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Verses

What do the words Hallelujah or Alleluia mean?

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Hallelujah comes from the Greek word Alleluia, a transliteration of the Hebrew word halelu-Yah, which means “praise ye Yahweh” (Psalms 104:35). Hallelujah comes from the word halal, which means “to shine,” “to boast,” “to celebrate,” “to praise,” and Yah, which is a shortened form of Yahweh. Like another Hebrew word “amen,” “hallelujah” has been adopted into the English language practically unchanged.

The phrase is mostly seen in the Psalms and in the book of Revelation where it is used to praise God for all the many miracles in caring and saving His people. The term is used 24 times in the Hebrew Bible (in the book of Psalms), twice in deuterocanonical books, and four times in the book of Revelation.

In the book of Psalms, ‘praise ye Jehovah’ frequently rendered ‘praise ye the LORD’ stands at the beginning of ten of the psalms (106,111-113,135,146-150). These are called “hallelujah psalms.” These Psalms are praise songs for God’s faithfulness to His covenant despite Israel’s stubbornness, rebellion, and sin. The psalmist offers thanksgiving for God’s mercy and steadfast love.

In Revelation 19: 1–7, the phrase is used in the wedding supper of the Lamb and constitutes an antiphonal choral composed of two anthems and two responses for the purpose of praising God for His final judgment on all wickedness: “I heard a loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying, “Alleluia! Salvation and glory and honor and power belong to the Lord our God! For true and righteous are His judgments, because He has judged the great harlot who corrupted the earth with her fornication; and He has avenged on her the blood of His servants shed by her…”

It is this usage that Charles Jennens extracted for the Hallelujah Chorus in Handel’s Messiah. In contemporary worship among Protestants, expressions of “Hallelujah” and “Praise the Lord” are acceptable unprompted expressions of joy and thanksgiving to God.

In His service,

BibleAsk Team