[b-hebrew] Also asking a question - Re: YHWH is Aramaic?
rosewalk at concentric.net
Thu Jun 29 12:49:10 EDT 2006
Maybe it means Everlasting BEING - I will Always Be, Just As I Always
Have Been - and includes all tenses of the word "to be"
Looking it up a little now (Kirk wrote to me that I am allowed to do
this on list) - I hope some of you find it interesting:
The Midrash says that the word Ehyeh is to describe G-d as timeless
and eternal. "I am He who has been, Who is now, and Who will be in
the future" (3 times that Ehyeh is mentioned)
Saadia Gaon says it means "[He is the Being] Whose existence has
never ceased and will never cease, for He is the first and the last".
Rambam says "he is the existing Being which is the existing Being,
that is to say, Whose existence is absolute....that has never been
[without existence] and never will be without existence".
Onkelos translates only the first two instances of Ehyeh ("I will be
with Him that I will be"), and not the third, referring to his belief
that "Ehyeh" is a Divine name.
Rashi says that G-d uses this to tell Moshe to tell Israel "I shall
be with them in this sorrow, as I shall be with them in other
sorrows" Moshe says, why should You tell them of future sorrows
(subjugation that they will suffer under different kingdoms), isn't
it enough that they suffer now in Egypt? So G-d said, ok, then just
tell them "I Shall Be" sent me to you - omitting reference to future
Another Midrash says it means "As you are with Me, so I am with you"
Ramban says the first two instances of Ehyeh refer to G-d's
attributes of mercy and justice: "I will be in judgement that which
I will be in mercy", and that the third instance of Ehyeh refers to
the unity of the two attributes. And he says, like Onkelos, that
"Ehyeh" is a Divine Name, and that it corresponds to the "Great
Name" (YHVH - which is also mentioned here) and that they are alike
in language, as both signify eternal existence, and in letters, for
the two final letters of the first Name (Ehyeh) constitue the two
first letters in the Tetragrammaton.
And something that I learned in school, and don't remember the source
"Whatever you need me to be for you, that's what I will be"
Indeed, but getting (probably) even closer in time to the original, the
LXX is EGW EIMI hO WN "I am the being (one)", all present tenses. This
is because, according to many, Hebrew changed from being aspectual to
being tensed during the Hellenistic period, from the influence of Greek.
Early in this period, when LXX was translated, the original aspectual
sense was still understood. By several centuries later, the time of
Theodotion and Aquila, the aspectual sense was being lost and the verbs
were being understood as future tense forms.
E-mail: peter at qaya.org
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