Skip to main content
Updated date:

Hosanna: Bible Word Study

Rev. Margaret Minnicks is an ordained Bible teacher. She writes many articles that are Bible lessons.


Hosanna is a word often expressed in Judaism and Christianity on Palm Sunday. It is always used in its original Hebrew form in Judaism that means "save" as in Psalms 118:25.

In Christianity, it is used in its Greek form to mean "savior, save, and rescue." It is a form of jubilation and a shout of praise in the Gospels to show special honor and respect.

  • "Hosanna to the Son of David" (Matthew 21:9)
  • "Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord" (Mark 11.9).
  • "Hosanna in the highest" (Mark 11:10)
  • “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the king of Israel!” (John 12:13)

Palm Sunday is on April 14, 2019, the Sunday before Easter when preachers will preach about the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. The day is celebrated in many Christian churches with processions.

Funeral homes supply churches in their communities with palm branches to distribute to those who come to church on Palm Sunday. Therefore, it is not unusual to see people in restaurants and other places that afternoon wearing palm branches in the shape of crosses pinned to their clothes.

"Hosanna in the highest" is in the Bible to show how hundreds of people shouted the phrase during the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem.

They also called out, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” (Matthew 21:9). Matthew's audience was Jewish. So it was not unusual for him to mention Jesus' lineage.

Mark 11:10 records a shorter shout, "Hosanna in the highest." John 12:13 records a longer one, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the king of Israel!”

What all three gospel writers recorded is the shout that was first noted in Psalm 118:26 in the Old Testament, "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!"

According to some versions of the Bible, the crowd shouted “Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David! Hosanna in the highest!” The New International Version lists their shout as “Hosanna in the highest heaven!”

"Hosanna" is a shout, an exclamation of adoration, praise or joy.

From 'Hosanna' to 'Crucify Him'

Some people have often wondered why the crowds shouted, "Hosanna in the highest" on Palm Sunday and before the week was out, they were shouted, "Crucify Him." There was such a quick change for honoring Jesus to one of wanting Him to be crucified.

Because Hosanna comes from a Hebrew word meaning “save now” or “save us, we pray,” the people believed Jesus was the long-awaited Messiah who had come to save them then and make things secure for them politically. As Jesus rode into Jerusalem, the Jews acknowledged Jesus was their Messiah as the fulfillment of the prophecies in the Old Testament (Zechariah 9:9). That's why they honored Him by waving palm leaves.

What they thought was only half right. Jesus had come to save them not politically but spiritually. When the people realized that was the case, they advocated for His death.


"Hosanna" Then and Now

When the Palm Sunday crowds shouted "Hosanna!" they were pleading, "Save us! Over the years, people have studied the gospels and know that God does save through Jesus' redemptive work on the cross. Therefore, the word has taken on a slightly different meaning. It has moved from pleading to praise. Because of what we know about God's power of salvation, our cry has become one of confidence.

Another thing to consider is that there were hundreds of people in the Palm Sunday group. We do not have to wait to the Sunday before Easter to shout "Hosanna!" We don't have to wait until we get into a crowd.

We can shout "Hosanna" now even when we are alone. Our "Hosanna" can be our personal praise and our confidence that God does save. God hears our quiet "Hosanna" just as clearly as He heard the shout of the crowds that followed Jesus as He rode on the donkey into Jerusalem.

  • Palm Sunday Sermon
    No matter which church you attend on Palm Sunday, expect to hear a Palm Sunday sermon. No matter who preaches the sermon, there are certain things that will surely be included.
  • 5 Types of People in the Palm Sunday Crowd
    We know about the crowd that followed Jesus on Palm Sunday, but do you know that there were five different groups within that one big crowd?


Antonio50S on March 16, 2019:

Cannot think of any other words right now, but will check out them other word studies. There maybe words there which i did want to know about at one time, but forgot about, but will check them out. Thanks.

Margaret Minnicks (author) from Richmond, VA on March 16, 2019:

Antonio50S, Feel free to check out some of the other word studies I have done. Is there another word in the Bible that you are curious about?

Antonio50S on March 16, 2019:

Thank you Margaret.

Always liked the word Hosanna. Glad you wrote about it. I know songs were recorded by that word as well.


Margaret Minnicks (author) from Richmond, VA on March 15, 2019:

Antonio50S, Thanks a lot for reading, commenting, and giving confirmation to my article. I love what you said about the word "Hosanna."

Antonio50S on March 15, 2019:

I take it my confirmation don't mean anything :)

That's OK because i was just commenting on the word HOSANNA itself which i love. I love that more than any confirmation. Hosanna meaning "Save us" ?

We all need saving.

Is it safe to say I'm good for something ? Maybe Not, since all our good works are filthy rags in the eyes of God.

The only approval any of us needs is the approval of the very Almighty himself.

Once again, appreciate the article.

PoetikalyAnointed on March 14, 2019:

You are welcome.

Margaret Minnicks (author) from Richmond, VA on March 14, 2019:

PoetikalyAnointed, thanks so much for your detailed comments. I love teaching the Bible. I am even more delighted when I get confirmations from someone like you.

Blessings to you!

PoetikalyAnointed on March 14, 2019:

Another Awesome Word and Message, Margaret!

"Hosanna forever, we Worship You!" Thank you Mr. Kirk Franklin.

Funny, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Just like Antonio50S said, the crowd didn't appreciate Jesus or the word back then and most don't even know the word today. Those who do don't always appreciate Him or His praise. However, it's never too late to do better.

It's a wonder that Man still exists with our wavering faith. We have a long history of being fickle when things are good and plead to Him when they are not. We wonder why life sucks sometimes and forget who He is and why/who we are. Thank God for His faithfulness despite ourselves.

Let's give Him praise today!

Thanks you for this Bible Lesson.

Antonio50S on March 13, 2019:

In a way, the crowds never appreciated the true value and meaning to the word HOSANNA.

But like what you said,

"Therefore, the word has taken on a slightly different meaning. It has moved from pleading to Praise. Because of what we know about God's power of salvation, our cry has become one of confidence"

The crowds may have shouted crucify him, but the word HOSANNA now has richer meanings to it.

Appreciate the article.

Margaret Minnicks (author) from Richmond, VA on March 11, 2019:

Tim, thanks so much for your comment about the use of "Hosanna." I love word studies. I wrote a lot of word study articles over the weekend.

Tim Truzy from U.S.A. on March 11, 2019:

Interesting article, Margaret. I enjoyed reading about the use of the word and its different translations. Thanks.


Related Articles