Hosanna

Greek transliteration of the Hebrew hoshana, “save us.”

The Word

Hosha is “save,” from yeshua, salvation. Na is “us.” The Hebrew Mass celebrated in Israel says, hoshana bameromimMeromim means “in highest places,” another Hebrew word for heaven. The people who were spreading palm branches in Rabbi Yeshua‘s path as he rode into Jerusalem on the donkey were praying to Him, “Save us in the highest places,” or more colloquially, “Save us in heaven.”

“And the crowds that went before him and that followed him shouted, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!’” Mt 21:9.

Koine Greek did not have a sh sound. Rabbis Matityahu, Marcus and Yokhanan transliterated hoshana as closely as the Greek language would allow (Mt 21:915Mk 11:910Jn 12:13).

Strictly speaking, hosha is “you save.” But translating hoshana as “you save us” might be misconstrued as a command rather than the plea it is. “Save us” is more idiomatic English.

The Context

From the St. James Vicariate for Hebrew Speaking Catholics in Israel:

Kadosh, kadosh, kadosh, Adonai Tzeba’oth.
Me’lo shamayim va-aretz kevodo.
Hoshana ba-meromim.
Barukh ha-ba be-shem Adonai.
Hoshana ba-meromim.

English Translation

Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God of hosts.
Heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest.