I AM THAT I AM
rrhoades at jps.net
Thu Dec 24 20:01:29 EST 1998
I liked the following quotes concerning Ex. 3:14/Jn.8:58:
"More pointedly, The Emphasised Bible, by J.B. Rotherham, Renders Exodus
3:14 as `I will become whatsoever I please...I will become hath sent
me'. The footnote to this verse says in part: `Hayah [the word rendered
become] does not mean `to be' essentially or ontologically, but
phenomonenally...what he will be is left unexpressed - he will be with
them helper, strengthener, deliverer."
"This expression is, at least an idem per idem construction, employed
'where the means, or the desire to be more explicit does not exist.' A
similar phrase occurs in Ex. 33:19 in a description of Yahweh as a
merciful and gracious God: 'I favor whomever I favor and I have mercy on
whomever I have mercy'. The stress here is on action. The statement in
Ex. 3:14, 'I create whatever I create', ie 'I am the creator par
excellence', could be meant as a counter part to these expressions."
-T.D.O.T. vol 5 ;516
"By this Moses would not think that God was announcing a *new name* nor
is it called a name; it is just the inner meaning of the name Moses
knew. M. Buber translates `I will be as I will be', and expounds it as
a promise of God's power and deliverance. That something like this is
the purport of these words is shown by what follows, `Yahweh,...has sent
me to you: this is my name forever'. The full content of the name comes
first; the name itself follows." -New Bible Dict. ;431
"God does not call himself "I Am" in this passage. Not even in the LXX.
The Hebrew imperfects refer to what God will "become." Compare the use
of the same verb in 3:12. The Hebrew verbs are imperfect and denote
action that is incomplete, and therefore ongoing. Second, the context of
the text has to do with what Moses will tell the Israelites about God.
Gianotti puts the matter succinctly:
"God's manifestation to Israel is yet future at the time of the burning
bush incident. This EHYEH is God's promise that He will redeem the
children of Israel. The people were in great need. They needed not so
much to know the facts about God's character or that He was simply a
covenant God present in their time of need, but to be reassured that
this God would meet them in their time of need, proving true His
character and promises. This in fact constitutes what God promised Moses
in Exodus 3:12, namely, that God would be present and working on Moses'
behalf in the difficult task ahead. Surely nothing less would have
encouraged Moses to go. . . . Whatever the situation or need (in
particular, the redemption from Egypt, but also future needs.) God will
"become" the solution to that need.---Gianotti, "The Meaning of the
Divine Name YHWH," BSac 39 (1985), 46.
"To translate EHYE in Exodus 3:14 as "I am" both ignores its lexical
meaning and its use as future, and is clearly idiosyncratic."
>Whatever the translation, it is clearly idiosyncratic - only God (or a >blasphemer) speaks this way (thus the intent to stone Jesus).
I think this is a dangerous jump from subjective analysis to what we
want it to say. Of course, one might say that the Gospel writer utilized
EGW EIMI differently in John. But, this would be an example of a priori
thinking based on a much later theological view. And IMO it is not
founded on solid ground as far as others translators indicate as the
following list shows.
KJV Have I been so long time with you
ASV Have I been so long time with you
NAS "Have I been so long with you
NAB "Have I been so long with you
NWT "Have I been with you men so long a time
NIV "even after I have been among you such a long time?
TEV "For a long time I have been with you all;
NRS "Have I been with you all this time
NKJ "Have I been with you so long
BLE "I have been with you such a long time,
WEB Have I been so long time with you
RWB Have I been so long time with you,
LIV even after all this time I have been with you?
BBE have I been with you all this time,
Nevada City, CA
More information about the b-hebrew