Clinging: The Anthropological Goal of Covenant Relationships

This paper will explore the use of the asyndeton phrase of Genesis 2:24 “For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.” The paper will pay close attention to the use of the Hebrew verb דבק. This verb, which means “to stick to” or “to cling”, is used in places like Deuteronomy 30:20 where it is used for the people “clinging” to their covenant relationship with Yahweh. The picture clinging literarily then is seen not only in the relationship of two humans becoming one, but also in the “marriage” relationship of God and His people through the covenant at Sinai. Then in Ephesians Paul quotes Genesis 2:24 referring to a husband-and-wife relationship but then adds, “This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church.” This enigmatic statement now comes to life when one sees how “clinging” works Scripturally in terms of covenant relationships. Marriage, two becoming one by clinging together, is a picture of the relationship that Yahweh’s covenant partners are to have with Him. Now, in the New Covenant, the church is the Bride of Christ, and as such, we are to Cling to Christ “our husband.”