What’s In A Name?

What’s In A Name?

by Christine Egbert

In hebraic thought one’s name is one’s destiny. With that in mind, let’s trace (biblically) the English name of our Messiah, Yeshua, which is a transliteration from His original Hebrew name, spelled with the Hebrew letters yod, shin, vav, and ayin.

To begin this linguistic journey, we must go to Numbers 13:16. This passage recounts that Moses changed the name of Oshea, the son of Nun, to a name that transliterates into English as Yehoshua, which is most often rendered in English Bibles as Joshua.

Transliteration is the process used to translate a foreign word or name, by using the closest corresponding letters of the language it is to be transliterated into. It is done only when the alphabet of both languages do not share letters that elicit the same sound.  


By adding the tiny Hebrew letter “yod”, which corresponds to our English “Y”, Moses changed Oshea to Yehoshua. But Moses changed not only that name’s pronunciation but its meaning! Oshea means Deliverer or Salvation. Yehoshua means “Yahweh Delivers” or “Yahweh Saves.”

Over time all languages develop “contractions” of various words. For instance the word “cannot” is made the contraction “can’t” by removing one “n” and the “o” and adding an apostrophe. This is done without losing its original meaning. Longer names like “Samuel” frequently get shortened to Sam in casual conversation. And in the Scriptures, we will find that Yehoshua (Yahweh Saves) got contracted to “Yeshua”, which means “He will save”. 

In English names starting with the Hebrew “yod” have been transliterated into English using a 500 year old letter “J”, which originally, like the yod, was pronounced as a “Y”. Sadly, in more recent centuries, this “J” is pronounced as a hard “J” , a sound not produced in the Hebrew language. So in keeping with the original sound, in this article I will use the letter “Y”.


So how do we know that the contracted form of Yehoshua is Yeshua? The proof is found in Nehemiah 8:17 (KJV)

Neh 8:17  “… for since the days of Yeshuathe son of Nun, unto that day had not the children of Israel done so…” 

This verse shows that the son of Nun, Oshea (who’s name Moses changed to Yehoshua) is now contracted to Yeshua, spelled “ ישׁוע” ( H3442) in the Hebrew Bible. Look it up for yourself. 

Besides Nehemiah 8:17, this name, Yeshua, shows up in a total of 30 other times in the Old Testament, and each time Yeshua is spelled the same, with the Hebrew letters: Yod, Shin, Vav, Ayin. In English these letters are transliterated as Yeshua.

Here are just a few of those passages quoted from the KJV:

Ezra 2:2 “Which came with Zerubbabel: Yeshua, Nehemiah, Seraiah, Reelaiah, Mordecai, Bilshan, Mispar, Bigvai, Rehum, Baanah. The number of the men of the people of Israel…”

Ezra 3:2  “Then stood up Yeshua the son of Jozadak, and his brethren the priests…“

Neh 7:7  “Who came with Zerubbabel, Yeshua, Nehemiah, Azariah, Raamiah, Nahamani…”

1Ch 24:11 “The ninth to Yeshua, the tenth to Shecaniah…”

2Ch 31:15  “And next to him were Eden, and Miniamin, and Yeshua, and Shemaiah, Amariah, and Shecaniah, in the cities of the priests…”

The Angel Gabriel

As I already stated in the opening of this article, in Hebrew thought, one’s name is one’s destiny. So when the angel Gabriel told Mary (Miriam in Hebrew) to name her child Yeshua, Miriam should have understood why, even before the angel Gabriel confirmed it, for this contracted Hebrew name, Yeshua, literally means “He will save.” 

Matthew 1:21  “And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name YESHUA for he shall save his people from their sins.”

So why have I taken time to write an article on a subject which most of you who’ve returned to the Hebraic roots of your faith probably already know? And no, it’s not to rub it in the face of those who insist that the Messiah’s real name is pronounced something other than “Yod, Shin, Vav, Eyn”! That would be useless, for they don’t deal in facts, but emotion.

I have written this article because a certain Baptist pastor named Steven Anderson has a video clip on FB, in which he claims Jesus is the more authentic older name, since modern Hebrew is less than 200 years old. I guess no one ever told Steven Anderson that there are many ancient manuscripts of the Hebrew Scriptures, which predate 500 years. Sadly, those foolish enough to fall for this theologian’s less than adequate scholarship are not likely to be convinced by my article, if they ever read it. But that’s okay…I feel oh-so-much better for having put these pesky facts down in writing.