A question regarding the Hebrew of Hosanna recently arose in our community and I was intrigued to find the following contemplations in this single word a prayer for help and deliverance.
I beg you__YHVH,_save us now! (Psalm 118:25)
הוֹשִׁיעָה is pronounced HoshEEoh.
The Theological Dictionary of the New Testament says that this line from Psalm 118:25 was used liturgically in post-biblical Judaism, "in which Psalms 113-118 are sung on the high days of the feasts of the Passover and Tabernacles." A scholar named Lohse continues contextualizing this crying out of this word Hosheoh from its specific use on the seventh day of Tabernacles, when the priests, "took willow branches in their arms, went in solemn procession around the altar of burnt offering, [seven times] and cried repeatedly, 'O Lord, save us now!'...to express the urgent request for rain. Prayers which were uttered during the Tabernacles procession were given the name Hosheoh in the synagogue and the seventh day of the feast was called Hosheoh. [...] The common use of Hosheoh shows that it had become a liturgical formula." (9:682)
I was amazed to later learn that this word accrued Messianic expectation. The Greek spelling of this Hebrew word occurs in the New Testament only in the context of Yeshua's triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Evangelists differ in emphasis of the event. In Mark 11:9 (and John 12:13), pilgrim crowds greeted Yeshua with shouts of jubilation that began and ended with hosannas. “By adopting the hosanna familiar to every Jew, the Evangelist wants to emphasize that every Messianic expectation has now been realized.” Luke 19:38 leaves hosanna out of his account of the triumphal entry, as his Hellenistic audience was not oriented by Jewish feasts and rituals from where this word originated. Matthew 21:9 makes changes, bringing emphasis to the Son of David ascribed to Yeshua, the fulfillment of the promise to Israel.
Scholars debate the intention of the cries of the crowds. One perspective posits a community confessing Yeshua’s divinity as Messiah; others suggest what all Galilean pilgrims would cry out at this feast, hoping that Yeshua would perform a Davidic act of resistance to Roman oppressors. It is noteworthy regardless to consider how in Matthew 21:15 the children take up the chant of Hosanna, even to the protest of the chief priests and scribes, to whom Yeshua responds, “Have you never read, ‘Out of the mouths of infants and nursing babies you have prepared praise for yourself?’” Ever since, earliest Christian communities are recorded using Hosanna, based in liturgical tradition, “which came into the Christian community from Judaism.”
A simple contemplation of the narrative within the letters might look like this:
The letters spelling Hosanna are virtually synonymous with the Hebrew name for Joshua, יְהוֹשׁוּעַ, with vav in his name replacing a heh. I'm also fascinated Hosanna holds all of the letters of the Blessed Name Yeheshua with the addition of an ע, which holds mysteries of sight, seeing, and perception. In a different permutation, all principle Partzufim and their respective worlds are present in Hosanna, with the addition of ע, which is most fascinating when one remembers the ע, seventy interpretation or paths of Torah, rooted in mysteries of Hokmah, intending mercy and deliverance for all peoples in all their ways.
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
Blessed is the coming sovereignty of the Holy Bride!
Hosanna in the highest heaven!’
Amen and amen!