“Hallelujah is the highest praise” or is it? Contrary to the belief of many, if you search the scriptures (KJV), there is no proof. In fact, the word “Hallelujah” is not found in the King James Bible (or NKJV) at all. However, “Alleluia” is found 4 times in Revelation 19.
STM Bible Lesson
Lesson focus: Alleluia (hallelujah). Bible lesson background: Revelation 19:1, 3, 4, and 6.
And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. Revelation 19:6 (KJV)
When you praise God, you honor, worship, and express admiration for/to Him. You are NOT praising God when you say “hallelujah”, in fact, you are merely giving a command to ‘praise the Lord”!
Therefore hallelujah is not praise, as a matter of fact, according to the IVP Bible Background Commentary “it is a strong command to praise the Lord. (A piel – it is the strongest possible command, probably originally uttered by the inspired Levite musicians summoning their hearers to worship)”.
The following is an example of how to praise God:
Psalms 3:3 (NCV)
But, Lord, you are my shield, my wonderful God who gives me courage.
So, what does allelouia mean?
The Greek word, ἀλληλούϊα allelouia (al-lee-lou’-ya), comes from a 2-word Hebrew phrase. The first Hebrew word is הָלַל halal (haw-lal’) a verb (Piel) meaning to praise. Followed by יָהּ Yahh (yaw) meaning Jah, the Lord.
Greek Alleluia – G239 ἀλληλούϊα allelouia (al-lee-lou’-ya) heb. 1. (properly) Splendidly praise Yahweh! (an adoring exclamation). 2. (as full interjection) Splendidly praise Yahweh, Halleluyah! 3. (transliterated) Halleluyah! (Hallelujah). [of Hebrew origin (imperative of H1984 and H3050)] KJV: alleluia (Revelation 19:1,3, 4, and 6).
1st Hebrew word – H1984 הָלַל halal (haw-lal’) v. (Piel) to praise.
2nd Hebrew word – H3050 יָהּ Yahh (yaw) n/p. 1. Yah, the sacred name. short for YAHweh. 2. (also, anglicized) Jah. 3. Jah (Jehovah in the shortened form). KJV: Jah, the Lord, most vehement.
Excerpt from the McClintock and Strong Biblical Cyclopedia on hallelujah – “The ancient Church retained the Hebrew word, as also did the Church of England in its first Liturgy; though now it is translated “Praise ye the Lord,” to which the people reply, “The Lord’s name be praised.” See Bingham, Orig. Eccles. bk. 14, ch. 2, § 4; Procter.”
Praise is at the heart of true worship. Let your praise of God flow out of your realization of who he is and how much he loves you. (Life Application Study Bible).
G134 αἰνέω aineo (ai-ne’-ō) v. to praise (God). [from G136] KJV: praise
G2962 κύριος kurios (kï ’-riy-os) n. 1. lord, supreme in authority, the one in control. 2. (in Hebrew) Adonai, The Lord God of Israel (which is actually Yahweh God of Israel – see Exodus 5:1 and 120 other occurrences). KJV: God, Lord, master, Sir
Why should you hallelujah?
You should praise God for His faithfulness, compassion, grace, and mercy. Keep in mind, praise is an acknowledgment [the action of expressing or displaying gratitude or appreciation for something] made of the excellency [the state or quality of excelling or being exceptionally good; extreme merit; superiority] or perfection of God.
Psalms 86:15 (NET)
But you, O Lord, are a compassionate and merciful God. You are patient and demonstrate great loyal love and faithfulness.
So my friends, the next time someone asks you to or gives the command to Hallelujah (praise the Lord) respond with praise! By the way, since hallelujah is not praise, it is NOT the highest praise! One can only assume that this false belief began by not understanding that the angels were giving a command to praise not giving the highest praise in Revelation 19:6.
Change your praise from saying hallelujah and start praising God correctly with true praise. Blessings to you and your loved ones—♥ Tim. ☺
Coverdale was the first English translated bible to use the word “hallelujah” (halleluya) in the Psalms. The Geneva Bible (link to the 1599 edition) translators were the first to use “Halleluyah” in Revelation 19.
Related Bible lessons:
See what is available on the Sound Truth Ministry website.
Note: parenthesis (#) encloses the key verse(s).
Revelation 19:1, 3, 4, and 6. Psalms 3:3-4 (3); Romans 15:7-13 (11); Psalms 86:14-15 (15).
“Alleluia,” without the initial “H,” is a misspelling. (from Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words, Copyright © 1985, Thomas Nelson Publishers.)