3:14 God said to Moses, “I am that I am.” 1 And he said, “You must say this 2 to the Israelites, ‘I am has sent me to you.’” 3:15 God also said to Moses, “You must say this to the Israelites, ‘The Lord 3 – the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob – has sent me to you. This is my name 4 forever, and this is my memorial from generation to generation.’ 5
3:16 “Go and bring together 6 the elders of Israel and tell them, ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers, 7 appeared 8 to me – the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob – saying, “I have attended carefully 9 to you and to what has been done 10 to you in Egypt,
1 tn The verb form used here is אֶהְיֶה (’ehyeh), the Qal imperfect, first person common singular, of the verb הָיָה (haya, “to be”). It forms an excellent paronomasia with the name. So when God used the verb to express his name, he used this form saying, “
2 tn Or “Thus you shall say” (also in the following verse). The word “must” in the translation conveys the instructional and imperatival force of the statement.
3 sn Heb “Yahweh,” traditionally rendered “the
4 sn The words “name” and “memorial” are at the heart of the two parallel clauses that form a poetic pair. The Hebrew word “remembrance” is a poetical synonym for “name” (cf. Job 18:17; Ps 135:13; Prov 10:7; Isa 26:8) and conveys the idea that the nature or character of the person is to be remembered and praised (S. R. Driver, Exodus, 24).
5 tn The repetition of “generation” in this expression serves as a periphrasis for the superlative: “to the remotest generation” (GKC 432 §133.l).
6 tn The form is the perfect tense with the sequential vav (ו) linking the nuance to the imperative that precedes it. Since the imperative calls for immediate action, this form either carries the same emphasis, or instructs action that immediately follows it. This applies likewise to “say,” which follows.
7 sn “The God of your fathers” is in simple apposition to the name “the
9 tn The verb פָּקַד (paqad) has traditionally been rendered “to visit.” This only partially communicates the point of the word. When God “visited” someone, it meant that he intervened in their lives to change their circumstances or their destiny. When he visited the Amalekites, he destroyed them (1 Sam 15:2). When he visited Sarah, he provided the long awaited child (Gen 21:1). It refers to God’s active involvement in human affairs for blessing or for cursing. Here it would mean that God had begun to act to deliver the Israelites from bondage and give them the blessings of the covenant. The form is joined here with the infinitive absolute to underscore the certainty – “I have indeed visited you.” Some translate it “remember”; others say “watch over.” These do not capture the idea of intervention to bless, and often with the idea of vengeance or judgment on the oppressors. If God were to visit what the Egyptians did, he would stop the oppression and also bring retribution for it. The nuance of the perfect tense could be a perfect of resolve (“I have decided to visit”), or an instantaneous perfect ( “I hereby visit”), or a prophetic perfect (“I have visited” = “I will visit”). The infinitive absolute reinforces the statement (so “carefully”), the rendering “attended to” attempts to convey the ideas of personal presence, mental awareness, and action, as when a nurse or physician “attends” a patient.
sn The same word was used in the same kind of construction at the end of Genesis (50:24) when Joseph promised, “God will surely visit you” (but there the imperfect tense with the infinitive absolute). Here is another link to the patriarchal narratives. This work of Moses would be interpreted as a fulfillment of Joseph’s prophecy.
10 tn The second object for the verb is the passive participle הֶעָשׂוּי (he’asuy). To say that God has visited the oppression (or “attended to” it) affirms that God has decided to judge the oppressing people as he blesses Israel.