Hebrew is based on a root word system of three letters, and occasionally two, in which the meaning begins to change as aspects are added to, or altered in that root. The same root can be in a noun form and a verb form. Prefixing and suffixing the root takes the basic meaning of the root and then adds tense, number, gender, definite status, and other prepositions, or words. Hebrew crams as much information into a word as is seemingly possible. But when it comes to the biblical narratives, it really brings clarity that is missing in translation, and in many cases, corrects the intent lost in poor translations.
Take the verb root, amar (אָמר), meaning “to say”, which is used in two ways in this passage. First used twice in the term “vayyōmer” (and he said), and then again in the term “tōmar” (you will say). “Vayyomer” is what is called a vayyiqtol verb tense (note the “vay” on the beginning of the term “omer”), denoting the narrative past tense of a verb. Since it’s Christmas time, think of Burl Ives narrating the Rudolf story. LOL! Then note the “tav”, or “T” sound on the beginning of “tomar.” That denotes the Yiqtol verb tense, which is future tense, hence “you WILL say.”
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.
The aspect of the verse I wanted to present is the term, “eh’yeh asher eh’yeh”, which is presented in our English bibles as saying, “I Am that I Am.” Although, I believe the intent of that translation was to avoid denoting that Yahweh wasn’t an ongoing, and always current, eternal existence, grammatically it is actually written in a Yiqtol future tense in Hebrew. It literally reads as: “I will be who I will be.”
The name of Yahweh is a derivative of the Hebrew verb, hayah, meaning “he was.” Its present participle form is “hoveh”, and its future (yiqtol) form is “yih’yeh”, which we see in this verse using “eh’yeh”. Yih’yeh means “he will be.” But in this verse it is presented as spoken from the first person, denoted by the prefixed aleph (א ) on the beginning, saying “I will be.”
Throughout scripture, when we see Yahweh’s name, it means what Jesus says of Himself in Revelation chapter 1: “I am he who is, who was, and who will be.” Exodus 3:14 is just another example of this truth stated in a veil to be revealed at an appointed time. In hindsight, having the New Testament, we can see the meaning. But then, they didn’t perceive, nor could they have. But the Jews knew what Jesus was saying, which is why they called Him a blasphemer and killed Him.
He was saying, “I Am Yahweh.”