Because of the context in which we read find the word 'hosanna', it tends to be thought of simply as a shout of praise:
[As Jesus entered into Jerusalem -]
The crowds that went ahead of him and those
that followed shouted, "Hosanna to the Son of David!" "Blessed is he who
comes in the name of the Lord!" "Hosanna in the highest!"
Matthew chapter 21, verse 9 NIV
The word Hosanna originally meant 'Save us!'. From being a cry for help, it came to be used as a cry of praise - an affirmation of help already promised or on its way. It appears in psalm 118 verse 25, one of the 'Hallel' psalms which was sung at Passover.
|At another feast (Tabernacles), whilst the Hallel was
chanted by a priest, the people waved branches of willow or palm,
shouting "Hallelujah", "Hosanna" or, "O Lord, we beseech Thee, do send
now prosperity" (psalm 118:25)
(The New Unger's Bible Dictionary. Moody Press of Chicago, Illinois, 1988.)
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