Jehovah`s Witness/ego eimi
QUESTION: Hi there.
I have recently read your dialogue on the ego eimi subject, my question to you is what bible was read in the first century was it greek or hebrew?
ANSWER: Hello Daniel,
Thank you for your question.
Basically the answer to your question is Both the Hebrew and The Greek Writings were used by the first century Christians
Hebrew, Aramaic, an Greek were spoken in the first century.
The portion of the Bible that we know today as the Old Testament was available in both the Hebrew and the Greek language at the time of Jesus and his followers in the first century.
In the synagogues of the Hebrew speaking Jews, Hebrew texts have been found. So it indicates that they at least used the Hebrew versions of the Old Testament.
The Biblical evidence suggest that when Jesus was in the Synagogues he would have read from the Hebrew Scrolls.
But, Greek speaking Jews used the Greek text that we call the Septuagint.
According to some early writings , Matthew evidently wrote his book of account of Jesus life in Hebrew, evidently meant as a conclusion to the Hebrew Texts. It was later translated into Greek and that is what has survived.
Early in the third century, Origen, in discussing the Gospels, is quoted by Eusebius as saying that the “first was written . . . according to Matthew, . . . who published it for those who from Judaism came to believe, composed as it was in the Hebrew language"
Jerome, in the fourth century, wrote: “Matthew, who is also Levi, and who from a publican came to be an apostle, first of all composed a Gospel of Christ in Judaea in the Hebrew language and characters for the benefit of those of the circumcision who had believed.”
Luke an educated physician records that Paul (trained as a Pharisee and in Law) spoke in Hebrew
“ And when they heard that he spoke to them in the Hebrew language, they kept the more silence: and he saith,” (KJV)
“And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.”(KJV)
We do not know exactly who much of the the Greek Septuagint, or the Hebrew was used. However it appears as if that both text is sometimes quoted from by various New Testament Bibles Writers.
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
QUESTION: Hi brenton thank you for your reply.
So if jesus spoke hebrew what would he have said instead of ego eimi?
Also why do you think jesus used such a phrase or title that is linked so closely to the eternal God?
ANSWER: Hello Daniel,
Thank you for the follow up question.
Sorry for the delay, I have had to re write this a couple of time to try to make it flow and understandable. There are several links in this reply to internet sites. I have tried to copy the various Hebrew words but they do not present well when copied so, I do suggest that you look at the web sites, especially the ones that discuss various forms of the Hebrew verb I will be discussing. I hope I have been able to do that and be able to show why I have come to the conclusions I have.
A brief answer to your second question is I do NOT think
that Jesus used "a phrase or title that is SO CLOSELY
linked to the eternal God" I hope the following information explains that.
First I am not schooled in Biblical Hebrew or modern Hebrew, so I can not give you a definitive answer to your question as to the exact wording
in the correct grammatical stetting
that Jesus may have used if
at that time he was speaking Hebrew. I can only give you approximate words.
Seeing that the KJV and most other Bibles generally render ego eimi as “I am” (especially at John 8:58
) many people associate ego eimi “I am” with the words of the KJV at Exodus 3:14
where the KJV and many others use the wording “I AM” 3 times. Unfortunately this rendering is NOT correct. It is true that the BASIC root verb of the Hebrew word here can mean “I am” the truth is at Exodus 3:14
the verb here has a different form to the root word.
I will start by showing what most KJV Bibles do when they link to Strongs Hebrew Lexicon, they give only the basic root word meaning.
This is a cut and past from one of my programs (The H numbers refer to Strongs Hebrew Lexicon) “Exo_3:14 And GodH430 saidH559 untoH413 Moses,H4872 I AMH1961
THATH834 I AM:H1961
and he said,H559 ThusH3541 shalt thou sayH559 unto the childrenH1121 of Israel,H3478 I AMH1961
hath sentH7971 me untoH413 you. “
(If you do not have any software that links the Bible to Strongs, try this online one http://www.apostolic-churches.net/bible/strongs/exodus_3.shtml
click on words underlined) The above web site gives the following meaning to the verb rend”ered as “AM. None of the meanings are “AM”
AV - was, come to pass, came, has been, were happened, become,
pertained, better for thee; 75
1) to be, become, come to pass, exist, happen, fall out
1a1a) to happen, fall out, occur, take place, come about,
come to pass
1a1b) to come about, come to pass
1a2) to come into being, become
1a2a) to arise, appear, come
1a2b) to become
1a2b1) to become
1a2b2) to become like
1a2b3) to be instituted, be established
1a3) to be
1a3a) to exist, be in existence
1a3b) to abide, remain, (with word of place or time)
1a3c) to stand, lie, be in, be at, be situated (with word
1a3d) to accompany, be with
1b1) to occur, come to pass, be done, be brought about
1b2) to be done, be finished, be gone
Here is an on line link to that verse on the internet for any readers that do not have access to Strongs Lexicon
If you have a copy of Strongs Hebrew Lexicon look up word number 1961. If you do not have a copy of Strongs here is link for you to see the basic form of that word http://studybible.info/strongs/H1961
This site will also give you Brown-Driver-Briggs' Hebrew Definitions of the word. Another feature at the bottom it will show you how the word is used in the KJV.
The following web site will give you almost the same information but adds the different Hebrew forms of the verb http://biblehub.com/hebrew/1961.htm
At Exodus 3:14
the verb here is אֶֽהְיֶ֑ה and is in the causative mood. “The causative mood expresses causation to the verb (he casued a cut). “ http://www.ancient-hebrew.org/26_verbs.html
Here are some examples of this form of that verb. I show the KJV rendering followed by the 1984 NWT appears in the following texts.
And he said, Certainly I will be with thee; (KJV) “To this he said: “Because I shall prove” (NWT)
“And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.” (KJV)
“At this God said to Moses: “I SHALL PROVE TO BE WHAT I SHALL PROVE TO BE.” And he added: “This is what you are to say to the sons of Israel, ‘I SHALL PROVE TO BE has sent me to YOU” (NWT)
“Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth,” (KJV) “.. and I myself shall prove to be with your mouth “
“..and I will be with thy mouth,” (KJV) “..and I myself shall prove to be with your mouth and his mouth” (NWT)
“..and I will be with thee.” (KJV) “I myself shall continue with you” (NWT)
Check out the rest here http://biblehub.com/hebrew/ehyeh_1961.htm
From this page you can see all the various forms of היה
The Divine name is יְהוָ֥ה Strongs Hebrew Lexicon word number 3068 see the following web sites
and for a discussion of the Divine name see http://www.lifespurpose.net/divinename/NameofGod1.htm#start
What word would Jesus would have used if
he was speaking Hebrew at what John records at John 8:58
? Probably a form
of the Hebrew verb היה What form that would have been I do not know. There are about 100 different forms of that verb used in the Hebrew Texts. But if I had to hazard a guess, I would say it may have been הָיִ֔יתִי (hā·yî·ṯî ) and is used, for example at Exodus 2:22
“ And she bare him a son, and he called his name Gershom: for he said, I have been
a stranger in a strange land.” You can see the other 47 times it is used at http://biblehub.com/hebrew/hayiti_1961.htm
The LXX of this verse can be found at http://www.studylight.org/desk/interlinear.cgi?search_form_type=interlinear&q1=E
The Greek does not include the personal pronoun “ego” but the English translation of the Greek does use “I”.
You can use http://biblehub.com/hebrew/hayiti_1961.htm
and cut and past each Scripyer from there into http://www.studylight.org/desk/interlinear.cgi?search_form_type=interlinear&q1=&
to compare the Greek LXX. I have not compared ALL the texts yest but found so far only one time where the LXX does not use “eimi” as a translation of הָיִ֔יתִי (hā·yî·ṯî )
I have argued in past conversations with other people that some scholars say that at John 8:58 the context is about time i.e. the age of Jesus compared to the age of Abraham. When I was resaeching more on the Greek “ego eimi” I found tow other verses in the NT where “ego eimi” is used in refernce to time, and in both cases it is not presented in the KJV as “I am”. So far I have not seen any comments on this from anyone, but no doubt there is somewhere
The first instance is In a parable by Jesus he talks about time aspect of already knowing a matter. Here ego eimi is rendered as "I was"
And he saith unto him, Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee, thou wicked servant. Thou knewest that I <1473 ego> was <1510 eimi>
an austere man, taking up that I laid not down, and reaping that I did not sow:
On one occasion when speaking to Phillip about the length of time that they have been together. Jesus uses “eimi” without “ego” but in the same form as “eiemi” at John 8:58 that is Verb indicative, present tense, first person.
Jesus saith unto him, Have I been <1510>
so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?
Looking at the evidence does it seem that Jesus was using “a phrase or title that is linked so closely to the eternal God” ? My answer would be NO, In John 8:58
Jesus was not refereeing the Divine name at all as the Greek word used is different to the Hebrew and the Greek term used at Exodus 3:24
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
QUESTION: Thanks again for a great reply.
I have two more questions.
if it was hebrew that jesus used in this scripture which would of been hayah, is it possible he could of used the same words as in exodus 3 ?
My final question is, what made the religious jews think jesus was claiming to be God in John chapter 10 ?
Greetings again Daniel
The first part of your question above was
if it was hebrew that jesus used in this scripture which would of been hayah , is it possible he could of used the same words as in exodus 3 ?
May I ask please, why do you think that Jesus used the verb hayah
Your second question
what made the religious jews think jesus was claiming to be God in John chapter 10 ?
Can you please tell me what verse in John 10 says that the Jews thought Jesus was claiming
to be God? I am assuming you are referring to Verses 30 and 31 which reads in the JKV “30 I and my Father are one. 31 Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him.” and in verse 33 where the Jews reply "but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God."
Why do you think that the word God here is referring to the God they worshiped?