Adam Clarke's Commentary on the Bible

Verse 14 (Exodus 3:14)

I am that I am - אהיה אשר אהיה Eheyeh asher Eheyeh . These words have been variously understood. The Vulgate translates Ego Sum Qui Sum , I am who am. The Septuagint, Εγω ειμι ὁ Ων , I am he who exists. The Syriac, the Persic, and the Chaldee preserve the original words without any gloss. The Arabic paraphrases them, The Eternal, who passes not away; which is the same interpretation given by Abul Farajius, who also preserves the original words, and gives the above as their interpretation. The Targum of Jonathan, and the Jerusalem Targum paraphrase the words thus: "He who spake, and the world was; who spake, and all things existed." As the original words literally signify, I will be what I will be, some have supposed that God simply designed to inform Moses, that what he had been to his fathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, he would be to him and the Israelites; and that he would perform the promises he had made to his fathers, by giving their descendants the promised land. It is difficult to put a meaning on the words; they seem intended to point out the eternity and self-existence of God. Plato, in his Parmenides, where he treats sublimely of the nature of God, says, Ουδ ' αρα ονομα εστιν αυτῳ , nothing can express his nature; therefore no name can be attributed to him. See the conclusion of this chapter, Exodus 3:22 ; (note) and on the word Jehovah, Exodus 34:6 ; (note), Exodus 34:7 ; (note).

- Adam Clarke's Commentary on the Bible