From: Ben Crick (
Date: Thu Sep 03 1998 - 01:20:00 EDT

On Wed 2 Sep 98 (18:20:46), wrote:
> Is there a divine referent in EGW EIMI EGW EIMI? I'm not sure. But
> there are some factors that make me think it very well might be:
> 1. This construction only occurs three times in the entire Bible, and
> each time it is God talking about himself. It is a very unusual, marked
> construction.
> 2. One time that it is used, in Isaiah 45:19, the Masoretic Hebrew text
> says ANiY YeWaH, which I think means "I, the Lord" or "I, Yahweh". (Will
> someone who knows Hebrew better than I do please confirm this, since
> I'm not quite positive this is true, and all these funny looking letters
> make me nervous?) If so, it is interesting that the same text says "I,
> Yahweh" in Hebrew and EGW EIMI EGW EIMI in Greek.


 Verse Hebrew MT (BHS) Greek LXX (Brenton) English (KJV)

Isa 43:11 'aNoKhiY 'aNoKhiY YHWH EGW hO QEOS I, even I, am the LORD
Isa 43:25 'aNoKhiY 'aNoKhiY HuW' EGW EIMI EGW EIMI I, even I, am He
Isa 51:12 'aNoKhiY 'aNoKhiY HuW' EGW EIMI, EGW EIMI I, even I, am He

 The MT text is the primary text; the LXX is derivative, and may have been
 translated from a different exemplar than the present MT. Looking at the
 apparatus criticus in the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia, there are no
 textual variants noted in any of the above. Also the Dead Sea Scrolls
 are identical to BH here.

 Does Brenton agree with the other editions of the LXX here? KURIOS is
 the normal equivalent of YHWH, the tetragrammaton. YHWH is pointed
 YeHoWaH in the MT; this is to remind the pious not to attempt to pronounce
 "YaHWeH" but to substitute the word 'aDhoNaY, "my Sovereign". This is
 called the Qere' Perpetuum or Permanent Substitution. So I am surprised
 to see YHWH rendered hO QEOS in Isa 43:11 LXX. In the King James Bible,
 YHWH is rendered The LORD (all BLOCK CAPS) and 'aDhoNaY, when it occurs
 in the text, is rendered "the Lord" (initial L capitalised only). The
 combination 'aDhoNaY YHWH is rendered "Lord GOD".

 So does EGW EIMI EGW EIMI have a Divine referent? Only in that the
 Speaker (through the mouth of Isaiah) is YHWH Himself, and this fact
 is strongly emphasised. Isaiah is speaking the very words of YHWH, and
 not his own gloss thereupon.

 The two passages where EGW EIMI EGW EIMI occurs both translate 'aNoKhiY
 'aNoKhiY HuW': i.e. verses where the Divine Name is not included, just
 the masc sing demonstrative pronoun HuW', /ipse/, AUTOS (hOUTOS even).

 So is Jesus making a claim to Divinity in John 8:58? IMHO not actually;
 that was the conclusion to which the Pharisees jumped. They may have
 guessed it right; but we cannot determine this from John 8:58 alone.
 If Jesus had said PRIN ABRAAM GENESQAI EGW EIMI hO WN, that would have
 put it beyond all argument. But he didn't. So we argue.

 Jesus spoke Aramaic. The nearest I have to a retro-translation is
 Delitzsch's BeTeReM HeYoWTh 'aBRaHaM 'aNiY HuW'. So FWIW, Delitzsch
 seems to have had pre-existence, not Deity, in mind.

 ERRWSQE (after all that!)

 Revd Ben Crick, BA CF
 232 Canterbury Road, Birchington, Kent, CT7 9TD (UK)

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