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Meaning and etymology of the name Joshua




Joshua (Jehoshua) Joshua


The name Joshua occurs four times in the Bible. Most famous is the judge Joshua the Ephraimite, the successor of Moses and the one who leads Israel into the Promised Land. The original name of this Joshua is Hosea (Hosea) but Moses names him Joshua (Numbers 13:16).
Other Joshuas are: the owner of a field in Beth-shemite where the Ark returns to Israel (1 Samuel 6:14); A governor of Jerusalem (2 Kings 23:8); A high priest (Hag 1:1).
Joshua is also the original Hebrew form of the Greek name Jesus. A shortened form of Joshua (although not clear in English) is the name Jeshua (Jeshua).

The name Joshua is a compilation of two elements.

1) The first element is Jah, which is the commonly accepted abbreviated form of YHWH, which is YHWH, the Name of the Lord.

2) The interesting word group that starts with the familiar Hebrew verb yasha (yasha), meaning to be saved or delivered. The feminine noun yeshua (yeshua) means salvation. The masuline noun yasha (yesha) means salvation too, but can also be used to mean financial salvation; prosperity or welfare (2 Samuel 23:5, Psalm 12:5). Following this type of meaning, the derivation shoa (shoa) indicates a 'free man,' a (financially) independent person.

Related in meaning and probably also linguistically (suggests BDB Theological Dictionary) is the verb shawa (shawa), meaning to cry, or more specifically, to cry out for help (Psalm 30:2, Psalm 72:12). The masculine nouns shawa (shua) and shawa (shoa) both mean a cry, and the feminine noun shawa (shaw'a) means the more specific cry for help. The proximity of these word groups is shown in Job 36:19. Some translations read here the peculiar, "If your cry for help is set in order..." (Jay P. Green), while others read, "Will your riches keep you from distress..." (NAS).

BDB Theological Dictionary lists Joshua under YHWH and reads Yah Is Salvation. NOBS Study Bible Name List reads Yahweh Is Salvation.

The name Joshua is the Hebrew form of the Greek name Jesus, and most probably the name by which Jesus was known by His contemporaries. Jesus was fascinated by the Book of Isaiah, probably mostly because this Book appears to be entirely about Him, but perhaps also because the name Isaiah (Isaiah) is almost identical to the name Joshua with the two segments reversed.

Other names that are formed from the word yasha are Abishua, Bathshua, Elisha, Hosea, Hoshaiah, Ishi, Jeshaiah, Mesha and Shoa / Shua(h). And also related is the word Hosanna.






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