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  • Writer's pictureJenni Lien

The Meaning of the Word 'Hosanna'

Christian Easter graphic art saying Hosanna by The Yay Project

“Our English word "hosanna" comes from a Greek word "hosanna" which comes from a Hebrew phrase hoshiya na. And that Hebrew phrase is found one solitary place in the whole Old Testament, Psalm 118:25, where it means, "Save, please!" It is a cry to God for help. 

But something happened to that phrase, hoshiya na. The meaning changed over the years. In the psalm it was immediately followed by the exclamation: "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!"

And over the centuries the phrase hoshiya na stopped being a cry for help in the ordinary language of the Jews. Instead it became a shout of hope and exultation. It used to mean, "Save, please!" But gradually, it came to mean, "Salvation! Salvation! Salvation has come!"

So "Hosanna!" means, "Hooray for salvation! It's coming! It's here! Salvation! Salvation!”

And "Hosanna to the Son of David!" means, "The Son of David is our salvation! Hooray for the king! Salvation belongs to the king!"

And "Hosanna in the highest!" means, "Let all the angels in heaven join the song of praise. Salvation! Salvation! Let the highest heaven sing the song!"

So when we sing "Hosanna" now, let's make it very personal.

Let's make it our praise and our confidence. The Son of David has come. He has saved us from guilt and fear and hopelessness. Salvation! Salvation belongs to our God and to the Son! Hosanna! Hosanna in the highest!”

From John Piper @DesiringGod (1983)


Today my Pastor reminded us that hosanna originally meant “help!”

I did not know this so did a little digging and found the above. Very thankful for this Palm Sunday, this opportunity to reflect on what Jesus has done, is doing, and will do. Am singing this prayer / praise to our King Jesus today (lyrics below). Join me? Let’s cry out to our Lord!! We love love love you, Jesus. ❤️

“Hear the sound of hearts returning to You, we turn to You / In Your Kingdom broken lives are made new, You make us new / ‘Cause when we see You we find strength to face the day / In Your presence all our fears are washed away, washed away / Hosanna, Hosanna You are the God who saves us Worthy of all our praises” Hosanna (Praise is Rising) - Paul Baloche


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