[b-hebrew] YHWH...Was..Is..Will (shall) be

Gene Gardner g_gardner1234 at yahoo.com
Wed Aug 3 13:16:24 EDT 2005

I questioned earlier:

I would like to ask the members of the list, if there
are any who would like to present what they believe is
the best translation of this phrase.

hayah  howeh  yihyeh

I only received a few responses, but Shoshanna had
this to say:

He was, he is, he will be

Peter responded with this:

Well, Shoshanna, that is the meaning in modern Hebrew.
But in biblical 
Hebrew these verb forms were not tenses, at least
certainly not in this 
simple sense. See the whole recent thread on verbs,
from which you might 
well conclude that the Hebrew verb is mysterious after
all. At least, 
the result of such investigations is that such a
phrase is 
untranslatable without a context.

And this is a good place to remind everyone, including
Vadim, that the 
"imperfect" in biblical Hebrew is not a future tense,
and so the word 
yahwe, if it is a verb form, is not future. But it is
imperfective (I 
think everyone would agree on that) and so implies a
continuous action, 
either "he is" or "he causes to be".

Then on another facet of the YHWH discussion threads,
this was stated by Peter:

On 03/08/2005 15:23, Shoshanna Walker wrote:

>I know I will be sorry for this - but how do you
>rationalize that "Ehyeh" is "I am" and not "I will

"I will be" is modern Hebrew. But it has long been
known that in 
biblical Hebrew this "imperfect" or prefix form is
often used in past 
and present contexts, and that the main element
distinguishing it from 
the "perfect" or suffix form is that the action is
continuing or 
repetitive, like the Russian imperfective aspect.

Solomon then responded:

I will only note the curious fact that nearly every
English Bible that translates Ehyeh at Exodus 3:14 as
"I Am"  has translated the exact very  same 
Hebrew word as "I will be" (or similar) at Exodus
3:12.Same word, only 2 verses apart.  Yet, different
translation.  No *grammatical* or *contextual*
rationale for this that I can see.
Certain ancient translators of the LXX (Greek
Septuagint) tradition rendered Ehyeh at Exodus 3:14
plainly as ESOMAI, "I Will Be."
I have been pondering:

What if the Divine Name and it's pronunciation is
defined by what verb is chosen.
If the Name YHWH was in fact a derivation from one of
three verbs that demonstrate being, then could it be
possible that we need to define if it is hayah (who
was), howeh (who is) or yihyeh (who will be). If from
hayah, then maybe YaHWe would be more correct.  If
howeh, then would YeHoW(e-a)H possibly be the best
choice? If yihyeh, then ??? 

This is my line of thinking. I would like some
feedback from the list members.


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