The crowds shouted “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven!” (Matt 28:9, NIV) Hosanna what an enigmatic word. Today, we use the word in praise but few really know what it means. In Greek it is written as "ὡσαννα - hōsanna" but it is not a Greek word, rather it is the phonetic transcription of the Hebrew phrase "hoshiya na" or "hoshana (הושענה)" which is a contraction of two words "save" (hosha) and "please" ("na"). It is a phrase that only appears once in all of the Old Testament in Psalm 118:25. The meaning is clear, the people were pleading for Jesus to save them. They were quoting Psalm 118:25-26, "Save us, we pray, O Lord! O Lord, we pray, give us success! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! We bless you from the house of the Lord." (ESV) Save them from what? To the Hebrew people in Jesus' day, the belief was that the Messiah will come in glory and save them from the oppression of their persecutors, freeing them to establish the Kingdom of Israel (David). Theirs was a vision of political and military salvation based on Jer 23:5-6 which reads: “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In his days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely. And this is the name by which he will be called: ‘The Lord is our righteousness.’" Jesus had in mind a very different salvation, one that would free them once for all from the oppression of sin. As we approach Palm Sunday and Easter Weekend to follow, remember this. - Hosanna oh Lord from this tent of flesh! Hosanna! Keep us from temptation! Hosanna and grant us our salvation! Hosanna, Lamb of God, author and finisher of our faith! Hosanna in the highest!" May the Lord be praised and may you be greatly blessed, Arisen
[quote]In Greek it is written as "ὡσαννα - hōsanna" but it is not a Greek word, rather it is the phonetic transcription of the Hebrew phrase "hoshiya na" or "hoshana (הושענה)" which is a contraction of two words "save" (hosha) and "please" ("na"). [/quote]
Until about 15 or 20 years ago, I did not know this. Then I saw a video by Ray Vander Laan and he explained this exactly as you have. This was not, as you have said, a cry of praise. This was the cry of a people wanting Jesus to overthrow Rome now and reestablish the Kingdom of Israel.
Hosanna must be the cry of our hearts today only we must not cry out for freedom as defined by the world. We must cry out to the One who can truly set us free.