Interestingly, the phrase “God Save the King” (and its match “God Save the Queen”) may have its origin in the King James Version of the Bible, where the Hebrew phrase Yechi hamelekh (יחי המלכ) was repeatedly translated as “God save the king” (e.g., 1 Samuel 10:24; 2 Samuel 16:16; 2 Kings 11:12; 2 Chronicles 23:11; cf. 1 Kings 1:25, 34, 39). Modern translations often render the phrase more literally as “Long live the king!”



In Ezra 9:7, the people’s iniquities are blamed for their political oppression. According to 2 Maccabees, the people’s political plight is the result of their “sins” (2 Maccabees 7:32). Philo of Alexandria’s treatise De Praemiis et Poenis expounds the principle of rewards and punishments involving both the individual and the nation (79–92), and thus conditions the eschatological gathering of the diaspora on the people’s repentance and God’s forgiveness of their sins (164–67). Josephus’ retelling of the Esther story has Mordecai pray to God “not to look away now from his nation, which is perishing, but as he at first had often provided and forgiven (the nation) when it sinned, so also now rescue (ρυσσασθαι) it from threatening destruction” (Antiquities, 11.229).


See also the works of Josephus where the noun “salvation (σωτηρια)” and the verb “to save (συζω)” always refer to escaping physical danger, often from a military threat, and frequently have political connotations.


See also 1 Maccabees 5:62 where the military victory of the Jews is called “salvation (σωτηρια).” In 9:21 Judas Maccabeus is mourned as “the saviour (σωζων) of Israel.” In 2 Maccabees 2:17–18, God’s acts of political liberation are celebrated, especially the success of Judas Maccabeus; “God (is the one who) has saved (ο σωσας) all his people and has given back the inheritance to all, and the kingdom, and the priesthood, and sanctuary, as he promised through the law” (see also 2 Maccabees 1:11, 25).


War 1.274, 1.325, 1.384; Antiquities 12.28, 12.33, 12.46, 14.371, 15.156; Life 419. In Antiquities 14.107, “redemption (λυτρον)” is used to refer to the bar of gold offered so that the Temple would not be plundered. The verb “to redeem (λυτροω)” also occurs in War 1.274 and Antiquities 14.371.


Y. Meshorer, Ancient Jewish Coinage, Vol. 2: Herod the Great through Bar Cochba (New York: Amphora Books, 1982) pp. 96–131, 259–263, and plts. 17–19 [coins 27–30f].


Meshorer, Ancient Jewish Coinage, pp. 132–165, 264–277, and plts. 20–28 [coins 1–11]. Jewish documents during the Second Jewish Revolt (c. 132–135 C. E.) are also often dated to the year of “the Redemption of Israel (לגאלט ישראל).” See Mur 24 B line 2, Mur 24 D line 2, Mur 24 E lines 1–2 (J.T. Milik, “24. Contrats de fermage, en hébreu; an 133,” in Les Grottes de Murabba’at, Discoveries in the Judaean Desert 2 [Oxford: Clarendon, 1961], pp. 122–134, and plts. 35–37).