The Profound Musical Importance of the Hebrew Verb “Halal”

September 30, 2021 — Leave a comment

Two passages in the OT teach us a profound truth about the musical importance of the Hebrew verb halal.

First, 2 Chronicles 29:30 reveals to us that a key command given by Hezekiah and the princes to the Levites to minister musically used that verb to communicate what they were to do musically. Moreover, that same verse also reveals that the same verb was used to signify what the Levites did musically in obeying that command:

2 Chronicles 29:30 Moreover Hezekiah the king and the princes commanded the Levites to sing praise unto the LORD with the words of David, and of Asaph the seer. And they sang praises with gladness, and they bowed their heads and worshipped.

‎WTT 2 Chronicles 29:30

וַ֠יֹּאמֶר יְחִזְקִיָּ֙הוּ הַמֶּ֤לֶךְ וְהַשָּׂרִים֙ לַלְוִיִּ֔ם

לְהַלֵּל֙ לַֽיהוָ֔ה

בְּדִבְרֵ֥י דָוִ֖יד וְאָסָ֣ף הַחֹזֶ֑ה

וַֽיְהַלְלוּ֙ עַד־לְשִׂמְחָ֔ה וַֽיִּקְּד֖וּ וַיִּֽשְׁתַּחֲוֽוּ׃ פ

(2 Chr. 29:30 WTT)

The Hebrew text here thus teaches us that the verb halal is used twice in this verse to signify the singing of praises to God!

Second, the Hebrew text of Psalm 147:1 profoundly confirms this understanding by revealing that the command that has been widely transliterated as “Hallelujah” signified here the singing of praises to the Lord and not just speaking praise to Him:

Psalm 147:1 Praise ye the LORD: for it is good to sing praises unto our God; for it is pleasant; and praise is comely.

WTT Psalm 147:1 הַ֥לְלוּ יָ֙הּ׀ כִּי־ט֭וֹב זַמְּרָ֣ה אֱלֹהֵ֑ינוּ כִּֽי־נָ֜עִים נָאוָ֥ה תְהִלָּֽה׃

In this verse, the command Hallelujah is directly explained as singing praise to Him by the use of the verb zamar (Heb. “to sing praise”) to signify what was good to do in obeying that command!

These passages thus teach us the profound musical importance of the Hebrew verb halal!

Copyright © 2011-2021 by Rajesh Gandhi. All rights reserved.

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Copyright © 2011-2021 by Rajesh Gandhi. All rights reserved.

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