Bible - Exodus 3:14 Translations  

In Exodus 3:14, Moses asked God, What is your Name?

It is written Moses asked God for His name. God replied with words that continue to generate more questions than answers even today. Did God reveal His name as 'I Am'?
W I_Am_that_I_Am
And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they [Israelites] shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I [Moses] say unto them?

And God said unto Moses, I AM That I Am: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM (Ego Eimi) hath sent me unto you.
Exodus 3:14-15
Exodus 3:14 remains one of the greatest challenges for biblical exegesis
Cronin 2011


Below are 28 valid Names of God. What did God say his Name was?

1. I Am That I Am
The Vulgate, sum qui sum, has absolute exactness. The idea expressed by the name is, as already explained, that of real, perfect, unconditioned, independent existence.

Like the Septuagint, this translation clearly connotes the concept of absolute existence, but, also like the Septuagint, both the form of words in 3:14a and the actual words of 3:14a and 3:14b rule them out as a true translation of the Hebrew.

Vulgate of Jerome, King James, most English Bibles
That God is Him, in whom alone is true being, nay rather who alone is truebeing, without whom nothing can have wellbeing.

Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109 AD), a Scholastic philosopher
2. I Am Who I Am
The Vulgate of Jerome (347-420 AD) set the stage for medieval philosophical commentaries. This translation clearly connotes the concept of absolute existence and Jerome believed it referred to YHWH's absolute and eternal being. Many of the early Latin Church fathers and medieval scholastics followed the Vulgate.
For Augustine, YHWH announced himself as Being itself when he said "I am who am". For Augustine the text is about the divine's supreme existence, that is to say, the belief that YHWH supremely is, and is therefore unchangeable

Augustine 1998:XII.2 (354-430 AD), a Christian philosopher
3. I Am What I Am
Septuagint LXX
The Septuagint explains rather than translates, but is otherwise unobjectionable.
And God said unto Moses, I am who I am: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, 'I AM (Greek: Eigo Emi) hath sent me unto you'
4. I Am Because I Am
Boothroyd
Boothroyd is considered an incorrect translation, since the word asher is certainly the relative.

Boothroyd
5. I Will Be What I Will Be
Alexander Geddes
Geddes who died in 1802 is more literal, but less idiomatic, since the Hebrew was the simplest possible form of the verb substantive.

Geddes is saying that God was correcting Moses in context. Moses kept up an exasperating set of questions of how anyone will be believe Moses has spoken to God. Thus, God deliberately does not give a name in response. Rather, God repeats His promises that He will be doing great things for His people, and that is what Moses must relay to Pharoah, not God's actual name (which is Yahweh). Therefore, God tells Moses to tell Pharoah, "I Will Be What I Will Be."

Reverand Alexander Geddes, LL.D., London: J. Davis (1792) Volume I, a Theologian and Scholar
The Pulpit Commentary. Funk & Wagnalls (1919
)
6. I Am The One Who Is
Septuagint (257 BC)
This affirms "the concept of absolute existence", not absolute power. However, the Septuagint translation of the verse cannot be an exact rendering of the Hebrew because neither the form of words nor the actual words of the Greek translation allow for that possibility.

The Septuagint translates ehyeh asher ehyeh of Exodus 3:14a into Greek as "Ego eimi ho on", which in turn translates into English as "I AM THE ONE WHO IS", and it translates the absolute ehyeh of 3:14b as "ho on", "THE ONE WHO IS".

This earliest of all translations of the Hebrew thus associates the revelation of Exodus 3:14 with the concept of absolute existence. Jewish Bible Translations, The Talmud and Midrash, Medieval Jewish Thought, Kabbalah, Modern Jewish Philosophy and Contemporary Jewish Interpretation rely on this. Perkins L. 2009, A New English Translation of the Septuagint
7. I Am Whatever You Want Me To Be
I am whatever you want Me to be.
I am whatever you need Me to be.
You cannot know My Essence but we will have a relationship, and you will tell stories about your encounters with Me.
None of them will be totally accurate because I am not a concept.
I am a living complex reality that can be experienced, but not defined or limited by language.
That is 'Who I Am and Who I Will Be'
8. I Will Be Who I Will Be
Aquila and Theodotion
Aquila and Theodotion gave the translation of the verse the connotation of temporal existence, in place of the absolute existence connoted by the Septuagint version.

Aquila and Theodotion, Greek language
9. He Who Is
Philo (20-50 AD)
Philo was influenced by Middle Platonism, Stoicism, Neo-Pythagoreanism and Aristotle. He used Greek concepts to understand the Bible.

Philo 1995:75
10. He Who Is
Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274 AD)
This name 'HE WHO IS' is most properly applied to God because of its signification. For it does not signify form, but simply existence itself. Hence since the existence of God is His essence itself, which can be said of no other, it is clear that among other names this one specially denominates God, for everything is denominated by its form.

Summa, Aquinas (2007:ST I. Q.13 a.11)
11. The Being Who Is
Philo (20-50 AD)
Philo was influenced by Middle Platonism, Stoicism, Neo-Pythagoreanism and Aristotle. He used Greek concepts to understand the Bible.

Philo 1995:67
12. Him That Is
Philo (20-50 AD)
Philo was influenced by Middle Platonism, Stoicism, Neo-Pythagoreanism and Aristotle. He used Greek concepts to understand the Bible.

Philo 1995:99
13. The Self-Existent
Philo (20-50 AD)
Philo was influenced by Middle Platonism, Stoicism, Neo-Pythagoreanism and Aristotle. He used Greek concepts to understand the Bible.

Philo 1995:132
Philo 1995:161
14. "Being" + "The Good"
Origen (184-253 AD)
Origen drew a lot from Plotinus and neo-Platonic ideas. For Origen, YHWH was simply above being.

A God is the one who truly exists and in fact the source of all-being and by combining Exodus 3:14 with Matthew 19:17, he identifies "BEING" with the concept of "THE GOOD" since God is said to be both things in the respective texts.

Origen: On First Principles 1.3.6
Commentary on the Gospel of John (Origen 1896:34-35)
15. He Is The Existing Being, Which Is The Existing Being
Moses Maimonides (1135-1204 AD)
Maimonides interprets the question Moses asks God as Moses anticipating the Israelites would not believe in the existence of God, and so he asks YHWH how he can demonstrate his existence to them.

Maimonides believed that God taught Moses the "intelligible proofs"by which His existence could be confirmed.

Maimonides 1135-1204 AD, a Jewish Aristotelian philosopher, Guide for the Perplexed (Maimonides 2007), Ch.63 p1
16. "Above Being"
Meister Eckhart (1260-1327 AD)
Eckhart claimed that existence does not "belong" to God because God is "something loftier than being". For YHWH is held to transcend even existence itself; he is the cause of all things. God is "above being".

Eckhart (1974:50), a Philosophical Thinker
17. I Will Be There Howsoever I Will Be There
Martin Buber (1878-1965 AD)
Franz Rosenzweig (1886-1926 AD)
Buber and Rosenzweig were averse to the traditional philosophical interpretations, which they described as "Platonizing". Instead, they interpreted it in a semi-existentialist way as denoting YHWH's constant presence with and providence towards the people that are Israel.

Cronin 2011
18. I Am Who I Am ("In Love")
Jean-Luc Marion (b. 1946):
Marion argues the actual name of God, 'I AM' is irrelevant. The most important aspect is that God actually gave it to Moses. This is related to the Christian mystical tradition of God as Love. God showed His Love by giving His name.

In God Without Being, Marion (1995:73-74)
19. I Am Who May Be
Richard Kearney (b. 1954)
Kearney questions whether to interpret the self-declaration of YHWH as ontological or eschatological. Is YHWH reducing himself to the metaphysics of presence or is he rendering himself immune to it once and for all?

The God who maybe is not the almighty, All-knowing, Omnipresent God of onto-theology, but remains a God engaged in history, unconditionally loving and giving, calling us to praxis of love and justice.

In The God Who May Be, Kearney (2001:120/130)
20. I Am Yes Has Sent Me
John D. Caputo (b. 1940)
Caputo quips with a wordplay that in a sense "Jah"means "Ja" ("Yes") so that YHWH means something affirmative (following Nietzsche).

Caputo quotes as follows: God said to Moses 'I am YES .' He said further, 'Thus shall you say to the Israelites, "I am YES has sent me to you. The Impossible, the Incoming"'.

Ex 3:14 NRquasi-SV, Caputo (1997:26), a Continental Philosopher
21. I Am Who I Was
Legitimate Translation
The translation of "ehyeh aser ehyeh" has several legitimate transliterations of the Hebrew.
Exodus: An Exegetical Commentary By Victor P. Hamilton p.64
22. I Am Who I Shall Be
Legitimate Translation
The translation of "ehyeh aser ehyeh" has several legitimate transliterations of the Hebrew.
Exodus: An Exegetical Commentary By Victor P. Hamilton p.64
23. I Was Who I Am
Legitimate Translation
The translation of "ehyeh aser ehyeh" has several legitimate transliterations of the Hebrew.
Exodus: An Exegetical Commentary By Victor P. Hamilton p.64
24. I Was Who I Was
Legitimate Translation
The translation of "ehyeh aser ehyeh" has several legitimate transliterations of the Hebrew.
Exodus: An Exegetical Commentary By Victor P. Hamilton p.64
25. I Was Who I Shall Be
Legitimate Translation
The translation of "ehyeh aser ehyeh" has several legitimate transliterations of the Hebrew.
Exodus: An Exegetical Commentary By Victor P. Hamilton p.64
26. I Shall Be Who I Am
Legitimate Translation
The translation of "ehyeh aser ehyeh" has several legitimate transliterations of the Hebrew.
Exodus: An Exegetical Commentary By Victor P. Hamilton p.64
27. I Shall Be Who I Was
Legitimate Translation
The translation of "ehyeh aser ehyeh" has several legitimate transliterations of the Hebrew.
Exodus: An Exegetical Commentary By Victor P. Hamilton p.64
28. I Shall Be Who I Shall Be
Legitimate Translation
The translation of "ehyeh aser ehyeh" has several legitimate transliterations of the Hebrew.
Exodus: An Exegetical Commentary By Victor P. Hamilton p.64
SUMMARY
As is evidenced above, translations of Exodus 3:14 vary considerably. It has proven a challanging, ambiguous and at times, confusing Bible verse to understand. With so many interpretations, does anyone know what God's Name is?


CREDIT
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I_Am_that_I_Am
http://exodus-314.com/part-i/exodus-314-in-early-translations.html
http://www.biblicalunitarian.com/videos/john-8-58b
http://vintage.aomin.org/EGO.html
https://jesuswordsonly.com/books/602-bible-study-on-exodus-3-14-is-it-truly-i-am-that-i-am.html
https://reformjudaism.org/learning/torah-study/shmot/who-god-%E2%80%9Cehyeh-asher-ehyeh%E2%80%9D
https://www.academia.edu/1261380/Philosophical_interpretations_of_Exodus_3_14
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