December 26, 2006

Breadcrumb: What's that name?

In Ex. 3:14, God states that his name is "I am that I am." (KJV; "I am who I am" in the NIV) The Hebrew is "ahaya asher ahaya." (Apologies for not using a Hebrew script -- if someone knows where I can find one to use, please let me know.) Keeping in mind that this is an era when religions were traditionally polytheistic, with many named gods, this strikes us as an odd name. The Hebrew's religion is the only monotheistic one in the area, and the name of their god reflects that. He seems to be saying, "any name short of the one I have given you diminishes me, and I will be not diminished." Nevertheless, it would be a hard sell for Moses to convince the Hebrews that they should follow this apparently-nameless god.

4 comments:

James said...

Hello Julie

In the next verse Ex.3:15 God says who he is, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. This is so that Israel understands it is the God of their fathers and not any of the Egyptian god’s.

In Rev.1:8 explains who the I Am that I Am really is. “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.”

In John6:35 -51, Jesus says: “I am the bread of life:” He connects himself as the I Am then, to the I Am at the time of the Exodus.

John 8:58 "Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am."

Enjoy
Jim

Damien said...

Speaking of names, why isn't *Pharaoh* ever given a name?

Anonymous said...

The name is "Y-H-W-H" (the vowels are presumed to be a and e, to make it "Yahweh"). The biblical etymology "I am that I am" is a bit of a stretch; the real etymology is "(he who) blows"/"(he who) causes to fall". Yahweh was originally a storm deity (like Thor); Yahweh seems to be a version of the Canaanite deity Yah/Yaw.

The problem with monotheistic interpretations is that "God" is sometimes "El" (usually translated "God") and sometimes "Yahweh" (usually translated "the LORD"). El is the name of the chief Canaanite god, Yah/Yaw was a different Canaanite storm god.

Anonymous said...

The other thing relevant to "what's in a name" is that the burning bush story comes out of a misinterpretation. Its all down to a mishearing of "Sinai"; "seneh" means bush.