The Hebrew origin of the name Jesus


The name Jesus is from the Hebrew word “Joshua.” “Joshua” is from its root word “Yasha” meaning “to help” or “to deliver.” Some well known names like Hosea and Isaiah are derivatives of this root word.

This post, originally posted bilingually, in Korean and English, back in 2019, deals with the Hebrew origin of the name “Jesus.” Now the post is separated in each language. For the Korean version, see this.


Joshua is the successor of Moses. According to the book of Joshua, he led the people of Israel to the “promised land,” Canaan, crossing the Jordan river. You can consider the events of the exodus from Egypt and entering Canaan as God’s salvation. Joshua’s being the leader of the time, in which Israel had marched and entered Canaan, therefore, suggests his prime importance in Israel’s history.


Hosea prophesied in the northern kingdom of Israel at the time of its fall and is also an important figure whose name we should remember. He married an adulteress as a symbolic action of prophecy to reveal the relationship between God and God’s people and, simultaneously, the tremendous love that God, as the husband, gives to the people of Israel, the wife. The book of Hosea is the opening book of the collection of various prophetic traditions called the Twelve Minor Prophets. This book tells us about a proper perspective from which we should approach those various prophets’ words.

Joshua, Hosea, and Jesus

I mentioned the name Joshua to explain the Hebrew origin of the name Jesus. “Joshua” is an English transliteration of the Hebrew word, ” yehoshua῾ .” This name is transliterated into Greek in Septuagint as Ἰησους, (Iesus), that is, Jesus. So the Hebrew name Joshua is Jesus in Greek. Jesus is Joshua.

What does the name “Jesus” mean? The Hebrew cognates of “Jesus” “yehoshua῾” will reveal the meanings of the word ” In Nehemiah 8:17, Joshua is called ” yeshua῾ .” In Numbers 13:8, he is also called “hoshea῾ ” All these words are from the root word ” ysh῾ ” meaning “to save” or “to deliver.” This is the reason that I mentioned the name Hosea as well. Hosea (or hoshea῾) is a short form of “hosha῾yah” meaning “YHWH has helped.” Joshua, Hosea, and Jesus are the same name that proclaims the salvation of YHWH.

Note: The name “Isaiah” also has the same root as Joshua, Hosea, and Jesus. Its Hebrew is pronounced as “yesha῾ya” and it is a short form of ῾yesha῾yahu.” The meaning of the name is “salvation of Yah.”

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