From Feast upon the Word (http://feastupontheword.org). Copyright, Feast upon the Word.
From answers.com (from an earlier Wikipedia article):
- According to one Jewish tradition, the Tetragrammaton is related to the causative form, the imperfect state, of the Hebrew verb הוה (ha·wah, "to be, to become"), meaning "He will cause to become" (usually understood as "He causes to become"). Compare the many Hebrew and Arabic personal names which are 3rd person singular imperfective verb forms starting with "y", e.g. Hebrew Yôsêph = Arabic Yazîd = "He [who] adds"; Hebrew Yiḥyeh = Arabic Yahyâ = "He [who] lives".
- Another tradition regards the name as coming from three different verb forms sharing the same root YWH, the words HYH haya [היה]: "He was"; HWH howê [הוה]: "He is"; and YHYH yihiyê [יהיה]: "He will be". This is supposed to show that God is timeless, as some have translated the name as "The Eternal One".
- Other interpretations include the name as meaning "I am the One Who Is." This can be seen in the traditional Jewish account of the "burning bush" commanding Moses to tell the sons of Israel that "I AM [אהיה] has sent you." (Exodus 3:13-14) Some suggest: "I AM the One I AM" [אהיה אשר אהיה], or "I AM whatever I need to become". This may also fit the interpretation as "He Causes to Become." Many scholars believe that the most proper meaning may be "He Brings Into Existence Whatever Exists" or "He who causes to exist".