God Hides His Names
In the Old Testament, God was asked His name at least three times, during His glorious visitations with man.
The first was when Jacob wrestled with the Angel of God, in Genesis 32.
The next was when God visited Moses in the burning bush passage, in Exodus 3.
The third was when God visited Manoah and his wife, in Judges 13.
Moses Asks God’s Name
“Then Moses said to God, ‘Indeed, when I come to the children of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they say to me, ‘What is His name?’ what shall I say to them?’”
And God said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM.’ And He said, ‘Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” Moreover God said to Moses, ‘Thus you shall say to the children of Israel: ‘The Lord God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you. This is My name forever, and this is My memorial to all generations’” (Exodus 3:13-15).
Manoah Asks God’s Name
“Then Manoah said to the Angel of the Lord, ‘What is Your name, that when Your words come to pass we may honor You?’
And the Angel of the Lord said to him, ‘Why do you ask My name, seeing it is wonderful?’” (Judges 13:17-18)
Experts and Manoah himself (verse 22) believe that the Angel of the Lord in this passage is indeed the Lord God Almighty. Also, Isaiah 9:6 reveals the Lord’s name is Wonderful.
The words I AM WHO I AM are a puzzle and mystery to Biblical scholars, even today.
The Hebrew for I AM WHO I AM is pronounced “Ehyeh asher ehyeh.” They could be translated as: “I am that I am” or “I will be what I will be” or even “Let it be who Let it be.”
The “root” of the first and third word means “to be, to become, to come to pass.” Experts believe this Hebrew root is the origin of the name YHWH. Therefore, God did not actually reveal a name as we know a name.
He revealed, among infinite revelation, that He is the ever present, ever living, no beginning, no end, God.
“Why do you ask My name, seeing
it is wonderful?” (Judges 13:18)
“. . . seeing it is secret? (KJV)
“It is too wonderful for you to understand.” (New Living)
“It is a name of wonder” (Good News).
“. . .because you cannot comprehend it” (NET).
“It is incomprehensible.” (New Heart English)
“. . . seeing it is hidden?’” (JPS Tanakh)
“. . . since it is beyond comprehension?” (Berean)
“You don’t need to know my name. And if you did, you couldn’t understand it” (Contemporary Engish).
“It’s ‘Wonderful’” (International Standard).
When God visited Manoah and his wife, He first appeared twice to Manoah’s wife (v. 6 and 8). His countenance was “very awesome” (v. 6). To Manoah, she described Him as a Man of God, twice (v. 8 and 10).
When Manoah first saw Him, the Lord is identified again as a Man, twice (v. 11). Then, we read that Manoah did not know He was the Lord (v. 16).
The Lord did a “wondrous thing” (v. 19). As Manoah offered a burnt offering on a rock, “it happened as the flame went up toward heaven from the altar – the Angel of the Lord ascended in the flame of the altar!” (v. 20)
Then Manoah realized He was God. He even said, “’We shall surely die, because we have seen God!’” (v. 22).
We see in this visitation that God hid Himself from both people.
When asked His name, He did not actually give a specific name. He actually responded with a question, and described His name as wonderful.
In both responses, God hid His name.
God hiding His name lines up with a major theme in the Bible: God hides Himself.
There are at least 33 specific scriptures about how God hides Himself. An example: “Truly You are God, who hide Yourself, O God of Israel, the Savior!” (Isaiah 45:15).