Ehyeh ašer ehyeh: “Al Azāly alladzī lā yazūlu” الأزلي الذي لا يزول (Rabbi Sa’adiah ben Yosef Gaon)

Another classic article by Eric bin Kisam reblogged from 2016

In Exodus/Shemot 3:14 prophet Moses asked God what is His name, then God said to him  Ehyeh ašer ehyeh  אֶהְיֶה אֲשֶׁר אֶהְיֶה.  The common English translation of this enigmatic phrase is: “I am what I am“, often contracted in English as “I AM” and often thought of as one of God’s names.  I  probably think that the most literal translation of the meaning of the phrase from Hebrew is “I Shall Be What I Shall Be“.

However one may wonder what this God’s Name really is?  I would like draw the reader attention to the works of the great  Rabbi Saadia Gaon ben Yosef (882-942)  or  Saʻīd bin Yūsuf al-Fayyūmi  also known by the acronym “Rasag” who is the most famous Gaonic sage, a great Talmudic scholar,  philosopher and Hebrew grammarian.

In his Arabic translation of the Torah in Exodus 3 :14 he translated Ehyeh ašer ehyeh  as  “Al Azāly alladzī lā yazūlu” الأزلي الذي لا يزول  which means

The eternal which  never perishes


Interesting to note also that great medieval commentator of the Torah from rabbi Samuel ben Meir aka “Rashbam”, the  grandson of rabbi Shlomo Yitzhaki, “Rashi” who also wrote on Exodus 3:14:

 ויאמר אלוקים אל משה, if you do not know My name, I will tell you that I am the Eternal. This means that I can fulfill any promise I make. Now that I have told you that My name is “the Eternal,” כה תאמר, thus you shall say to the Children of Israel, “the One Who is the Eternal has sent me to you.”


It is evident that the Rashag and Rashbam rendering of the verse does away with any possibility that God is one being in Three Persons. The entirety of the existence of God is that He shall always be eternal. The trinitarian truth claim that Jesus was begotten was then invalidated.  God is always ONE unseparated, exclusive PERSON the ONE who never ceases to exist – therefore who absolutely does not die.  If there is existence that ‘eternity’ belongs to, then there is ONE who exists and will aways exist, never begotten.  If there is ONE who never perishes, then there is only ONE who does. No other “personages” can be introduced.

Thus He Shall Be What He Shall Be: “The Eternal”.

Categories: Bible, Eric bin Kisam, God, Jesus, Judaism, Trinity

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