction in that God is creating some semblance of order from chaos; in Genesis 2 they become "betrothed". In other words, Genesis 1 tells the story of the creation of mankind: biological male and female. Genesis 2 describes the birth of covenant mankind: male and female. One which would know promise.
They were promised one to the other, because they were made to that purpose. They were promised to God, because from the beginning God intended them to have life, yet apart from God there cannot be life.
Eve is recorded as observing that the Tree of the Knowledge of good and evil was a tree to be desired to make one wise. Definitions:
"Sakal" (wise) : Knowing what results in prosperity.
"Towb" (good) : Doing rightly; measured by result. Functional; productive.
"Rah" (evil) : A broken path; measured by result. Disfuntional; unproductive.
The eyes of Adam and Eve were opened that they might know "good" and "evil", or in other words, they gained that "wisdom". However, at that time their understanding was limited to the world in which they dwelled. Jesus was far from coming on the scene to explain that prosperity was not riches and power, but things like peace and joy. Their eyes told them what truth was, rather than their hearts.
They would look at one another and see that men were stronger and faster than women, and not held back by pregnancy and nursing babies. Women would look to men for protection, so the care of their man meant ensuring their own livelihood. Because of the way that people then began to interpret the world around them, men would rule over women, and the desire of the woman would be for her husband - just as God said would happen.
The Language of Biology
You may begin to notice here, the progression of the differences between male and female. First, the differences are biological. Next, function becomes different - Eve being the "rib", and Adam the source; both now living promise where before there was none.
(Covenant = Promise)
From there, things really got messed up because people begin to make "wise" observations. It sounds as if as a whole, people moved from just being, into a world built upon their vision of things.
It was a good thing for us all, that God communicated with them in ways that they could understand and recognize. The only visible evidence of the production of offspring to ancient humanity, was the seed from the male. He will have been understood as the source of life - like adam, and she the facilitator thereof - like Eve.
Like a rivers head, men were the entrance point of life giving water. And like the rivers bed, women allowed for its continued flow. Neither will have been superior in that without one or the other, life will not have been maintained.
Just as important as literally being fruitful and multiplying biologically, we would come to know, would be being fruitful and multiplying spiritually. People could observe how to be fruitful and mulitply biologically, and so gain understanding of their part spiritually. God said to Jerusalem: Ezekiel 16:8
"Now when I passed by thee, and looked upon thee, behold, thy time was the time of love; and I spread my skirt over thee, and covered thy nakedness: yea, I sware unto thee, and entered into a covenant with thee, saith the Lord GOD, and thou becamest mine."
In the poetic language of Hosea 2 God declares that he would make himself tenderly known to Samaria and on that day, Israel would call him her "iysh",
(Iysh = betrothed; promised; covenanted)
..no longer calling him "Baal".
The law given to Moses would be for humanity's attaching even more to its' own view of things. The more that people used the wisdom from the tree of knowledge, the more that they would understand the language that God would use when the time of fulfillment would arrive. That would be when humanity was ready to hear all of it. It would be "the time of love".
In the meanwhile, people would live in the cold hard reality that old wisdom would get them. (The end of the world: http://resistir.info/energia/imagens/flat_earth.jpg)
The development of the roles: falling downer
Unlike the children that we raise today, who have typically had a good dose of what their own culture finds acceptable for their gender before they ever discover that people have different plumbing, the bible suggests that people started out with making only biological observations.
Men and women would interpret the law handed down by Moses strictly as flesh and blood would see things. The poetic language of the bible would progress from the usage of feminine language in reference to God or creation, to completely overlooking the feminine in favor of the masculine. Those who did take note of it often worked to explain it away.
Lilith (http://www.holysmoke.org/sdhok/lilith/burn.gif) in old writings and beliefs had been a goddess and a demon. In one story, she is said to be the first wife of Adam, and formed out of the same dust as he.She refused to lie beneath him, and he refused to lie beneath her. Each being equal, this just wasn't an option. Seeing this, Lilith calls upon the ineffible name of God (http://z.about.com/d/altreligion/1/0/I/w/2/serpentwmn19.jpg) and flies away.
An angel would eventually be sent to fetch her and she was told to return to Adam, and to submit to him. If she did not, 100 of her children would be killed every day. She chose to accept the consequences.
A hebrew tradition, even older than the written story, supports that the legend existed even in ancient times. Mothers would place an amulet around their infant's necks to protect him/her from Lilith. The babies will have been most vulnerable in their first eight days of life - before being dedicated to God through circumcision. They hadn't heard of SIDS then, and certainly had no understanding of any internal issues that the babies might die from. Today, hospitals mostly won't allow young children into the nurseries because infants are so prone to disease. For the ancient hebrew mother, these deaths were attributed to Lilith (http://altreligion.about.com/library/graphics/lilith5.jpg) - the woman who dared demand an equal, or even higher status than her husband.
The law would state that women were of less value than men (Lev 27:1-7). Men were more able to produce. To produce meant to bring riches, and riches meant to be favored by God. Once again, it was that good old fleshy wisdom which would make it all seem logical. As a fact therefore, women were of less monetary value. People would conclude that less monetary value meant that women were therefore less in every way. They brought less evidence of favor from God, therefore they must have been favored less all together. I'm not suggesting that only men believed it. The women did also.
The view of women would degenerate until Jesus' relationship with them would appear to others as shocking and maybe even distasteful (wink).
Looks like this isn't going to be shortened much, heh. I will post some every day and will let you all know which is the last. Thanks for listening - I'm looking forward to hearing your thoughts.