BBR 2006b 09-Pannell

Publish in

Documents

15 views

Please download to get full document.

View again

of 3
All materials on our website are shared by users. If you have any questions about copyright issues, please report us to resolve them. We are always happy to assist you.
Share
Description
Bulletin for Biblical Research 16.2 (2006) 351–353 SHORT STUDY I Would Be Who I Would Be! A Proposal for Reading Exodus 3:11–14 randall j. pannell regent university The notion of this short note is to propose a reading of the ªehyeh ªåser ªehyeh phrase of Exod 3:14 in light of the Hebrew cohortative. The focus of this reading is that God is presented as speaking of his will, wish, and/or desire with regard to who he is. As a response to the Mosaic question “What shall I say to them when they
Tags
Transcript
  Bulletin for Biblical Research  16.2 (2006) 351–353 SHORT STUDY  I Would  Be Who I  Would Be! A Proposal for Reading Exodus 3:11–14 randall j. pannell regent university The notion of this short note is to propose a reading of the  ªehyeh ª ås er ªehyeh  phrase of Exod 3:14 in light of the Hebrew cohortative. The focus of this readingis that God is presented as speaking of his will, wish, and/or desire with regardto who he is. As a response to the Mosaic question “What shall I say to themwhen they ask, ‘What is his name?’” this opens new possibilities for the exegesisof this verse as well as for the meaning of the Tetragrammaton.Key Words: Divine Name, Exod 3:14, Hebrew cohortative, sympathetic magic,Tetragrammaton, Y   hwh  Exod 3:11 : But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pha-raoh and free the Israelites from Egypt?” 12 And He said, “I will bewith you; that shall be your sign that it was I who sent you. And whenyou have freed the people from Egypt, you shall worship God at thismountain.” 13 Moses said to God, “When I come to the Israelites andsay to them ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they askme, ‘What is His name?’ what shall I say to them?” 14 And God saidto Moses, “Ehyeh-Asher-Ehyeh.” He continued, “Thus shall you sayto the Israelites, ‘Ehyeh sent me to you.’” ( njpsv ) “Few verses in the entire Old Testament have evoked such heated contro-versy and such widely divergent interpretations.” Thus Brevard Childs begins the discussion of the “Problem of Ex. 3:14 and the Divine Name”within his literary and form-critical analysis of Exod 3:1– 4:17. 1 It is, there-fore, with a certain amount of reticence that I would like to offer one moreconsideration regarding this controversial passage. It is my contention thatthe enigmatic phrase hyha rva hyha  of Exod 3:14 could and should be read 1. B. Childs, Exodus  (OTL; Philadelphia: Westminster, 1974), 61.  Bulletin for Biblical Research 16.2 352 as a cohortative construction. This would suggest significant possibilitiesregarding the rendering of the pericope of 3:11–14. 2 Among the varied views and theories regarding hyha rva hyha , a sig-nificant perspective has been overlooked. It is quite likely that either oneor both of the first-person forms of the hyh  verb in this phrase are cohorta-tive . The mere possibility alone adds a certain twist to the search for theimplications of this phrase, first, for the pericope itself and, second, for re-lated considerations regarding the meaning of the divine Tetragrammatonas it relates to Exod 3:14.Although the cohortative form in the h uu l  verbs is not a morphologicalcertainty, it is more than a mere possibility that either or both hy,h}a<  are co-hortatives . Normally the first person cohortative  morphology is designated by a ( h : ) suffix. However, in the h uu l  verbs such as hyh , the suffix typically becomes ( h < ) and replaces the final h radical of the verb. 3  Although theverb’s context must be the ultimate arbiter in such cases, it is plausible that both first-person singulars in Exod 3:14 are cohortative  in force rather than mere  imperfects.The prospects of a cohortative  meaning in Exod 3:14 are significant. No-tably the cohortative  is best described as expressing   “the direction of thewill to an action and thus denotes especially self-encouragement, . . . a res-olution or a wish.” As an optative , “the cohortative lays stress on the de-termination underlying the action, and the personal interest in it.” 4  GKCfurther describes what van der Merwe et al. call “an indirect command tothe 1st person” as an expression, which results from an “inward deliber-ation” (for example, in soliloquies) and is a “more or less emphatic state-ment of a fixed determination.” 5 Davidson adds that, while the basicpurpose of the cohortative  is “to express the will of the speaker in referenceto his own actions, . . . when the speaker is free (as is the case in Exod 3:14)the cohortative  expresses intention or determination, or . . . desire.” 6  Basi-cally stated, just as the imperative  expresses command, intention, or delib-eration in the second person, and the  jussive  the same in the third person, 2. My own suspicion is that it casts this pericope within a polemical context regarding“sympathetic magical” usage of the divine name. I use the phrase “sympathetic magic” to de-note generally the magico-ritualistic mode of gaining the desired and beneficial purposes ofthe practitioner. 3. GKC   130, 210. Although it must be noted that the noncohortative (that is, without the h<  suffix) first-person form of all imperfect  tenses of the h uu l  verbs would also be rendered withthe same pointing (for example, the non cohortative   hc≤[”a< , Gen 2:18). Even though GKC   state,“The ordinary form of the imperfect  with the ending h< serves in verbs h uu l  to express the co-hortative ,” they also contend that “a strongly-marked peculiarity of verbs h uu l  is the rejection of the ending h< in forming the  jussive  and the imperfect   consecutive ,” which seems to indicatea greater probability that the ending h<  indicates a cohortative in verbs h uu l  (p. 210).4. GKC §48e/p. 130; §108/p. 319.5. For example, in English, “Let me . . . ,” “I will  . . . ,” or “I would  . . .” (ibid., 130, 319–20).Compare Christo van der Merwe et al.,  A Biblical Hebrew Reference Grammar  (Biblical Lan-guages: Hebrew 3; Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1999), 71.6. A. B. Davidson,  Hebrew Syntax  (3rd ed.; Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1901), 88.  Pannell :  A Proposal for Reading Exodus 3:11–14 353 the cohortative  is a particular expression of the speaker’s will, deliberation,determination, or intention(s) in the first person.Thus, as applied to Exod 3:14, if either one or both hy,h}a<  is cohortative ,we have a divine resolution or emphatic wish-intention , perhaps as a resultof an inward deliberation, in which God places stress on his own being . Inother words, the expression could be rendered something like “ Let me be what I would be !” or “I will  be who I would  be!” The emphasis is not on cre-ation, action, or the like, per se; rather, it is an issue of self-determinationor control over his own being. Another way of expressing this idea might be “ No one controls me but me !” 7 Normally an ontology of divine being would seem out of character forthe Hebrew canon. We are then left to ask what interest or concern wouldevoke such a possible agenda here. It seems to the present writer that theissue is rather one of divine freedom of self-expression in light of a pos-sible attempt by the questioner to solicit the divine name within the fre-quently encountered sympathetic magical environment of both the textand even the historical time of the Egyptian sojourn by Israel. The perspective of Exod 3:11–14 (Exod 3–4?) could thus constitute aliterary response to divine concerns regarding syncretism in Israel’s faith.A cohortative  reading in Exod 3:11–14 could establish an important polemi-cal foundation within the divine-Mosaic dialogue in Exod 3–4. Given the fundamental nature of these texts in the definition ofY hwh -Israel relations, a cohortative  reading establishes a particular sort of theologuemon —namely, Y hwh  can and will be known to Israel; this knowl-edge will be the basis of (covenant) relation between the two; but thisknowledge will not  be the basis of either controlling or manipulatingY hwh . The Israelite task is rendered clearly “to hear” and “to obey” thatwhich Y hwh  declares. The task is not to find ways to appease, placate, in-fluence, or control him. 7. See Childs’s discussion of ontology in this formulation ( Exodus , 83, 88); also WalterBrueggemann, “The Book of Exodus: Introduction, Commentary, and Reflections,” NIB 1:714;compare with George W. Coats,  Moses: Heroic Man, Man of God  (JSOTSup 57; Sheffield: Shef-field University Press, 1988), 65. Note Fox’s discussion of presence or “ being - there ” in the for-mulation (Everett Fox, The Five Books of Moses: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy. A New Translation with Introductions, Commentary, and Notes  [The Schocken Bible; New York:Schocken, 1995], 1:270). Also note the similar use of a single hy,h}a<  in Hos 1:9, which could like-wise be translated as a cohortative expression of Y hwh ’s will concerning his own being, “I would  NOT be yours [lit., ‘to you’].” Compare with J. Andrew Dearman, Religion and Culturein Ancient Israel  (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1992), 23–24.
Related Search

Previous Document

Bab 2.pdf

We Need Your Support
Thank you for visiting our website and your interest in our free products and services. We are nonprofit website to share and download documents. To the running of this website, we need your help to support us.

Thanks to everyone for your continued support.

No, Thanks