Bible Meaning of Hallelujah: Praise the Lord!

The word "Hallelujah" comes from the Hebrew phrase "praise the Lord." Read the Bible uses of Hallelujah and learn its meaning in scripture.

Bible Meaning of Hallelujah: Praise the Lord!

"Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out, “Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns"
(Revelation 19:6 ESV)

The True Meaning of Hallelujah

Hallelujah, also spelled alleluia, is a Hebrew liturgical phrase commonly translated in English as “praise the Lord.” It occurs in the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) in multiple Psalms, usually at the beginning or end of the Psalm or both. Read the numerous "Hallelujah Psalms" below! 

Hallelujah in the Bible

The Easton's Bible Dictionary gives the following definition of the biblical word "Hallelujah": praise ye Jehovah, frequently rendered "Praise ye the LORD," stands at the beginning of ten of the psalms (106,111-113,135,146-150), hence called "hallelujah psalms" (See below). 

From its frequent occurrence, it grew into a formula of praise. The Greek form of the word (alleluia) is found in Revelation 19:1, Revelation 19:3, Revelation 19:4, and Revelation 19:6.

Furthermore, the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia provides the following information about "Hallelujah":

The word is not a compound, like many Hebrew words composed of the abbreviated form of "Yahweh" and some other words, but has become a compound word in Greek and other languages. Even if the Jews had become accustomed to using it as a compound, it is never written as such in the text. In some Psalms, Hallelujah is an integral part of the song (Psalms 135:3), while in others, it simply serves as a liturgical interjection found either at the beginning (Psalms 111) or the close (Psalms 104) of the psalms or both (Psalms 146). 

The Hallelujah Psalms are found in three groups: 104-106; 111-113; 146-150. In the first group, Hallelujah is found at the close of the psalm as a liturgical interjection (106:1 is an integral part of the psalm). In the second group, Hallelujah is found at the beginning (113:9 is an integral part of the psalm depending on the adjective "joyful"). In the third group, Hallelujah is found both at the close and the beginning of the psalms. Hallelujah seems to be an integral part of the psalms in all other cases (Ps 115; Ps 116; Ps 117). These three groups were probably taken from an older collection of psalms like the group Psalms 120-134. In the New Testament, Hallelujah is found as part of the song of the heavenly host (Revelation 19:1). The word is generally preserved as a liturgical interjection by the Christian church.

The Hallelujah Psalms

"Praise the LORD, my soul. LORD my God, you are very great; you are clothed with splendor and majesty." (Psalm 104:1)

"Oh give thanks to the LORD; call upon his name; make known his deeds among the peoples! Sing to him, sing praises to him; tell of all his wondrous works! Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice!" (Psalm 105:1-3)

"Praise the LORD! Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever! (Psalm 106:1)

"Praise the LORD! I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart, in the company of the upright, in the congregation" (Psalm 111:1)

"Praise the LORD! Praise the name of the LORD, give praise, O servants of the LORD, who stand in the house of the LORD, in the courts of the house of our God!" (Psalm 135:1-2)

"Praise the LORD! Praise the LORD, O my soul! I will praise the LORD as long as I live; I will sing praises to my God while I have my being." (Psalm 146:1-2)

"Praise the LORD! For it is good to sing praises to our God; for it is pleasant, and a song of praise is fitting." (Psalm 147:1)

"Praise the LORD! Praise the LORD from the heavens; praise him in the heights! Praise him, all his angels; praise him, all his hosts! Praise him, sun and moon, praise him, all you shining stars! Praise him, you highest heavens, and you waters above the heavens!" (Psalm 148:1-4)

"Praise the LORD! Sing to the LORD a new song, his praise in the assembly of the godly!" (Psalm 149:1)

"Praise the LORD! Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens! Praise him for his mighty deeds; praise him according to his excellent greatness! Praise him with trumpet sound; praise him with lute and harp! Praise him with tambourine and dance; praise him with strings and pipe! Praise him with sounding cymbals; praise him with loud clashing cymbals! Let everything that has breath praise the LORD! Praise the LORD!" (Psalm 150)

Rejoicing in Heaven: Hallelujah in Revelation 19

This chapter of Revelation begins with the "Rejoicing of Heaven," a title found in the ESV Bible for the first 5 verses. As previously mentioned, Hallelujah developed from the phrase "Praise the Lord" as found in the Hallelujah Psalms.

Rejoicing in Heaven

After this I heard what seemed to be the loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, crying out, "Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God, for his judgments are true and just; for he has judged the great prostitute who corrupted the earth with her immorality, and has avenged on her the blood of his servants." Once more they cried out, "Hallelujah! The smoke from her goes up forever and ever." And the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God who was seated on the throne, saying, "Amen. Hallelujah!" And from the throne came a voice saying, "Praise our God, all you his servants, you who fear him, small and great." (Revelation 19:1-5)

The Marriage Supper of the Lamb

Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out, "Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns." (Revelation 19:6)

In contrast to the song of doom for Babylon (Revelation 18), the scene returns to the heavenly liturgy with an outburst of celestial triumph. Hallelujah, or Alleluia, appearing in the New Testament only in this chapter, is from the Hebrew for "Praise the Lord." It was used in the Great Hallel (Praise) of the Jerusalem temple liturgy (Psalm 104-106, Psalm 110-117) and in the synagogue as a response by the people. Within Christendom, Hallelujah has been a part of liturgical and private prayers since the earliest times.

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