[b-hebrew] translation of ehyeh

Michael mabernathy at isot.com
Wed Aug 3 22:16:09 EDT 2005


Shoshanna wrote
"I really find it so hard to believe that you are actually saying that 
the entire Jewish tradition
(I've just read a few quick samples of commentaries for myself) is wrong 
about this."
How are you defining "the entire Jewish tradition?"
The JPS Torah commentary on Exodus states, "Eyeh-Asher-Eyeh This phrase 
has variously been translated,
`I Am That I Am,' `I Am Who I Am,' and `I Will Be What I Will Be.'” 
(Page 17).
The Ramban Commentary on the Torah says, “In a similar vein the Rabbis 
expounded:
`Rabbi Yitzchak said that the Holy One, blessed be He, said to Moses: `I 
am He Who
has been, Who is now, and Who will be in the future.' This is why Eh'yeh 
is written
here three times." (Page 36)
The famed Hebrew scholar U. Cassuto in his commentary on Exodus stated,
"The form of the verb that is called in Hebrew today `future' [i.e. the 
imperfect]
could signify in Biblical language any tense–past, present or future–and 
approximated
in some instances to the use of the `present' in Modern Hebrew.” (Page 37)
I have looked in a number of Jewish sources and found that the scholarly 
works
generally agree with the idea that the imperfect could be translated as 
present or future.
Sincerely,
Michael Abernathy


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