Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah
December 28, 2022
Hallelujah in Song
Kaylee Rogers singing Hallelujah
From Handel’s Messiah Hallelujah Chorus
As we will find out only the third version treats Hallelujah as the Bible does – effectively shouting it.
Hallelujah – history and its meaning
Hallelujah first appeared in the ‘Book of Psalms’, a collection of sacred poems in the Jewish Bible that were written 3,000 years ago. It is a transliteration of the Hebrew phrase which means “to praise” and “the Lord”. The Oxford English Dictionary defines hallelujah as “a song or shout of praise to God,” but biblical scholars will tell you it’s actually a smash-up of two Hebrew words: hallel meaning “to praise” and jah meaning Yahweh, or God.
Hallelujah in Psalms
The last five chapters in the book of Psalms (146–150) comprise what might be considered a great “Hallelujah Chorus” to this “Hallel” book—the “book of Israel’s praises,” as the book of Psalms was called by the Israelites. Each psalm in this five-psalm group both begins and ends with an exclamatory “Praise ye the LORD,” or, in the Hebrew, “Hallelujah!” This word occurs 22 times in the book of Psalms. This is significant in that the Hebrew
language has just 22 letters, suggesting to us that the very purpose of language is for God to reveal His Word to man and for man then to respond with thanksgiving and praise to God.
The Hallel Psalms
The Hallel, (“Praise”) Psalms, a Jewish designation for Psalms 113–118 as read in synagogues on festive occasions. In ancient times Jews recited these hymns on the three Pilgrim Festivals, when they offered their required sacrifices in the Temple of Jerusalem. Psalm 113 begins with Hallelujah in verse one and again in verse nine at the very end. Psalm 115 ends with Hallelujah in verse 18, Psalm 116 also ends with Hallelujah in verse 19, Psalm 117 in its two short verses ends with Hallelujah in verse 2. While Psalms 114 and 118 are full of praise for God they do not have the word/phrase Hallelujah.
Hallelujah in Revelation
Hallelujah occurs just four times in the New Testament, all at the great congregation in heaven that will assemble at the “marriage supper of the Lamb” in Revelation chapter 19.
Let’s take at Revelation 19 verses 1-6.
1 After this I heard what sounded like the roar of a great multitude in heaven shouting:
Salvation and glory and power belong to our God,
2 for true and just are his judgments. He has condemned the great prostitute who corrupted the earth by her
adulteries. He has avenged on her the blood of his servants.”
3 And again they shouted:
The smoke from her goes up for ever and ever.”
4 The twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God, who was seated on the throne. And they cried:
5 Then a voice came from the throne, saying: “Praise our God, all you his servants, you who fear him, both great and small!”
6 Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting:
For our Lord God Almighty reigns.