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Plowing through History from the Aleph to the Tav

Topics Definition of Hebrew Names


By Jeff A. Benner

The Hebrew name יהושע (yehoshu'a, Strong's #3091) is the combination of יהו (yeho), a short form of the name יהוה (YHWH, Strong's #3068), and the verb ישע (Y.Sh.Ah, Strong's #3467), which means "to save." The name יהושע (yehoshu'a, Strong's #3091) means "YHWH saves."

In the Septuagint (the 2,000 year old Greek translation of the Old Testament) this name is written as Ἰησοῦ (Iesou), such as it is Exodus 17:9. Because Greek does not have a "Y" they used "I" and because Greek does not have "Sh" they used "S." Sometimes the Greek transliteration will include the "s" ending for male names and is spelled Ἰησοῦς (Iesous), such as we find in Exodus 17:10.

Both Greek forms are found in the New Testament as well. The spelling Ἰησοῦ (Iesou) can be found in Luke 3:29 and the spelling Ἰησοῦς (Iesous) can be found in Hebrews 4:8.

In the New Testament this name is transliterated into English three different ways, Jose, Joshua and Jesus. In Luke 3:29 Ἰησοῦ (Iesou) is transliterated as "jose" in the KJV, "Jesus" in the ASV and "Joshua" in the RSV. In Hebrews 4:8 Ἰησοῦς (Iesous) is transliterated as "Jesus" in the KJV and "Joshua" in the ASV and RSV. In both of these verses the name Ἰησοῦ (Iesou) / Ἰησοῦς (Iesous) is used in reference to the Joshua of the Old Testament, but this same name (both spellings) are used for the messiah "Jesus" in the New Testament. The names Jose, Joshua and Jesus are the latinized transliteration of the Greek Ἰησοῦς (Iesous), which is a transliteration of the Hebrew יהושע (yehoshu'a, Strong's #3091). From this we can conclude that "Jesus'" Hebrew name is Yehoshua (Joshua).

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