De Moor IV:5: Hebrew Names for God: אֶהְיֶה/Eheyeh,

Updated: May 29, 2018

The אֶהְיֶה/Eheyeh, from Immutable Eternity. That Name occurs only in Exodus 3:14, where it is first written more fully, אֶֽהְיֶ֖ה אֲשֶׁ֣ר אֶֽהְיֶ֑ה, Eheyeh asher Eheyeh, then more simply, אֶהְיֶה/Eheyeh.[1] It is most certainly the imperfect/future of הָיָה, to be, and properly denotes I Will Be. Nevertheless, those prior words are rendered variously: as the imperfect/future in a matter ongoing is very frequently set down in the place of the present, so in the place of I will be who I will be it could also be translated, according to the instruction of BUXTORF and LEUSDEN, I am who I am, as the Septuagint renders it, ἐγώ εἰμι ὁ Ὤν, I am the Being, and then they simply have ὁ Ὤν, the Being, in the place of אֶהְיֶה/ Eheyeh. PAGNINE[2] translates it, I will be who I will be, or I will be what I will be. PISCATOR,[3] I will be who I was. JUNIUS, Eheyeh, because I am; in such a way that the former is a divine Name, the latter simply a verb used in the imperfect/future. VATABLUS,[4] I will be, because I will be. But in whatever way they might be translated, it is certain that in one and another way the Immutable Eternity of God is emphatically signified.

It is also able to be admitted that those prior words,אֶֽהְיֶ֖ה אֲשֶׁ֣ר אֶֽהְיֶ֑ה, Eheyeh asher Eheyeh, are able to be considered as a description of God from His Immutable Eternity as Essential Perfection. But, while God to the question of Moses that goes before in verse 13, after this description of Himself, additionally commands Moses to say, אֶהְיֶה/ Eheyeh hath sent me to you; it certainly appears that from that preceding Essential Perfection of His He formed the Name, which He assumes, and under which He wills to be known by the Israelites: A Name which in signification hardly differs from the Tetragrammaton: compare BUXTORF’S Dissertationem de Nominibus Dei Hebraicis, § 31-33; LEUSDEN’S Philologum Hebræo-Græcum, Dissertation XXXI, § 1-3; HILARY’S de Trinitate, book I, chapter V, column 768.

[1] Exodus 3:14: “And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AMאֶֽהְיֶ֖ה אֲשֶׁ֣ר) אֶֽהְיֶ֑ה): and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM (אֶהְיֶה) hath sent me unto you.”

[2] Pagnine (1466-1541) was an Italian Dominican. He was gifted as a Hebraist, exegete, and preacher. He was commissioned by Pope Leo X to produce a new Latin translation of the Scripture.

[3] John Piscator (1546-1626) was a learned Protestant divine. He held the position of Professor of Divinity at Herborn (1584). His German version was the first, complete and independent, since that of Martin Luther. Through the course of his career, his views changed from those of the Lutherans to those of the Calvinists, and from those of the Calvinists to those of the Arminians. He remains widely regarded for his abilities as a commentator.

[4] Francis Vatablus (c. 1485-1547) was a prominent Hebrew scholar, doing much to stimulate Hebraic studies in France. He was appointed to the chair of Hebrew in Paris (1531). Because of some consonance with Lutheran doctrine, his annotations (Annotationes in Vetus et Novum Testamentum), compiled by his auditors, were regarded with the utmost esteem among Protestants, but with a measure of suspicion and concern by Roman Catholics. Consequently, the theologians of Salamanca produced their own edition of Vatablus’ annotations for their revision of the Latin Bible (1584).

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