What does hosanna stand for in the Bible?


By BibleAsk Team


The word “Hosanna” holds significant spiritual and cultural weight within the Bible, especially in Christian liturgy and worship. Originating from Hebrew, the term has evolved over time to encompass various meanings and contexts within both the Old and New Testaments. In this essay, we will explore the biblical significance of “Hosanna,” examining its etymology, usage, and theological implications, with reference to relevant passages from the New King James Version (NKJV) of the Bible.

Etymology and Linguistic Background

The word “Hosanna” derives from the Hebrew phrase הוֹשַׁע נָא (hoshia-na), which is a plea for salvation or deliverance. In Hebrew, “hoshia” means “save” or “deliver,” while “na” is an interjection expressing urgency or supplication. Thus, “Hosanna” can be understood as a fervent cry for salvation or help from God.

Old Testament Usage

In the Old Testament, “Hosanna” is primarily associated with expressions of praise, thanksgiving, and supplication to God. While the exact term “Hosanna” may not appear in every translation, the sentiment of invoking God’s salvation is prevalent in various passages.

  1. Psalm 118:25 (NKJV): “Save now, I pray, O Lord; O Lord, I pray, send now prosperity.” This verse, often sung during Jewish festivals such as Passover, contains the Hebrew phrase “hoshia-na,” which is translated as “save now.” It reflects a cry for deliverance and divine intervention.
  2. Psalm 148:1-2 (NKJV): “Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord from the heavens; praise Him in the heights! Praise Him, all His angels; praise Him, all His hosts!” While “Hosanna” is not explicitly mentioned here, the theme of praising God for His salvation and majesty is present, aligning with the spirit of the term.

New Testament Usage

In the New Testament, “Hosanna” takes on additional layers of meaning, particularly in the context of Jesus Christ’s ministry, triumphal entry into Jerusalem, and the events surrounding His crucifixion and resurrection.

  1. Matthew 21:9 (NKJV): “Then the multitudes who went before and those who followed cried out, saying: ‘Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!'” This passage recounts the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, where the crowds acclaim Him as the Messiah and King. This cry reflects both adoration and a recognition of Jesus as the long-awaited deliverer.
  2. Mark 11:9-10 (NKJV): “Then those who went before and those who followed cried out, saying: ‘Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the kingdom of our father David that comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!'” Similar to Matthew’s account, Mark records the crowd’s exuberant proclamation during Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, affirming His messianic identity and the fulfillment of prophecy.
  3. John 12:12-13 (NKJV): “The next day a great multitude that had come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, took branches of palm trees and went out to meet Him, and cried out: ‘Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! The King of Israel!'” John’s Gospel also recounts the scene of Jesus’ triumphal entry, with the crowd hailing Him with shouts of joy and recognizing Him as the promised King of Israel.

Theological Significance

The use of “Hosanna” in the context of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem carries profound theological implications within Christian tradition:

  1. Recognition of Jesus as Messiah: This cry reflects the acknowledgment of Jesus as the long-awaited Messiah, the Anointed One sent by God to bring salvation and deliverance to His people. The title “Son of David” invoked in the shouts of the crowd signifies Jesus’ royal lineage and messianic role as the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy.
  2. Declaration of Praise and Adoration: This word serves as a declaration of praise and adoration for Jesus’ divine identity and redemptive mission. It expresses gratitude and reverence for the salvation brought by Jesus through His sacrificial death and resurrection.
  3. Affirmation of Sovereignty and Kingship: This proclamation affirms Jesus’ sovereignty and kingship over Israel and the entire cosmos. It anticipates the establishment of God’s kingdom and the fulfillment of His purposes through the reign of Christ.


In conclusion, the word “Hosanna” holds deep theological significance within the biblical narrative, representing a cry for salvation, deliverance, and divine intervention. From its roots in Hebrew scripture to its prominent use in the New Testament, “Hosanna” encapsulates the hopes, praises, and aspirations of God’s people throughout history.

In the context of Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, “Hosanna” becomes a proclamation of Messiahship, a declaration of praise, and an affirmation of Christ’s sovereignty and kingship. As believers, we continue to echo the cry of “Hosanna,” acknowledging Jesus as our Savior and King, and expressing our longing for His redemptive work to be fulfilled in our lives and in the world.

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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