There is a concept in Hebrew called Echad. It means One, but not singular one, it’s plural one. More accurately, plural unity. The Shema, the holiest Hebrew blessing, is “Hear oh Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is Echad.”
Genesis says that God made a man to leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife and the two should become
echad. There is no hierarchy in Hebrew thought–that’s a Greek way of thinking that has been imposed on Scripture.
Eve was created to be Adam’s Ezer. That’s the Hebrew word for “helper” but it’s used of God in Scripture. It doesn’t indicate status at all.
And the Proverbs 31 woman who is referred to as an “excellent wife” is better translated “Valiant Ally”–one you would want at your side in battle. Proverbs 31 is believed by Rabbis to be Sarah and this was her eulogy. It was a real woman – and because men were the only ones allowed to study Torah, the best wife was the one who freed her husband by doing everything so that he only had to study Torah.
But after the cross, when there is neither male nor female at the foot of the cross, women are welcomed into studying Torah – and the curse is no more (the curse is the only reference to a woman’s heart being for her husband and him ruling over her–it refers to a loss of echad).
In Eph 5 Paul speaks in the entire chapter about the ramifications of the restoration of Echad between man and God, and specifically says that all believers are to submit to one another. Then he goes into the marriage relationship – a special relationship because it is supposed to be a picture to the world of Christ and the Church – his Bride.
But our relationship with Jesus is intended to be echad–we are to be in plural unity with Him.
Women, the managers of the home, are instructed to bring their husbands into their realm and become echad with them in where they are going as a family – and men, the studiers of Torah, are instructed to bring their wives into their realm and become echad with them in doctrine. They are told to wash her with the water of the Word and love her as Christ loved the Church – and Christ died because he loved the Church. Men were being told to set aside their legal right to hierarchy in that culture and bring their wives into echad with them–a true sacrifice. And this is emphasized by referencing the Genesis verse on echad between man and wife.
The Hebrew idea of submission is best expressed as “face to face with a shared vision” and that is the essence of echad.
For further explanation of this, please listen to my sermon on Echad.