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An Interpretation of the Name of God, in Ex 3:13-15 Based on the Ancient Egyptian Understanding

Eunpyung Ju 1

1성결대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

Until now, Old Testament studies has attempted to find the meaning of the holy name of YHWH. But we are hesitant to define the holy name of YHWH because God did not state the meaning of His own name clearly. This paper explores the meaning of God’s name, YHWH, and how it was revealed to Moses in Ex 3:13-15. Moses asked God of His name in Ex 3:13: “If I come to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your ancestors has sent me to you’, and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?” This question is related to the consciousness of God among the ancient Near Eastern people. We can resolve this problem through the method of comparing Ex 3:14 with Egyptian Myth(=“The God and His Unknown Name of Power”). Egyptian god, Ra had diverse names according to his divine character and potency. Likewise Babylonian god Marduk had fifty different names. Ancient Near Eastern people thought that God did not describe the meaning of hwhy just as the foreign gods did. And God reveals himself as the one who emphasizes the existence and continuity by using wordplay of the root verb hy"h'. We can summarize the meaning of hwhy in four aspects: 1) Ontologically, God is the existential God. 2) Futurologically, God reveals His own existence through the exodus in Egypt for the future. 3) The almighty God cannot be compared with ancient Near Eastern gods who were called by various names according to their ability and character. 4) God cannot be restricted to a name. God is the only one and real infinite God.

Citation status

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