Re: John 8:58 - Ex. 3:14

Date: Tue Mar 11 1997 - 21:51:03 EST

Regarding Exodus 3:14/John 8:58, dogtoy wrote in response to Wes Williams

<< not knowing hebrew I will not argue that point. but why would God say
 "I will be"? is he not yet God? is not yet??? what? who he is? what
 kind of predicate does God need to be who he is? The link,
 linguistically may fall apart, again I'm not a linguist. who've tried to convince an ignorant man of with something he
 knows absolutely nothing he knows about. :)

Perhaps the findings of Charles Gianotti, ("The Meaning of the Divine Name
YHWH," Bibliotheca Sacra, January-March [1985], 46) will help you:

     God's manifestation to Israel is yet future at the time of the burning
     bush incident. This EHYEH is God's promise that He will redeem the
     children of Israel. The people were in great need. They needed not
     so much to know the facts about God's character or that He was
     simply a covenant God present in their time of need, but to be
     reassured that this God would meet them in their time of need,
     proving true His character and promises. This in fact constitutes what
     God promised Moses in Exodus 3:12, namely, that God would be
     present and working on Moses' behalf in the difficult task ahead.
     Surely nothing less would have encouraged Moses to go. ... Whatever
     the situation or need (in particular, the redemption from Egypt, but
     also future needs.) God will "become" the solution to that need.

Regarding the traditional translation ("I Am") of Exodus 3:14, I would ask
you, Why would God say "I Am" in this context? Appeal to the LXX really
doesn't legitimize translating the Hebrew as "I Am," for it must be
remembered that the Jews living in Alexandria had become influenced by a
Greek ontology, and the translation (later found in Aquila and Theodotion)
ESOMAI HOS ESOMAI would have been an absurd tautology to them.

Moises Silva (Biblical Word and Their Meaning: An Introduction to Lexical
Semantics [Grand Rapids: Zondervan, rev. 1994], 71-72) points out the common
practice of merely checking the Hebrew behind the Greek of the LXX and
thinking one has thereby established the meaning of the Greek word(s). Of
course, in this case it seems most think they can establish the meaning of
the Hebrew by checking the Greek translation! This is unacceptable. After
pointing out the mistranslation of the Hebrew by the LXX in Isaiah 28:9,
Silva focuses on "the need to interpret specific passages in the light of the
LXX translator's characteristics, his theological emphases, and his
principles of translation." (pages 72-73) The importance of this for our
subject text is underscored by Gianotti:

          It is relatively easy to imagine the backslidden Jews, a few
          hundred years after the Exile, having lost touch with the
          character and nature of their God YHWH. In such a condition
          they would have been influenced by a popular view of the
          nature of deity as propagated in their environment. (Ibid., page

Hope this helps!



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