Hebrew Names: Joshua/Jesus

joshuaJoshua/Jesus (יהושע) – Yes, these names are one and the same! And we think the Spanish odd for naming their little ones Jesus… Or is it because of names such as Jesús-María and Mariá-José? Anyway…

Jesus/Joshua means “the LORD is salvation”. Salvation is through Jesus!

In this name, yehoshua, we actually see another version of the abbreviated form for yhwh. Instead of the common initial yo in names, here we have yeho. The second part of the name shua (abbreviated for of “salvation”) comes from the root *yšᶜ which means “he rescues/saves”.

The expression Hosanna is from the same root and means “please save!”. This is what the people called out as Jesus (“the Lord is salvation”) came riding into Jerusalem on a donkey (Matt. 21:9).

jesus-i-skyn-1317134767There is an alternative spelling of Joshua in Hebrew, attested in Nehemiah 8:17, yeshua. This is the version of the name used in modern Hebrew when speaking of Jesus the Christ (Yeshua haMashiah).

The English version ‘Jesus’ is from the Greek version of the name found in the New Testament: ‘Jesous’ which is identical to how the Septuagint (LXX), the Greek Old testament, renders Moses successor, Joshua son of Nun.

In Num. 13:16 we read of how Moses changes the name of Joshua from Hoshea “salvation”, which was also the name of the northern prophet (in English rendered Hosea).

This was a fitting clarification in case anyone should wonder: the Lord is salvation. With this new name Joshua came to lead God’s people into the promised land. By God’s providence this was an early sign of the Lord who is salvation (Jesus) and who leads God’s people to the promised Land.

We call out: Hosanna! God answers: Jesus.

Old Testament references for “Joshua” outside the Book of Joshua: Exod. 17:9-10, 13-14; 24:13; 32:17; 33:11; Num. 11:28; 13:16; 14:6, 30, 38; 26:65; 27:18, 22; 32:12, 28; 34:17; Deut. 1:38; 3:21, 28; 31:3, 7, 14, 23; 34:9; Jdg. 1:1; 2:6-8, 21, 23; 1 Sam. 6:14, 18; 1 Ki. 16:34; 2 Ki. 23:8; 1 Chr. 7:27; Hag. 1:1, 12, 14; 2:2, 4; Zech. 3:1, 3, 6, 8-9; 6:11

Alternative spelling: Ezr. 2:2, 6, 36, 40; 3:2, 9; 8:33; 10:18; Neh. 3:19; 7:7, 11, 39, 43; 8:17; 9:4-5; 12:7-8, 26


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