Therefore, a man shall leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. Genesis 2:24
Therefore – “Therefore” means that as a result of something previously explained, the following happens. Therefore, “therefore” is a very important word. Without it we will not know why a man (iysh) should forsake (that’s what it really says) his parents and cling (cleave) to his ish-sha. So, let’s back up. Adam offers the word “woman” because the woman comes out of the man. She is bone of his bone, flesh of his flesh. Notice he does not say “blood of my blood.” That is already established in the creation of Man. But now Adam sees she is the perfect complement to him, the one he was designed to embrace as his equal under God. She comes from him.
When Adam has been separated so that he confronts himself in the person of Havvah, he is to be reunited with her. His destiny in this relationship is to re-establish the unity that existed before she was taken out of him. He is to bring her back to him – to recreate the unity so they are once again “one flesh.” That’s what the “therefore” is for.
“Therefore” is the Hebrew word ‘al-ken. It has a very interesting pictograph. It is the picture of looking toward the open palm of life. In other words, to move from one truth to another is to move toward life. In Scripture, “therefore” is the step from one revealed insight of God’s creation to another revealed insight. Knowledge is always connected with obedience. To understand the insight is to act upon it. ‘Al-ken is not restricted to our notion of logical conclusion or rational analysis. ‘Al-ken is about what we are to do as a result of what we understand. Its two components mean “what is foundational and what is correct that leads to action.”
Man and woman are two elements of the same original union. We are to bring about the restoration of that union by an exclusive relationship that reunites what was once a single entity. That is the purpose of marriage. It is not lust abatement, economic leverage or passionate possession. It is re-union. It is homecoming. It is two becoming one again. This is “soul-partner” language. It is what we are all yearning to find.
The two critical verbs in this ultimate declaration concerning marriage are equally informative. The first is azav. It means “to leave, abandon, forsake or loose.” The consonant picture is the idea of a leader cut off from the house. The second verb is davaq (to cling, to cleave, to join with). The pictograph of davaq (Dalet-Bet-Qof) shows us a tent door to a house behind. In Hebrew, the future is behind us, out of sight. We can see where we have been, but we are not able to see where we are going. This word is the picture of a new home, one that is in the future, over the horizon. So, these two verbs actually paint the same picture as the word description of the verse itself. A man is cut off from living in one home and finds a new home in his future. That new house is the place of the ‘ezer, the place where he is re-united with himself in union with the one who was made for him.
Perhaps husbands need to take some time to reflect on the biblical view of “one flesh;” a view not based in the Greek overtones of sex. Perhaps husbands need to discover what they are missing. Perhaps they need to realize that reunion is the goal of marriage. Then they may choose to become one again.
Topical Index: davaq, ‘al-ken, therefore, cling, marriage, Genesis 2:24
For today’s photo, click here – Upper Enchantment Basin, Stuart Range