Yeshua (A Note From the Complete Jewish Study Bible)

Yeshua (A Note From the Complete Jewish Study Bible)

Yeshua was a common alternative form of the name Y’hoshua or Joshua in later books of the Hebrew Bible and among Jews of the Second Temple period. The name corresponds to the Greek spelling Iesous, from which through the Latin Iesus comes the English spelling Jesus.

The first letter in the name Yeshua (Jesus) is the yod. Yod represents the “Y” sound in Hebrew. Many names in the Bible that begin with yod are mispronounced by English speakers because the letter was transliterated in English Bibles with the letter “J” rather than “Y.” This is because in early English, the letter “J” was pronounced the way we pronounce “Y” today. All proper names in the Hebrew Bible were transliterated into English according to their Hebrew pronunciation; but when English pronunciation shifted to what we know today, these transliterations were not altered. Thus, such Hebrew place names as Ye-ru-sha-la-yim, Ye-ri-cho, and Yar-den have become known to us as Yerushalayim, Jericho, and Jordan. Hebrew personal names such as Yo-nah, Yi-shai, and Ye-shu-a have become known to us as Jonah, Jesse, and Jesus.

The Hebrew spelling of Yeshua appears in some later books of the Hebrew Bible, once for Joshua the son of Nun, and twenty-eight times for Joshua the High Priest and other priests called Jeshua—although these same priests are also given the spelling Joshua in the books of Haggai and Zechariah. Yeshua differs from the usual Hebrew Bible spelling of Joshua (Y’hoshua), found two-hundred eighteen times in the Hebrew Bible. It also differs from the Hebrew spelling Yeshu, which is found in Ben Yehuda’s dictionary and used in most secular contexts in modern Hebrew to refer to Jesus of Nazareth, though the Hebrew spelling Yeshua is generally used in translations of the New Testament into Hebrew and used by Hebrew-speaking Christians in Isra’el. The name Yeshua is also used in Israeli Hebrew historical texts to refer to other people called Joshua recorded in Greek texts, such as Jesus ben Ananias and Jesus ben Sira. The name Yeshua means “The Lord’s Salvation” or “Cry Out to the Lord for Help.”

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