Re: A cautionary word on EHYEH/YHWH
Thu, 8 Aug 1996 20:19:22 -0400

In a message dated 96-08-08 17:12:46 EDT, (Edward Hobbs)

<< In the flood of discussion of John 8:58, several posts have stated
or implied something about the Hebrew of Exodus 3:14 which is not
accurate. Hebrew YAHWEH (or, unreconstructed, YHWH) is not
translated into Greek as EGW EIMI. >>

Thanks you very much for the clarification. You are right in the sense that
YHWH is not found in Exodus 3:14 and is not the LXX translation EGW EIMI.
The LXX EGW EIMI hO WN is the translation of the EHYEH ASHER EHYEH you
quoted. I did look back and see one reference could be misunderstood. I
previously said,

<< is striking to note the similarity between Jesus' claim and the
familiar EGW EIMI of the LXX of the Old Testament in reference to Yahweh. >>

I have corrected the above statement to " is striking to note the
similarity between Jesus' claim and the familiar EGW EIMI of the LXX of the
Old Testament in references to God. The LXX does not translate YHWH into EGW
EIMI. It translates EHYEH ASHER EHYEH into EGW EIMI hO WN. Neither does
YHWH translate into EGW EIMI in Deuteronomy 32:39 or Isaiah 43:10, two other
passages that were cited.

What I was trying to say was the New Testament writer reproducing Jesus'
words knew well of the LXX as do a number of New Testament writers. They
seem to make clear reference to the God or YHWH of the Old Testament.

<< It is clear that the author(s)/transmitter(s)/editor(s) of this
tradition understood YHWH to be derived from HYH (HWH?), "to be",
else this proximity of the two "names" would not occur. Whether
this is actually the case has been debated for many decades,* and
I have no special competence to settle it! But one thing is clear:
YHWH is not one of forms of HYH to be found in a verb chart. >>

As you mentioned above, the proximity of the two names is seen between Exodus
3:14 and verse 15. It is, however, not only seen in the LXX, but also in the
Hebrew where the constructs are similar. The phrases are nearly the same
except YHWH is substituted the second time. This has indeed caused many to
see a relationship between YHWH and EHYEH ASHER EHYEH, and thus through the

Also, it is good to note in light of the above statements that several
scholars have seen a link between YHWH and HYH. BDB, p. 218 says, "Many
recent scholars explain YHWH as Hiph. of HYH (=HYH) _the one bringing into
being, life-giver...." He also says that EHYEH ASHER EHYEH is compressed
into EHYEH v. 14b which is then given in the nominal form YHWH.

The Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament by Harris, Archer, and Waltke
puts YHWH under the category of HYH. Although they do not conclude HYH as
the origin because of several problems (p. 210, #484, vol. 1), they do hold
to the meaning of YHWH as something along the lines of "I am [is] what I am."
Or as others would use the name in the third person, "He is" (p. 211). This
is concluded because of the "Bible's own explanation in Ex 3:14."

It is an interesting subject. Some discussion has taken place on the
B-Hebrew list about the Tetragrammaton, YHWH.