This Greek transliteration of a Hebrew word occurs 6 times in the Gospels as the cry of the people when our Lord entered Jerusalem as the Messiah represented by Zec (9:9), and of "the children" when He cleansed the temple (Matthew 21:9 bis,15; Mark 11:9; John 12:13). In Matthew 21:9 it is "Hosanna to the son of David!" followed by "Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest!"; in 21:15 it is also "Hosanna to the Son of David!"; in Mark 11:9 f it is "Hosanna; Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Blessed is the kingdom that cometh, the kingdom of our father David: Hosanna in the highest"; and in John 12:13 it is "Hosanna: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel." Thus in all the evangelists it is an acclamation or ascription of praise. This has raised the question whether the supposed derivation from Psalms 118:25, beginning with 'annah YHWH hoshi`ah nna', "Save now, pray" (which is followed (118:26) by "Blessed be he that cometh (the Revised Version margin "or entereth") in the name of Yahweh") is correct. (See Thayer, HDB; Cheyne, EB; Dalman, Words of Jesus.) Various other explanations have been suggested. Thayer remarks, "It is most natural to regard the word Hosanna, as respects its form, as neither syncopated nor contracted, but the shorter Hiphil imperative with the appended enclitic" (hosha`na'; compare Psalms 86:2; Jeremiah 31:7), for which there is Talmudic warrant. "As respects its force, we must for .... contextual reasons, assume that it had already lost its primary supplicatory sense and become an ejaculation of joy or shout of welcome." It is said to have been so used in this sense at the joyous Feast of Tabernacles, the 7th day of which came to be called "the Great Hosanna," or "Hosanna Day." But, while the word is certainly an ejaculation of praise and not one of supplication, the idea of salvation need not be excluded. As in Revelation 7:10 (compare 19:1), we have the acclamation, "Salvation unto God .... and unto the Lamb," so we might have the cry, "Salvation to the son of David"; and "Hosanna in the Highest," might be the equivalent of "Salvation unto our God!" He who was "coming in the name of the Lord" was the king who was bringing salvation from God to the people.
W. L. Walker
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