and I appear unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, as God Almighty; as to My name Jehovah, I have not been known to them;
Exodus 6:3 Additional TranslationsClarke's Commentary on the Bible
By the name of God Almighty - אל שדי EL-Shaddal, God All-sufficient; God the dispenser or pourer-out of gifts. See Clarke on Genesis 17:1 (note).
But by my name JEHOVAH was I not known to them - This passage has been a sort of crux criticorum, and has been variously explained. It is certain that the name Jehovah was in use long before the days of Abraham, see Genesis 2:4, where the words יהוה אלהים Jehovah Elohim occur, as they do frequently afterwards; and see Genesis 15:2, where Abraham expressly addresses him by the name Adonai Jehovah; and see Genesis 15:7, where God reveals himself to Abraham by this very name: And he said unto him, I am Jehovah, that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees. How then can it be said that by his name Jehovah he was not known unto them? Several answers have been given to this question; the following are the chief: - 1. The words should be read interrogatively, for the negative particle לא lo, not, has this power often in Hebrew. "I appeared unto Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob by the name of God Almighty, and by my name Jehovah was I not also made known unto them?" 2. The name Jehovah was not revealed before the time mentioned here, for though it occurs so frequently in the book of Genesis, as that book was written long after the name had come into common use, as a principal characteristic of God, Moses employs it in his history because of this circumstance; so that whenever it appears previously to this, it is by the figure called prolepsis or anticipation. 3. As the name יהוה Jehovah signifies existence, it may be understood in the text in question thus: "I appeared unto Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob by my name God Almighty, or God All-sufficient, i.e., having all power to do all good; in this character I made a covenant with them, supported by great and glorious promises; but as those promises had respect unto their posterity, they could not be fulfilled to those fathers: but now, as Jehovah, I am about to give existence to all those promises relative to your support, deliverance from bondage, and your consequent settlement in the promised land." 4. The words may be considered as used comparatively: though God did appear to those patriarchs as Jehovah, and they acknowledged him by this name, yet it was but comparatively known unto them; they knew nothing of the power and goodness of God, in comparison of what the Israelites were now about to experience.
I believe the simple meaning is this, that though from the beginning the name Jehovah was known as one of the names of the Supreme Being, yet what it really implied they did not know. אל שלי El-Shaddai, God All-sufficient, they knew well by the continual provision he made for them, and the constant protection he afforded them: but the name יהוה Jehovah is particularly to be referred to the accomplishment of promises already made; to the giving them a being, and thus bringing them into existence, which could not have been done in the order of his providence sooner than here specified: this name therefore in its power and significancy was not known unto them; nor fully known unto their descendants till the deliverance from Egypt and the settlement in the promised land. It is surely possible for a man to bear the name of a certain office or dignity before he fulfills any of its functions. King, mayor, alderman, magistrate, constable, may be borne by the several persons to whom they legally belong, before any of the acts peculiar to those offices are performed. The King, acknowledged as such on his coronation, is known to be such by his legislative acts; the civil magistrate, by his distribution of justice, and issuing warrants for the apprehending of culprits; and the constable, by executing those warrants. All these were known to have their respective names, but the exercise of their powers alone shows what is implied in being king, magistrate, and constable. The following is a case in point, which fell within my own knowledge.
A case of dispute between certain litigious neighbors being heard in court before a weekly sitting of the magistrates, a woman who came as an evidence in behalf of her bad neighbor, finding the magistrates inclining to give judgment against her mischievous companion, took her by the arm and said, "Come away! I told you you would get neither law nor justice in this place." A magistrate, who was as much an honor to his function as he was to human nature, immediately said, "Here, constable! take that woman and lodge her in Bridewell, that she may know there is some law and justice in this place." Thus the worthy magistrate proved he had the power implied in the name by executing the duties of his office. And God who was known as Jehovah, the being who makes and gives effect to promises, was known to the descendants of the twelve tribes to be That Jehovah, by giving effect and being to the promises which he had made to their fathers.
Treasury of Scripture Knowledge
God Almighty. El shadday, God Almighty; for shadday is evidently of affinity with the Arabic shadid, strong, mighty, and shiddat, strength, might;
Genesis 17:1 And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said to him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me...
Genesis 28:3 And God Almighty bless you, and make you fruitful, and multiply you, that you may be a multitude of people;
Genesis 35:11 And God said to him, I am God Almighty: be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall be of you...
Genesis 48:3 And Jacob said to Joseph, God Almighty appeared to me at Luz in the land of Canaan, and blessed me,
but by my name. If Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, did not know the name Jehovah, then Moses must have used it in Genesis by prolepsis, or anticipation. Mr. Locke and others read it interrogatively, for the negative particle, lo, not, has frequently this power in Hebrew: 'I appeared unto Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, by the name of God Almighty, and by my name Jehovah was I not also made known unto them?' JEHOVAH
Exodus 3:14 And God said to Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shall you say to the children of Israel, I AM has sent me to you.
Genesis 12:7,8 And the LORD appeared to Abram, and said, To your seed will I give this land: and there built he an altar to the LORD...
Genesis 13:18 Then Abram removed his tent, and came and dwelled in the plain of Mamre, which is in Hebron, and built there an altar to the LORD.
Genesis 22:14 And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovahjireh: as it is said to this day, In the mount of the LORD it shall be seen.
Psalm 68:4 Sing to God, sing praises to his name: extol him that rides on the heavens by his name JAH, and rejoice before him.
Psalm 83:18 That men may know that you, whose name alone is JEHOVAH, are the most high over all the earth.
Isaiah 42:8 I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images.
Isaiah 44:6 Thus said the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last...
Isaiah 52:5,6 Now therefore, what have I here, said the LORD, that my people is taken away for nothing? they that rule over them make them to howl...
John 8:58 Jesus said to them, Truly, truly, I say to you, Before Abraham was, I am.
Revelation 1:4 John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be to you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come...
Exodus 6:3 Parallel CommentariesAbraham Actual Almighty Appear Appeared Correspond Hebrew Isaac Jacob Jewish Letters Original Publication Ruler Society Text Uses VerseAbraham Actual Almighty Appear Appeared Correspond Hebrew Isaac Jacob Jewish Letters Original Publication Ruler Society Text Uses VerseTHE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica®.
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