[b-hebrew] YHWH Derivation - a dead end

Rolf Furuli furuli at online.no
Thu May 5 11:53:03 EDT 2005

Dear Kelton,

I see the logic in your reasonings, but your conclusions are not the 
only ones possible.  To know the name of someone did not only mean for 
the Hebrews to know the letters of the name or how it was pronounced. It 
is obvious that when God said to Moses: "I know you by name" (Ex 33:12), 
it meant that he knew the personality and deeds of Moses; he knew Moses 
intimately.  In Ex 34:5-7 YHWH proclaimed the name of YHWH, and that did 
not mean that he pronounced the name, but rather that the attributes of 
God was proclaimed.  In the song of Moses it is said: "for I shall 
declare the name of YHWH," and  that  includes  God's dealings with 
Israel and a description of his personality.

When Moses asks about the name of God in Ex 3:13, there is no problem 
with the view that  YHWH first shows that he will be known as one who 
both has a purpose and who fulfills that purpose (I will prove to be 
what I will prove to be"), and "`I will prove to be` has sent me to 
you." If we compare Ex 3:14 with the passages above, we see that this 
verse alone would be a full answer to the question "What is his name?"  
In addition, we find God's personal name in 3:15. Thus, both his purpose 
and his personal name identify him.  On this basis I see no reason to 
use )hye with present reference in 3:14 when it in most other cases has 
future reference.

If Ex 3:13-15 is written to teach the readers that YHWH is a form of the 
Hebrew verb HYH or the Aramaic verb HWH, there is a problem with the 
grammatical persons.  If YHWH is a verb, it must be third person 
singular, but should we not expect first person singular as in )ehye?

Best regards

Rolf Furuli
University of Oslo

kgraham0938 at comcast.net wrote:

>Hey Rolf, I think the reason why many translators as well as myself translate 'EH:YEH 'E$ER 'EH:YEH as I AM who I AM as opposed to I will be who I will be is based upon Moses' statement to YHWH in the previous verse.  He says
>" And they will say to me what is his name?  What do I say to them?"  
>Moses:[question]  What is your name?
>YHWH:[answer] I will be who I will be
>Then he goes on to say " Tell them I will be sent you."  
>Does not make any sense.  I will be who I will be does not answer the question.  And secondly if 'EH:YEH is a 1cs of YHWH (3ms), translated as "I will be" then you'd have to translate YHWH as "He will be."  
>Kelton Graham 
>KGRAHAM0938 at comcast.net
>-------------- Original message -------------- 

More information about the b-hebrew mailing list