[b-hebrew] Also asking a question - Re: YHWH is Aramaic?

Harold Holmyard hholmyard at ont.com
Thu Jun 29 10:50:42 EDT 2006

Dear Shoshanna,

>Why can't both be true?  G-d gave a Name to Himself from the 
>beginning, and communicated it to mankind, and inherent in the Name 
>is a certain idea of Himself.

HH: Our understanding is that "Yahweh" has a meaning like "He is/will 
be." Some give it a causative idea. Anyway, it is an odd name as 
something one calls oneself. But as a teaching tool and as a way for 
human beings to refer to God, it seems great. So perhaps it appears 
artificial to think that God in eternity called himself "He is." Also, 
the name seems to be Hebrew name. So you would have to suppose that God 
naturally thinks in Hebrew in eternity, or that he translated some other 
name into Hebrew. I mean, of course these things are possible, but they 
just seem less likely to me than that he contrived this name to 
communicate to us.

>Also, can you remind me why Ehyeh asher Ehyeh is translated as I AM 
>and not in future?  Every Jewish Commentary, when expounding on it, 
>makes the assumption that we all know that the word is used  as 
>future tense.
HH: I think the best reason is that the name seems more natural as a 
present tense verb later in the verse where it is used as a name. Here 
is the NRSV:

Ex. 3:14 God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” He said further, “Thus you 
shall say to the Israelites, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’”

HH: A name like "I will be" seems odd because it is only future. What 
about the present? Isn't God anything now? A name like "I am" is always 
suitable in any situation where God is needed.

Harold Holmyard

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