In the next two sessions we will look at the Hebrew and Aramaic words for salvation. There are basically two words for salvation and they are two sides of the same coin. We need to note which word is used when we read the English words save or salvation. This article with be about the words related to Jesus' name Yeshua.
We begin with the Hebrew word: yasha. Yasha has many synonyms such as save, deliver, give victory, help, be safe, and preserve. It is spelled yud, shin, ayin.
The yud or yoth in Aramaic is a letter we have not seen before, so let’s take a closer look at it. The pictograph is a hand attached to an arm. The fist is closed loosely and the thumb is upright. The verbs mean to work, do, or sometimes throw. And as a noun, it can be power, or what the hand accomplishes.
Shin again is breasts, or the source of life.
The ayin or ai is another letter we have not seen before. It is the pictograph of an oblong circle with a half circle on the inside at the top. It even looks like an eye! It can mean the physical eye, but also what the eye sees or experiences.
The simple meaning of the word picture is: the power of the source experienced. It could also be power of the source seen, but I like experienced, as it lines up more with the definitions and scope of the word.
The action behind the verb yasha can be seen in its Arabic counterpart: to make wide or make sufficient. It would be in contrast to being narrow or restricted. The main idea of salvation is to be delivered from the hand of the enemy and also to destroy the enemy so there is complete help. To move from distress to safety or deliverance requires help from an outside party, hence, the importance of the “source.” The one who brings deliverance is known as the “savior.”
The shin in yasha could also be a picture of change if the pictograph is teeth, as we described last time. This makes the word picture: the power of change experienced. The source of the change is the “savior” or deliverer.
Yasha and its derivatives are used 353 times. We will look at a few uses of the verb and spend the majority of the time looking at the derivative words, because they really show the range of the meaning of the word.
Exodus 2:17 KJV
And the shepherds came and drove them away: but Moses stood up and helped them, and watered their flock.
This is the first place yasha is used regarding when the daughters of Jethro were trying to water their flocks. It is here translated help.
The basic idea of yasha is that power comes in to completely change an experience. The children of Israel were at the shore of the Red Sea and the Egyptian army was closing in on them. God saved the people by opening the path in the sea and then totally destroying the Egyptian army.
Psalm 106:7-11 KJV Our fathers understood not thy wonders in Egypt; they remembered not the multitude of thy mercies [chesed]; but provoked him at the sea, even at the Red sea.
8 Nevertheless he saved [yasha] them for his name's sake, that he might make his mighty power to be known.
9 He rebuked the Red sea also, and it was dried up: so he led them through the depths, as through the wilderness.
10 And he saved [yasha] them from the hand of him that hated them, and redeemed them from the hand of the enemy.
11 And the waters covered their enemies: there was not one of them left.
When we call on Yahweh, then we will be saved from all our enemies, as David was.
Psalm 18:3 I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved [yasha] from my enemies.
Isaiah 43:11 I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no savior – [yasha, participle used as noun.]
So far we have seen that yasha is a complete deliverance, the power that changes what we are experiencing.
Now let’s look at the derivative words.
Psa 68:19 KJV Blessed be the Lord [Adonai], who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God [El] of our salvation (yeshuw’ah). Selah.
I like the Tanakh version of this verse:
Psalm 68:19 TNK Blessed is the LORD. Day by day He supports us, God, our deliverance. Selah.
The next verse in Ps 68 uses another noun, mowsha’ah. This is the only place this noun is used.
Psalm 68:20 TNK God [El] is for us a God [El] of deliverance; GOD [Yehovah] the Lord [Adonai] provides an escape from death.
We escape death because of this deliverance. Support and escape!!! wow!
2 Samuel 22:3 KJV The God [Elohim] of my rock; in him will I trust [chasah]: he is my shield, and the horn of my salvation [yesha], my high tower, and my refuge [noun of chasah], my savior [yasha]; thou savest [yasha] me from violence – from wrong, cruelty, injustice.
God is my Savior!!!
2 Samuel 22:36 NAS Thou hast also given me the shield of Thy salvation [yesha]. And Thy help [lit. gentleness] makes me great.
God is my shield!!!
So far we have seen that salvation is help, support, deliverance, escape, a shield. The next word shows that the LORD is a stronghold in time of trouble.
Psalm 37:39 TNK The deliverance [teshuw’ah] of the righteous comes from the LORD, their stronghold in time of trouble.
Thus salvation is not merely a momentary victory on the battlefield. It is also the safety and security necessary to maintain life unafraid of numerous dangers. Double wow!
The last derivative words are Jeshua and Joshua as names of various people, and of course, the name of our Lord and Savior, Yeshua Mashikha.
The name Yeshua in Aramaic is spelled yoth – shin---waw—ai--. When the letter waw is added in the middle of the three letters (which are the same as yasha), it changes the verb from an incomplete to complete action. Thus the word picture meaning becomes: the power of change completely experienced. Jesus as our Savior completely provided the path through the sea of life, delivered us from the hand of the enemy (Satan), and destroyed that enemy from having further power over us. He is still now help, support, a shield and stronghold in time of trouble. That is Yeshua!