Hosanna meaning | Hosanna etymology

Discover the meanings of thousands of Biblical names in Abarim Publications' Biblical Name Vault

הושיעה נא
Hosanna in Biblical Hebrew
Miscellaneous word or phrase
Musical word or term
Browse Biblical names alphabetically

Search this site

This project depends on the support of readers like you.
Please help...

The phrase Hosanna

Originally, Hosanna is not, as is commonly believed, an exclamation of exuberance. It doesn't mean YOO-HOO!!

Etymology and meaning of Hosanna

The word Hosanna consists of two elements. The first part of Hosanna comes from the interesting word group that starts with the familiar Hebrew verb ישע (yasha'), meaning to be saved or delivered:

Abarim Publications Theological Dictionary

Hosanna is formed from the imperative (that means it's a command) of the verb ישע, meaning to save. This part of the word Hosanna means Save! or Bring About Salvation!

The final part of the word Hosanna is the Hebrew word נא (na'), the common particle of entreaty: please!

Abarim Publications Theological Dictionary

Actually, this "birth" of Hosanna, this proto-Hosanna, comes with a kind of double entreaty. Following the verb ישע and the particle נא, comes the rarer and even more reflective of desperation אנא, which is a contraction of אה־נא (ah-na), usually translated with something like "Ah, now! I (we) beseech thee!"

In Christian circles, Psalm 118 quickly became one of the most popular of all. "He has become my salvation" (v14) almost perfectly contains the name Jesus. The references to God's right hand (v15-16) return in Matthew 26:64 and Mark 16:19. The stone which the builders rejected (v22) is applied to Christ by Peter (Acts 4:11 & 1 Peter 2:7). "This is the day that the Lord has made" (v24) became its own evergreen song in our times. And the Hebrew phrase hoshi'a na of verse 25 became the Hosanna with which the people of Jerusalem greeted Christ during his triumphal entry through "the gates of righteousness; the gate of the Lord" (118:19-20).

All four gospels cover the triumphant entry but Luke (19:28-44) never uses the word Hosanna. Why that is we don't know. Matthew uses it in 21:9 and 15. Mark uses it in 11:9-10 and John uses it in 12:13. By the time of the triumphant entree, Hosanna had curiously evolved from expression of deep anguish to a kind of cheer. The seventh day of Sukkoth — the Feasts of Booths that the Jews were celebrating in Jerusalem when Jesus entered — was known as Hosanna Rabbah, or Great Hosanna.

By applying the word Hosanna to Jesus Christ, the celebrators of Jerusalem were (a) equating Him with the God to whom the Psalmist's original Hoshi'a na was directed, and (b) indicating that Jesus personified the completion of the Feast Of Booths.

Soon after that, Jesus was arrested and crucified.

The expression Hosanna means Save Us Please!

עABARIMPublicationsFor the Love of the Word