One of Moshe's roles, at the time recorded by our Parasha, was to link the Children of Yisrael with their forefathers, history and destination, but not before establishing (for them and even more so for himself) the identity of their Elohim. This was no easy task! YHVH had already revealed Himself to Moshe in the desert, both in sight and word. And while Moshe was trying to negotiate with Par'oh on behalf of the Master of the Universe, as well as to 'introduce' Him to His own people, he himself had a hard time grasping the awesome revelation which was unfolding before his eyes. Our Parasha opens up with yet another monologue of Moshe's heavenly Father, displaying great patience with His child, who at this point had not fully adjusted to the dimensions of his newly found destiny and relationship. The opening "I am YHVH", together with the subsequent words, serve as another reminder to Moshe, designed to anchor, steady, and prepare him for what is ahead and to build up his trust and faith. Last week, upon his inquiry as to Elohim's name, YHVH gave him a somewhat elusive answer (3:14): “Ehe'ye asher ehe'ye”, adding, “thus you shall say to the Children of Israel, Ehe'ye has sent me”. These words are (typically) translated: ”I am that I am”. Yet if we glance back at 3:12, we find that “ehe'ye” means “I will” (as it says there: “I will be with you”). It appears that YHVH was not about to divulge His real (or 'full') name at that point. His response and the tone by which it was conveyed sounds almost like a (temporary) discharge or dismissal. Thus, paraphrased, it may be read: 'never you mind Moshe… I Am and Will be Who I Am - what is it to you?' (Compare Yeshua's response to Shimon Keifa - Peter - in John 21:22).
2 Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, Vol. 2,
ed. R. Laird Harris, Moody Press,