3 True Facts About Hallelujah That’ll Change Your Praise

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 four times in Revelation 19, verses 1, 3, 4, and 6.

Updated: Sunday, September 24, 2023

3 True Facts About Hallelujah That’ll Change Your Praise

"Hallelujah is not praise, but it is a command 'to praise' – study your Bible"
3 true FACTS about hallelujah (tap or click on each; they are links to the three main sections of this lesson):
1. “Hallelujah” does not praise nor is it a word that praises God!
2. It means to praise the Lord!
3. Unfortunately, there is no proof that “Hallelujah” is the highest praise!

STM Bible Lesson

Lesson focus: Revelation 19:1, 3, 4, and 6. Bible lesson background: Alleluia (hallelujah). HalleluYah is a pure Hebrew word and yet it is found in almost every language under the sun. The first part of the word, “hallelu,” means “praise” or “praise ye.” The last part, “Yah,” is the Name of the One being praised.
Yahweh is the personal Name of the Heavenly Father. Yah is the basic or short form of the Heavenly Father’s Name. An extract from The Word HALLELUYAH, Its Origin and Significance.

Revelation 19:6-7 [read Revelation 19:1-10 (6-7)]
Then I heard again what sounded like the shout of a vast crowd or the roar of mighty ocean waves or the crash of loud thunder: “Praise the Lord! For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns. 7 Let us be glad and rejoice, and let us give honor to him. For the time has come for the wedding feast of the Lamb, and his bride has prepared herself. (NLT)
KJV: 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. 7 Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.

Fact #1 “Hallelujah” is not a term that gives God praise

When you praise God, you should honor, worship, and express admiration for Him. When you say “hallelujah”, you are merely giving a command to ‘praise the Lord’ or saying “praise the Lord”. We must know the meaning of a word before we use it. Do you agree?

Some believe it is a command or phrase that means “Praise the Lord”

  • Bible Reader’s Companion: “Hallelujah” (19:1, 3, 4, 6). The word means “praise the Lord,” and here it introduces a series of brief, jubilant psalms.
  • The Defender’s Study Bible: Alleluia means, “Praise the Lord!” It is the same as “hallelujah” and occurs in Hebrew in the first and last verses of each of the last five psalms of the book of Psalms.
  • Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown’s Commentary: Alleluia—Hebrew, “Praise ye Jah,” or Jehovah: here first used in Revelation, whence Ellicott infers the Jews bear a prominent part in this thanksgiving.
  • Nelson’s NKJV Study Bible: Alleluia represents the Hebrew word meaning “praise the Lord.”
  • Ryrie Study Bible: Hallelujah = Praise the Lord.
  • Word Pictures in the New Testament (NT): Hallelujah (Allēlouia). Transliteration of the Hebrew seen often in the Psalms (LXX) and in 3 Macc. 7:13, in NT only in Revelation 19:1, 3-4, 6. It means, “Praise ye the Lord.”

Others believe it is not praise but “empty words,” or words that take up space while not adding meaning.

  • J. Vernon McGee’s Thru the Bible: Hallelujah is an expletive of praise as the final phase of salvation is coming to pass.

Let us analyze Psalms 104:35 (KJV vs. CJB {Complete Jewish Bible} and others), for example. Notice how the King James translators replaced the word “Halleluyah/Hallelujah” with the phrase “Praise ye the Lord“!

Praise ye the Lord

Psalms 104:35 [read Psalms 104:33-35 (35)]
May sinners vanish from the earth and the wicked be no more! Bless Adonai, my soul! Halleluyah! (CJB)
KJV: Let the sinners be consumed out of the earth, and let the wicked be no more. Bless thou the Lord, O my soul. Praise ye the Lord.

There’s more…

Please do not stop or leave; come with me to a lexicon (dictionary of a language, e.g., Hebrew or Greek). We will continue to examine Psalms 104:35. Follow this link to BibleHub.com’s KJV Hebrew Lexicon. The Hebrew words for Hallelujah are hal·lū- (to praise) and yāh Jah (Jehovah in the shortened form).

the 2nd image contains the word hallelujah and it's meaning from the Strong's Hebrew lexicon

Like many things, the lexicons do not agree on the spelling and definitions of the words (see below). However, they agree that it is not praise, it is a command to praise.

Blue Letter Bible: hālal – “to praise” and yâ – “Jah” (Jehovah in the shortened form).
Bibletools.org, studylight.org, studybible.info, and lexiconcordance.com: hâlal – 2b1) “to praise” and yâhh – 1) Jah (Jehovah in the shortened form)
Mickelson’s: halal – (of acclamation) “to splendidly praise” and Yahh – Yah, the sacred name, short for YAHweh.

“A strong command…”

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 are examples of how to praise God:

Psalms 3:3 [read Psalms 3:3-4 (3)]
But, Lord, you are my shield, my wonderful God who gives me courage. (NCV)
KJV: But thou, O LORD, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head.
Psalm 86:5 [read Psalm 86:1-5 (5)]
O Lord, You are good and ready to forgive; Your loyal love flows generously over all who cry out to You. (VOICE)
KJV: For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee.
Isaiah 25:1-2 [read Isaiah 25:1-5 (1-2)]
O Lord, You are my God. I will praise You. I will give thanks to Your name. For You have been faithful to do great things, plans that You made long ago. 2 For You have laid waste a city. You have destroyed a strong city. The beautiful house of strangers is a city no more. And it will never be built again. (NLV)
KJV: O Lord, thou art my God; I will exalt thee, I will praise thy name; for thou hast done wonderful things; thy counsels of old are faithfulness and truth. 2 For thou hast made of a city an heap; of a defenced city a ruin: a palace of strangers to be no city; it shall never be built.

Fact #2 Hallelujah is a command to “praise the Lord”

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.
Britannica.com: “hallelujah, also spelled alleluia, Hebrew liturgical expression, usually rendered in English as “praise the Lord.”

Alleluia: Greek – G239 ἀλληλούϊα allelouia (al-lee-lou’-ya) Hebrew Transliterated word. Mickelson’s definition:

  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).

Blueletterbible.org – hallēlouia G239 αἰνέω aineo (ai-ne’-ō)

imperative mood verb:
The imperative mood is a verb form that gives a command.
A mood in English grammar that inflects a direct command or a strong request.
This form expresses commands, demands, explicit requests, orders, and so on.
  1. Strong’s: Of Hebrew origin (imperative of [H1984] and [H3050]); praise ye Jah!, an adoring exclamation: – alleluiah.
  2. Thayer’s: praise ye the Lord, Hallelujah
  3. Mounce’s: hallelujah; from Hebrew hallelu-yah, praise Yah(weh).
  4. Abbott-Smith’s: Rec. ἀλληλούϊα ; Heb. H1984 H3050, praise the Lord.

[from G136] KJV: praise.

See Harper Douglas, “Etymology of hallelujah,” Online Etymology Dictionary

  • Robertson’s Word Pictures in the New Testament and Defender’s Study Bible: allelouia = “Praise ye the Lord”.
  • Barnes’ Notes and Wiersbe: allelouia = “Praise Yahweh,” or “Praise the Lord”.
  • Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary: allelouia = ‘Praise ye JAH’.
  • Life Application Bible Commentary: The word is derived from a combination of two Hebrew words, halal and Jah, meaning “Praise Yahweh” or “Praise God.”


Apparently, many of us need to find out what praise is or how to give praise. It really should not be hard to find something to praise God for. After all, He is the creator of everything we see!

Think of what He has created:

  • Look at the variety of birds, fish, trees, flowers, etc.
  • Just think about all the colors, shapes, and textures created by our Lord!
  • Have you been able to enjoy the different seasons and the beauty that the rains produce? How about the scenery after a snowfall?
  • Do you marvel at the mystery of what lies beneath the depths of the seas, seen in documentaries or other ways?

Attributes of effective praise:

  1. The use of words that make known your feelings of thanks.
  2. Trusting in God is a form of praise. It shows that you believe He knows what is best for you.
  3. Praise must be positive and sincere.
  4. It helps to be specific.

The Joy of Forgiveness

Psalm 32:1-5 [read Psalm 32:1-5]
Our Lord, you bless everyone whose sins you forgive and wipe away. 2 You bless them by saying, “You told me your sins, without trying to hide them, and now I forgive you.”
3 Before I confessed my sins, my bones felt limp, and I groaned all day long. 4 Night and day your hand weighed heavily on me, and my strength was gone as in the summer heat.
5 So I confessed my sins and told them all to you. I said, “I’ll tell the Lord each one of my sins.” Then you forgave me and took away my guilt. (CEV)
KJV: Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. 2 Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile.
3 When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long. 4 For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me: my moisture is turned into the drought of summer. Selah.
5 I acknowledge my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah.

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.”

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).

Praise: G134 αἰνέω aineo (ai-ne’-ō) verb

  1. Mickelson’s: to praise (God).
  2. Thayer’s: to praise, extol, to sing praises in honour to God.
  3. Strong’s: From G136; to praise (God): – praise.
  4. Mounce’s: to praise; in the NT, speaking of the excellence of God

[from G136] KJV: praise (Luke 19:37; Romans 15:11; Revelation 19:5); praising (Luke 2:13 and 20; Acts 2:47, 3:8-9)

Cambridge Dictionary: to honor, worship, and express admiration for (God or a god): Praise God/the Lord.

Why should you hallelujah, in other words, “praise the Lord”?

You should praise God for His faithfulness, compassion, grace, and mercy. Keep in mind, that 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.

The God of compassion and mercy

Psalms 86:14-15 [read Psalms 86:14-17 (14-15)]
The arrogant rise up against me, God. A gang of violent people want me dead. They don’t give a thought for you. 15 But you, my Lord, are a God of compassion and mercy; you are very patient and full of faithful love. (CEB)
KJV: O God, the proud are risen against me, and the assemblies of violent men have sought after my soul; and have not set thee before them. 15 But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth.

Fact #3 Hallelujah is NOT the highest praise

Revelation 19:1-2 [read Revelation 19:1-10 (1-2)]
After this vision and announcement [these things] I heard what sounded like a great many people [the loud voice/sound of a great crowd] in heaven saying: “Hallelujah! [From the Hebrew meaning “Praise the Lord/Yahweh!] Salvation, glory [honor], and power belong to our God, 2 because his judgments are true and right [just]. He has punished [judged] the [great] prostitute [whore] who made the earth evil [corrupted the earth] with her sexual sin [fornication]. He has paid her back for [avenged] the death [blood] of his servants [which she shed; by her hand].” (EXB)
KJV: And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God: 2 For true and righteous are his judgments: for he hath judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and hath avenged the blood of his servants at her hand.

So, my friends, the next time someone says “Hallelujah,remember they gave the command topraise the Lord,” so 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 heavenly hosts were repeatedly giving a command to praise and not giving the highest praise in Revelation 19:1, 3, 4, and 6.

Are you convinced?

If you are not convinced, I encourage you to ask your Pastor to show you scriptures that prove Hallelujah is praise and/or the highest praise. Or search the scriptures to see if you can find anything that supports your belief!

Therefore, change your praise from saying hallelujah and start praising God correctly with true praise (one more example is Psalms 104). Please do not just read your Bible, learn to study the word and allow the Holy Spirit to reveal the truth. Thank you for taking the time to read this Bible lesson. I urge you to make full use of it. 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 19:1, 3-4, and 6.

Related studies, lessons, and snacks for further spiritual growth:

See the latest on the Sound Truth Ministry website.

NOTE: “Alleluia,” without the initial “H,” is a misspelling. (from Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words)

I look forward to your feedback via comment at the bottom of the page or by emailing tim@stministry.com. Have a fantabulous day!

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2 thoughts on “3 True Facts About Hallelujah That’ll Change Your Praise

  1. null

    Sound Truth Alert: Please understand, you are NOT praising God when you say “Hallelujah”, in fact, you are merely giving a command to ‘praise the Lord”! So, since Hallelujah is not praise, it is NOT the highest praise!
    #hallelujah #praisethelord #praise

    Message in the picture:

    Hallelujah is not praise but is a command to praise – study your Bible

    Focus Scripture:

    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)

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