What does Hallelujah mean

by Nathan Howard

“Hallelujah is one of the most commonly used praise words today. Even many unsaved (non-christian) people use the word as an expression of joy. The word is also used in other faiths as well as christianity to mean “praise God!”, but what does the word really mean to God?

The word hallelujah is a hebrew word meaning praise God, its greek equivalent (used in the new testament) is Allelujah. Sometimes in this silly english language of ours, words aren’t really very descriptive. For example we only have one word for snow (you know… that white cold stuff that falls from the sky). But eskimos have many different words for snow because they have to describe it in different forms all the time. They have different words for snow when it’s falling, snow when its just fallen, snow that has hardened, snow that is mushy, snow that is dirty, snow that is from salt water, snow from fresh water and so on….

The same is true of the Hebrew language and the words that Israel uses for praise. We just have one english word for praise and just like the word we have for snow, it isn’t really very descriptive of the subject. Praise to God has even more diversity than snow. The hebrew word Hallelujah is in fact made up of two Hebrew words: ‘Hallel’ and ‘Jah’. The second of these words, ‘jah’, means God as in the word ‘Yahweh’. So this indicates that the praise is directed to God personally. The first of these words, ‘hallel’, is one of at least seven hebrew words used to describe praise.

As with any praise to God, it must be lived as well as spoken. You can’t say “Praise God” with one breath and go and murder someone in the next minute! So the word Hallel indicates a lifestyle of LOVE. Just the same as a couple in love don’t really care what people around them think about how they are holding hands or hugging etc, if you are really praising God out of a love attitude (hallel), then you just won’t care what anyone thinks or what you look like when you are doing it. You might dance, you would certainly sing, you would probably be shouting and clapping your hands. You might even be crying when you do it! This is what happened to king David in 2Sam 6:14. He was so overjoyed that the presence of the Lord (the ark) was back in Israel that he didn’t even care what his wife thought about his praise!

I would encourage you to not limit your ‘love expression’ to God by what others think. Don’t limit it to a musical style. Don’t even limit your praise to Him by a body position. When we talk and get excited about people we use body language to express ourselves. Just like the psalmist said: “All that is within me give him praise” – PS 103. Let everything you have give the Lord the praise he deserves! Don’t hold back on loving your heavenly Father and giving Him Hallelujahs!”

I really like the description of what Hallelujah means, praise God with such love & totally complete abandon that we don’t care what other people think because we are so in love with God.

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3 comments on “What does Hallelujah mean

  1. So if McCain/Palin wins, will we all start to learn different words for snow? Or does she not know them, because, while she lives in Alaska, and perhaps can see Eskimos from her front door, she may not know all the words for snow.Hmm- what term for snow do they use when talking about the “snow job” she is trying to do on the American voters?

  2. Ignorance. If you had some level of education in language, perhaps a bit of education in world studies, you will have a better understanding to the construction of words and names. Whether you practice Christianity, Buddhism or Islam, the meaning of Hallelujah is the same. It is clearly known to mean “Praise Jah”…reference to Jehovah God not “Praise God”. The word “God” doesn’t translate into “Jehovah”. A “person” doesn’t directly translate to any particular name whether it being Mary, Sara or Joel. You seem to dismiss the fact that it simply means “Praise Jehovah” in the English language regardless of opinion or religion. Are you afraid to use the name Jehovah, Joel?

    • This was based off of a word study I did using several different books, including several concordances. I’m not intentionally avoiding the use of any name, including Jehovah, I’m using the names and information I learned during my study. That being said, Jehovah is the romanization of Hebrew יְהֹוָה, (YHWH, also transcribed Yahweh), the proper name of the god of Israel in the Hebrew Bible. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jehovah). So if I am referring the the Hebrew/Christian God, then, according to my understanding, Yahweh, Jehovah, and God, can all be used interchangeably, without losing any meaning… If I am wrong, please feel free to let me know (politely), but also, please site your sources…

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