What does "Hosanna" (ὡσαννά) mean (as it appears in the Gospels)? What is its etymology/derivation from Hebrew/Aramaic?
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The Hebrew phrase in Psalms 118:25 from which the Greek Hosanna (
Given the other OT quotations used by the crowd at the Triumphal Entry in the Gospel record, I think it is likely that the term was used there in a very literal sense. The people cheering Jesus' entry were calling on Him to enact the salvation of Israel, and to do so now. (Of course, their conception of the salvation that Jesus came to accomplish differed significantly from His and leads to a disillusioned mob that shouts "crucify Him" instead.)
During the Intertestamental period, Judas the Maccabee (the Hammer) led a major revolt in Israel. This is the Hasmonean revolt (beginning in 167 BC). After Judah and the other Hasmoneans led the people to victory in a major battle, the people had a celebration. They cut off palm branches, waved them in the air, and shouted "Hosanna!"
Judah was killed in 160 BC, but his brothers carried on the revolt and eventually drove the Seleucids out. They set up a dynasty that lasted, with various amounts of independence, from 140 to 37 BC. From 110 to 63, the Hasmoneans enjoyed full independence from foreign powers. In 63, they were annexed by the Romans but allowed to remain on the throne. In 37, Herod the Idumaean (supported by Anthony) defeated the last Hasmonean ruler and took Jerusalem.
When Jesus enters the city, they are calling on him to be like the Hasmonean kings and free the people from foreign oppression. In this case, the Romans.
The Wikipedia article Hosanna makes a reference to the Bauer Lexicon, explaining the etymology of the Greek word ὡσαννά:
So by the time Jesus rode into Jerusalem and the people shouted Hosanna*, it had become "a liturgical formula". Hosanna had originally been a cry for help, but it had become, as Strong's concordance puts it, a cry of happiness.
*The people probably shouted this in Aramaic, which was transliterated to Greek. But I'm no expert.
Below are a few different entries for the Greek word