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Originally the word ‘Hosanna’ was a combination of parts of two Hebrew words that meant ‘save’ and ‘pray’. When the word was joined to the name of God, Yahweh, the expression became both a prayer and an exclamation of praise: ‘Save us, O Lord’.

The Hebrew form of the word occurs only once in the Old Testament, in Psalms 118. The scene is one of triumph, as Israel’s king enters the temple for a public ceremony of praise to God for a recent victory in battle. His entrance is followed by a shout of ‘Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord’, accompanied by the waving of palm branches, as the people welcome their victorious king (Psalms 118:25-27). ‘Hosanna’ later became an expression of praise in expectation of the great Saviour-Messiah.

In the New Testament the word is used in a setting similar to that of Psalms 118. When people in Jerusalem welcomed Jesus as their Saviour-Messiah, they shouted praises of ‘Hosanna’ and waved palm branches. By going direct to the temple, Jesus showed that his messiahship was concerned chiefly with spiritual issues, not political. In the temple also he was greeted with shouts of ‘Hosanna’, and again Jesus accepted the praise. He was indeed the promised Messiah (Matthew 21:1-17; John 12:12-15; see MESSIAH).

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These files are public domain.
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Bibliography Information
Fleming, Don. Entry for 'Hosanna'. Bridgeway Bible Dictionary. 2004.

Lectionary Calendar
Friday, November 27th, 2020
the Week of Christ the King / Proper 29 / Ordinary 34
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