Exodus 3:14 MEANING

Exodus 3:14
(14) I AM THAT I AM.--It is generally assumed that this is given to Moses as the full name of God. But perhaps it is rather a deep and mysterious statement of His nature. "I am that which I am." My nature, i.e., cannot be declared in words, cannot be conceived of by human thought. I exist in such sort that my whole inscrutable nature is implied in my existence. I exist, as nothing else does--necessarily, eternally, really. If I am to give myself a name expressive of my nature, so far as language can be, let me be called "I AM."

Tell them I AM hath sent me unto you.--I AM, assumed as a name, implies (1) an existence different from all other existence. "I am, and there is none beside me" (Isaiah 45:6); (2) an existence out of time, with which time has nothing to do (John 8:58); (3), an existence that is real, all other being shadowy; (4) an independent and unconditioned existence, from which all other is derived, and on which it is dependent.

Verse 14. - I AM THAT I AM. No better translation can be given of the Hebrew words. "I will be that I will be (Geddes) is more literal, but less idiomatic, since the Hebrew was the simplest possible form of the verb substantive. "I am because I am" (Boothroyd) is wrong, since the word asher is certainly the relative. The Septuagint, Αγώ εἰμι ὁ ὤν, explains rather than translates, but is otherwise unobjectionable. 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. I AM hath sent me to you. "I am" is an abbreviated form of "I am that I am," and is intended to express the same idea.

3:11-15 Formerly Moses thought himself able to deliver Israel, and set himself to the work too hastily. Now, when the fittest person on earth for it, he knows his own weakness. This was the effect of more knowledge of God and of himself. Formerly, self-confidence mingled with strong faith and great zeal, now sinful distrust of God crept in under the garb of humility; so defective are the strongest graces and the best duties of the most eminent saints. But all objections are answered in, Certainly I will be with thee. That is enough. Two names God would now be known by. A name that denotes what he is in himself, I AM THAT I AM. This explains his name Jehovah, and signifies, 1. That he is self-existent: he has his being of himself. 2. That he is eternal and unchangeable, and always the same, yesterday, to-day, and for ever. 3. That he is incomprehensible; we cannot by searching find him out: this name checks all bold and curious inquiries concerning God. 4. That he is faithful and true to all his promises, unchangeable in his word as well as in his nature; let Israel know this, I AM hath sent me unto you. I am, and there is none else besides me. All else have their being from God, and are wholly dependent upon him. Also, here is a name that denotes what God is to his people. The Lord God of your fathers sent me unto you. Moses must revive among them the religion of their fathers, which was almost lost; and then they might expect the speedy performance of the promises made unto their fathers.And God said unto Moses, I am that I am,.... This signifies the real being of God, his self-existence, and that he is the Being of beings; as also it denotes his eternity and immutability, and his constancy and faithfulness in fulfilling his promises, for it includes all time, past, present, and to come; and the sense is, not only I am what I am at present, but I am what I have been, and I am what I shall be, and shall be what I am. The Platonists and Pythagoreans seem to have borrowed their from hence, which expresses with them the eternal and invariable Being; and so the Septuagint version here is : it is said (z), that the temple of Minerva at Sais, a city of Egypt, had this inscription on it,"I am all that exists, is, and shall be.''And on the temple of Apollo at Delphos was written the contraction of "I am" (a). Our Lord seems to refer to this name, John 8:58, and indeed is the person that now appeared; and the words may be rendered, "I shall be what I shall be" (b) the incarnate God, God manifest in the flesh:

thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you; or as the Targum of Jonathan has it,"I am he that is, and that shall be.''This is the name Ehjeh, or Jehovah, Moses is empowered to make use of, and to declare, as the name of the Great God by whom he was sent; and which might serve both to encourage him, and strengthen the faith of the Israelites, that they should be delivered by him.

(z) Phutarch. de Iside & Osir. (a) Plato in Timaeo. (b) "ero qui ero", Pagninus, Montanus, Fagius, Vatablus.

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