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Hebrew Words for Praise


1. Halal

Halal is a primary Hebrew root word for praise. Our word "hallelujah" comes from this base word. It means "to be clear, to shine, to boast, show, to rave, celebrate, to be clamorously foolish."

Ps 113:1-3
Praise (halal) ye the Lord, praise (halal) o ye servants of the Lord, praise (halal) the name of the Lord.

Ps 150:1
Praise (halal) the Lord! Praise (halal) God in his sanctuary; Praise (halal) him in his mighty expanse.

Ps 149:3
Let them praise (halal) his name in the dance: let them sing praises with the timbrel and harp.

(Other references: 1Chr 2)

2. Yadah

2Chr 8:14
Ezra 3:10
Ps 22:22
Ps 63:5
Ps 69:30

Yadah is a verb with a root meaning, "the extended hand, to throw out the hand, therefore to worship with extended hand." According to the Lexicon, the opposite meaning is "to bemoan, the wringing of the hands."

2Chr 20:21
Give thanks (yadah) to the Lord, for his lovingkindness is everlasting.

Ps 63:1
So I will bless thee as long as I live; I will (yadah) lift up my hands in thy name.

Ps 107:15
Oh that men would praise (yadah) the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men.

Other references:
Gen 49:8
2Chr 7:6
2Chr 20:21
Isa 12:4
Jer 33:11

3. Towdah

Towdah comes from the same principle root word as yadah, but is used more specifically. Towdah literally means, "an extension of the hand in adoration, avowal, or acceptance." By way of application, it is appratent in the Psalms and elsewhere that it is used for thanking God for "things not yet received" as well as things already at hand.

Ps 50:14
Offer unto God praise (towdah) and pay thy vows unto the Most High.

Ps 50:23
Whoso offereth praise (towdah) glorifieth me: and to him that ordereth his conversation aright will I shew the salvation of God.

Other references:
2Chr 29:31
Jer 33:11
Ps 42:4

4. Shabach
Shabach means, "to shout, to address in a loud tone, to command, to triumph."

Ps 47:1
O clap your hands, all peoples; shout (shabach) to God with the voice of joy (or triumph).

Ps 145:4
One generation shall praise (shabach) thy works to another and declare thy mighty acts.

Isa 12:6
Cry aloud and shout (shabach) for joy, O inhabitant of Zion, For great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.

Other references:
Ps 63:1-4
Ps.117:1
Ps 35:27
Ps 106:47

5. Barak

Barak means "to kneel down, to bless God as an act of adoration."

Ps 95:6
O come let us worship and bow down; let us kneel (barak) before the Lord our maker.

1Chr 29:20
Then David said to all the assembly, "Now bless (barak) the Lord your God." And all the assembly blessed (barak) the Lord, the God of their fathers, and bowed low and did homage to the Lord and to the king.

Ps 34:1
I will bless (barak) the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.

Other references:
Job 1:21
Ps 96:2
Ps 103:1-2
Ps 18:46

6. Zamar

Zamar means "to pluck the strings of an instrument, to sing, to praise; a musical word which is largely involved with joyful expressions of music with musical instruments.

Ps 21:13
Be exalted O Lord, in Thine own strength, so will we sing and praise (zamar) Thy power.

1Chr 16:9
Sing to Him, sing praises (zamar) to Him; speak of all His wonders.

Ps 57:8-9
Awake my glory; awake harp and lyre, I will awaken the dawn! I will give thanks to Thee, O Lord among the peoples; I will sing praises (zamar) to Thee among the nations.

Other references:
Ps 66:2-4
Isa 12:5
Ps 27:6
Ps 149:3
Ps 30:4

7. Tehillah

Tehillah is derived from the word halal and means "the singing of halals, to sing or to laud; perceived to involve music, especially singing; hymns of the Spirit.

Ps 22:3
Yet Thou art holy, O Thou who art enthroned upon the praises (tehillah) of Israel.

Ps 33:1
Rejoice in the Lord, o ye righteous, for praise (tehillah) is comely for the upright.

Isa 61:3
To grant to those who mourn in Zion, Giving them a garland instead of ashes, The oil of gladness instead of mourning, The mantle of praise (tehillah) instead of the spirit of fainting, So they shall be called oaks of righteousness, The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.

Other references:
Ps 34:1
1Chr 16:35
2Chr 20:22
Deut 10:21
Exod 15:11
Ps 147:1-2

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