I Am that I Am (אֶהְיֶה אֲשֶׁר אֶהְיֶה, ehyeh ašer ehyeh [ehˈje aˈʃer ehˈje]) is the common English translation (JPS among others) of the response God used in the Hebrew Bible when Moses asked for his name (Exodus 3:14). It is one of the most famous verses in the Torah. Hayah means “existed” in Hebrew; ehyeh is the first person singular imperfect form and is usually translated in English Bibles as “I am” or “I will be” (or “I shall be”), for example, at Exodus 3:14. Ehyeh asher ehyeh literally translates as “I Am Who I Am.” The ancient Hebrew of Exodus 3:14 lacks a future tense as modern English does, yet a few translations render this name as “I Will Be What I Will Be,” given the context of Yahweh promising to be with his people through their future troubles. Both the literal present tense “I Am” and the future tense “I will be” have given rise to many attendant theological and mystical implications in Jewish tradition. However, in most English Bibles, in particular the King James Version, the phrase is rendered as I am that I am.
Ehyeh-Asher-Ehyeh (often contracted in English as “I AM”) is one of the Seven Names of God accorded special care by medieval Jewish tradition. The phrase is also found in other world religious literature, used to describe the Supreme Being, generally referring back to its use in Exodus. The word Ehyeh is considered by many rabbinical scholars to be a first-person derivation of the Tetragrammaton, see for example Yahweh.
The word AahYah is used a total of 43 places in the Hebrew Bible, where it is often translated as “I will be” – as is the case for its first occurrence, in Genesis 26:3 – or “I shall be,” as is the case for its final occurrence in Zechariah 8:8. Used by God to identify himself in the burning bush, the importance placed on the phrase stems from the Hebrew conception of monotheism that God exists by himself for himself, and is the uncreated Creator who is independent of any concept, force, or entity; therefore “I am who I am” (ongoing).
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Keywords: Yahweh, Jehovah, God's divine name, Divine name, God's name, Name of God, Holy name, YHWH, I am, I am that I am, I am the Lord, LORD, Lord God, Self existent one, I will be, I am who I am, I am the Being, I am He Who Is, Tetragrammaton, Tetra, Tetragrammatron, Tetragramatron, Tetragramaton
Bible reference(s): Exodus 3:14, Exo 15:2
Source: This article uses material from the Wikipedia article “I Am that I Am,” which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.
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