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Home » Daily Readings, Old Testament

I AM

Submitted by on Friday, 17 July 2009No Comment

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NAB HomepageToday’s Reading

The selection from Exodus 3:13-20 is about the call of Moses and God’s revelation to Him as “I Am”. The narrative is introduced by a clause at the end of Exodus 2

(T)he Israelites groaned and cried out because of their slavery. As their cry for release went up to God, he heard their groaning and was mindful of his covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He saw the Israelites and knew. (Ex. 3:23b-25)

The name that God reveals to Moses is Ahye asher ahye which has has been translated as “I am who Am”. However, we now realize that the Hebrew word “asher”, translated normally as a relative pronoun can also stand for a colon or a quotation mark. So by the phrase Ahye asher ahye, God is also saying “I am “I am“”. This is validated when in the next line, God says: “Tell them “I AM sent me to you”” (v.14b)

In the Gospel of John, we find Jesus using the name for Himself, using it absolutely  (I AM, e.g. John 8:24) and with predicates (I am the Bread of life, I am the Resurrection and the Life, I am the Way, the Truth and the Life, etc.).  The reason is obvious, and justifies the confession of Thomas towards the end of the Gospel’s first conclusion:  “My Lord and My God”  (John 20:28).

The name God reveals to Moses is a revelation of his attitude towards his people:  I AM for you, I AM with you, I AM here to save you.  The rest of the book of Exodus and the Pentateuch verifies this meaning. 

Exodus 3:13-20
View in: NAB NIV KJV NJB Vulg LXX Hebrew
13Moses said to God: Lo, I shall go to the children of Israel, and say to them: The God of your fathers hath sent me to you. If they should say to me: What is his name? what shall I say to them?
14God said to Moses: I AM WHO AM. He said: Thus shalt thou say to the children of Israel: HE WHO IS, hath sent me to you.
15And God said again to Moses: Thus shalt thou say to the children of Israel: The Lord God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me to you: This is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations.
16Go, gather together the ancients of Israel, and thou shalt say to them: The Lord God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath appeared to me, saying: Visiting I have visited you: and I have seen all that hath befallen you in Egypt.
17And I have said the word to bring you forth out of the affliction of Egypt, into the land of the Chanaanite, the Hethite, and the Amorrhite, and Pherezite, and Hevite, and Jebusite, to a land that floweth with milk and honey.
18And they shall hear thy voice: and thou shalt go in, thou and the ancients of Israel, to the king of Egypt, and thou shalt say to him: The Lord God of the Hebrews hath called us: we will go three days' journey into the wilderness, to sacrifice unto the Lord our God.
19But I know that the king of Egypt will not let you go, but by a mighty hand.
20For I will stretch forth my hand and will strike Egypt with all my wonders which I will do in the midst of them: after these he will let you go.
John 8:24
View in: NAB NIV KJV NJB Vulg Greek
24Therefore I said to you, that you shall die in your sins. For if you believe not that I am he, you shall die in your sin.
John 20:28
View in: NAB NIV KJV NJB Vulg Greek
28Thomas answered, and said to him: My Lord, and my God.

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