Showing posts with label Peachtree Church. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Peachtree Church. Show all posts

Saturday, July 25, 2020

An Overview of Four (4) Psalms over Four (4) Weeks, This Sunday: Psalm 111 הַלְלוּ יָהּ Hallelujah!

SUNDAY, JULY 26, 2020

An Overview of Four (4) Psalms over Four (4) Weeks, Psalm 100, Psalm 33, 103, and 111

This Sunday: Psalm 111  הַלְלוּ יָהּ  Hallelujah!

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Hugh C. Wood, Esq., Atlanta, Georgia

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Last week we looked at Psalm 103, the Mount Everest of the Psalms of Thanksgiving.

This week we look at Psalm 111  ::  הַלְלוּ יָהּ  Hallelujah!

Psalm 111 Is a Magnificent song of Praise to the Lord.    הַלְלוּ יָהּ  Hallelujah!

Hallelujah! to the Lord.  

Many times we look down and consider what we do not have or what is wrong, but Psalm 111, asks us to look up and thank the Lord and Praise the Lord for what we do have.  

We are to praise Him for everything that he has brought our way - for all of it is for our edification and development as Christians.  And we develop and grow every single day that we are here.  

"This Psalm [111] is a hymn of praise to Yahweh for the wondrous works which he has created.

Both Psalms 111 and 112 begin with “Praise Yahweh.”  Both are 22 line acrostic poems.  The last verse of Psalm 111 says, “The fear of Yahweh is the beginning of wisdom.”  Psalm 112 takes up that theme with “Blessed is the man who fears Yahweh” (112:1).  The two psalms were apparently written as a pair, and may have been sung that way in Jewish worship––just as we sing two verses of a hymn that follow the same form and meter.

1 Praise Yahweh!
I will give thanks to Yahweh with my whole heart,
in the council of the upright, and in the congregation.

2 Yahweh’s works are great,
pondered by all those who delight in them."   [1]

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For some reason the study of this particular Psalm, has lead me into the hymnody surrounding it.  This is unusual for me, since I am a word person and have not been in the choir like so many that have come through this class(es) over the decades.

So, lets look at this great psalm in some of the magnificent hymns written about it.

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Let us open today with a Hymn of Praise "O Praise Ye the Lord" as sung by the Choir at Salisbury Cathedral, Salisbury, UK.

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Psalm 111  in the King James Version (for historical style) reads as follows:

111 Praise ye the Lord. I will praise the Lord with my whole heart, in the assembly of the upright, and in the congregation.

2 The works of the Lord are great, sought out of all them that have pleasure therein.

3 His work is honourable and glorious: and his righteousness endureth for ever.

4 He hath made his wonderful works to be remembered: the Lord is gracious and full of compassion.

5 He hath given meat unto them that fear him: he will ever be mindful of his covenant.

6 He hath shewed his people the power of his works, that he may give them the heritage of the heathen.

7 The works of his hands are verity and judgment; all his commandments are sure.

8 They stand fast for ever and ever, and are done in truth and uprightness.

9 He sent redemption unto his people: he hath commanded his covenant for ever: holy and reverend is his name.

10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: [2] a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever.  [3]

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Psalm 111

Here is Pastor Paul LeBoutillier of Calvary Chapel Ontario, Oregon reviewing the magnificence of Psalm 111.

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GF HANDEL: Messiah - Hallelujah



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Psalm 111:  The Choir of Westminster Abbey

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Calvin's full Commentary on Psalm 111 is at [5].

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An overview of how Psalms is assembled in the Bible Project is at [6].

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I am hopeful this overview of these four (4) magnificent Psalms over the last four (4) weeks has been uplifting and beneficial to your spiritual journey.

Much Love to you,

Hugh Wood
Atlanta, Georgia

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Here is Richard Neil Donovan's Commentary on Psalm 111.

Biblical Commentary
(Bible study)
Psalm 111
Hebrew poetry follows different forms (parallelism, dirges, acrostics, etc.), as does poetry in the English language (sonnet, narrative, epic, free verse, etc.).  This poem follows the acrostic model in which each line begins with the next letter of the Hebrew alphabet.  That is obviously a rigorous discipline––especially so in the case of this psalm, which has 22 short lines to accommodate the 22 characters of the Hebrew alphabet

The first line of the poem, “Praise Yahweh,” is not included in the 22 acrostic lines.

To appreciate the difficulty posed by the acrostic model, consider how difficult you would find it to compose a 26 line poem with each line starting with the next letter of the alphabet from A to Z.

This psalm is a hymn of praise to Yahweh for the wondrous works which he has created.

Both Psalms 111 and 112 begin with “Praise Yahweh.”  Both are 22 line acrostic poems.  The last verse of Psalm 111 says, “The fear of Yahweh is the beginning of wisdom.”  Psalm 112 takes up that theme with “Blessed is the man who fears Yahweh” (112:1).  The two psalms were apparently written as a pair, and may have been sung that way in Jewish worship––just as we sing two verses of a hymn that follow the same form and meter.

1 Praise Yahweh!
I will give thanks to Yahweh with my whole heart,
in the council of the upright, and in the congregation.

2 Yahweh’s works are great,
pondered by all those who delight in them.

3 His work is honor and majesty.
His righteousness endures forever.

“Praise Yahweh!    I will give thanks to Yahweh with my whole heart”  (Hebrew: lebab) (v. 1a).  The psalmist begins by calling the congregation to praise Yahweh, and then affirms that he will do so personally with his whole heart (lebab), which means that his outward expression of praise finds its source in his deepest inner nature.

“in the council of the upright (Hebrew: yasar), and in the congregation” (v. 1b).  Furthermore, the psalmist will praise Yahweh in the context of public worship––”in the counsel of the upright” (yasar)––those who are straight or right or upright––those who are walking the straight and narrow path that leads to life (Matthew 7:14).

“Yahweh’s works are great” (v. 2a).   Yahweh’s works are great.  Verse 5 will mention Yahweh’s gift of food (manna) and his remembrance of his covenant with Israel as examples.

But Yahweh’s works (as far as humans are concerned) began with the creation:  Light, the sky, dry land and the seas, vegetation, lights in the sky (the sun, moon, and stars), fish and fowl, animals of every kind, and finally the man and woman (Genesis 1).

 “pondered (Hebrew: daras) by all those who delight in them” (v. 2b).   The word daras means to seek or examine or study.

The psalmist is saying that those who delight in Yahweh’s works ponder (seek, examine, study) those works.

Even people of no faith can study Yahweh’s works and find delight in them.  Even if they don’t acknowledge that God created those things, they take delight in their grand and intricate nature.

But those who approach God’s works in faith find a special blessing there.

“His work is honor (Hebrew: hod) and majesty” (Hebrew: hadar). The word hod means authority or majesty, and was sometimes used to describe the majestic appearance of a strong man or a horse.  In this verse, the psalmist is saying that Yahweh’s works embody that kind of authority or majesty.

The word hadar means glory or majesty.  These two words then (hod and hadar) are similar.  The psalmist uses both words to describe the awe-inspiring nature of Yahweh’s works.

That brings to mind one more thought.  If Yahweh’s works are authoritative, glorious, and majestic, what must Yahweh be like?  Wouldn’t the creator be even greater than the creation!

“His righteousness (Hebrew: sedaqah) endures forever” (v. 3).  Righteousness is one of the defining attributes of Yahweh’s character.  Yahweh’s righteousness is reflected in his covenant faithfulness.   His righteousness is not subject to whim, but endures forever.

4 He has caused his wonderful works to be remembered.
Yahweh is gracious and merciful.

5 He has given food to those who fear him.
He always remembers his covenant.

6 He has shown his people the power of his works,
in giving them the heritage of the nations.

He has caused his wonderful works to be remembered” (Hebrew: zeker) (v. 4a).  The noun zeker is related to the verb zakar (to remember), and means remembrance or memorial.

Yahweh called his people to remember his mighty works:  The Exodus (Exodus 6ff)––his provision for Israel in the wilderness (Exodus 16ff)­­––his commandments (Exodus 20ff)––his leadership into the Promised Land (Joshua 1ff)––his deliverance of Israel from its enemies.

Yahweh also gave Israel tools for remembering:

The Sabbath (Exodus 20:8-11).
Feast days, especially the Passover (Exodus 13:3; 23:14; Deuteronomy 16:1-17; 24:18).
Various rites and ceremonies (Leviticus 5:12; 6:15; Esther 9:26-28).
Physical reminders (Genesis 9:16-17; Exodus 39:7; Numbers 31:54; Deuteronomy 6:6–9; Joshua 4:1-9).
Scriptures, especially the law and the prophets.
“Yahweh is gracious (Hebrew: hannun) and merciful” (Hebrew: rahum) (v. 4b).  The word hannum means gracious or merciful, and rahum means compassionate or merciful or forgiving.  The two words are roughly synonymous, and are often used together to describe God (2 Chronicles 30:9; Nehemiah 9:17, 31; Psalm 111:4; 145:8; Joel 2:13; Jonah 4:2).

That Yahweh is gracious and merciful is hugely important, because “all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God”––so our only hope is “being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:23).  Jesus is the ultimate expression of Yahweh’s graciousness and mercy.

“He has given food to those who fear (Hebrew: yare) him” (v. 5a).  To fear (yare) God can mean to be afraid of God, as the Israelites were at Mount Sinai (Deuteronomy 5:5), but it more often means holding God in awe or reverence.

God has created a world that is rich in food.  That many people are hungry is often due to poor distribution of food supplies or some sort of dysfunctionality (personal or governmental).

God’s provided food in the wilderness in response to Israel’s complaints about their lack of food.  God promised to “rain bread from the sky” (Exodus 16:4), and the bread that he gave them was known as manna (Hebrew: man hu––what is it?).  The bread that God provided was not food for the ages, but was instead food for the day (Exodus 16:4-5, 20-21).  In keeping with that principle, Jesus teaches us to pray, not for wealth, but for daily bread (Matthew 6:11; Luke 11:3).

“He always remembers (Hebrew: zakar) his covenant” (Hebrew: berit) (v. 5b). A covenant is an agreement binding on both parties.  Typically, Yahweh dictated the terms of the covenant, which were always favorable to the other party––but which required their compliance.

Yahweh established a number of covenants with the Hebrew people.  Some of the more important Biblical covenants were between God and Abraham (Genesis 12:1-3); Isaac and Jacob (Exodus 2:24; Leviticus 26:42); Noah (Genesis 8:21-22; ) Moses (Exodus 6:4-5; 19:5; 24:7-8; 25:21); David  (2 Samuel 7:16; Psalm 89:2-4; 105:8-11); and Israel (Jeremiah 31:3-4, 31-37).

Yahweh “always remembers (zakar) his covenant” just as a faithful husband always remembers his wedding vows.  This kind of remembering goes beyond bringing something to mind.  It also involves action––being faithful to one’s promises.  Yahweh was not only faithful to his promises, but also forgave Israel time after time when she betrayed her side of the covenant.

“He has shown his people the power of his works,  in giving them the heritage of the nations” (v. 6).  This hearkens back to the time when Yahweh gave Israel the Promised Land––a term that never appears in the Bible, but is implied in promises made to Abram (Genesis 13:14-17; 15:7-21)––Isaac (Genesis 26:2-3––and Jacob (Genesis 28:13-15) See also 1 Chronicles 16:16-18; Psalm 105:9; Hebrews 11:9.

Joshua led Israel in its successful effort to conquer the Promised Land (Joshua 1-12).  That land helped to confirm their identity as a people––and particularly as the people of God.

However, the land didn’t belong to Israel, but to Yahweh (Leviticus 25:23).  Yahweh allowed Israel to live in the land when they were faithful, and exiled them when they were not.

7 The works of his hands are truth and justice.
All his precepts are sure.

8 They are established forever and ever.
They are done in truth and uprightness.

9 He has sent redemption to his people.
He has ordained his covenant forever.
His name is holy and awesome!

“The works of his hands are truth (Hebrew: ’emet) and justice” (Hebrew: mispat) (v. 7a).   Truth (’emet) is that which is real or dependable––the opposite of false.

Justice (mispat) is a legal word that speaks of judgment or legal decisions.  In this instance, the psalmist is saying that the works of Yahweh’s hands involve true justice––judgments with integrity––decisions based on fairness rather than favoritism.

“All his precepts (Hebrew: piqqud) are sure” (Hebrew: ‘aman) (v. 7b).  The word piqqud means precept or instruction.  My dictionary defines precept as “a general rule intended to regulate behavior or thought”––and that’s what the psalmist is talking about here.

We usually refer to God’s precepts as his laws or commandments.  The psalmist is saying that God’s laws are sure (‘aman).  Being trustworthy, they lead rightly––provide stability––instill confidence.

That brings to mind Psalm 19, which says:

“Yahweh’s law is perfect, restoring the soul.
Yahweh’s testimony is sure, making wise the simple.
Yahweh’s precepts are right, rejoicing the heart.
Yahweh’s commandment is pure, enlightening the eyes” (Psalm 19:7-8).

“They are established (Hebrew: samak) forever and ever” (v. 8a).  The word samak has a variety of meanings.  In this context, it means that God sustains or upholds his precepts (laws, commandments) forever.  They have an eternal quality.

“They are done in truth (Hebrew: ’emet) and uprightness” (Hebrew: yasar) (v. 8b).  See verse 7a above for the meaning of ’emet.

The word yasar (uprightness) means straight or right or upright or without guile.  The psalmist is saying that God’s precepts (laws, commandments) are exactly what they ought to be.  They incorporate no guile or pretense or favoritism.  We can depend on them to lead us rightly.

“He has sent redemption (Hebrew: pedut) to his people” (v. 9a).   The word pedut means ransom or redemption.  Redemption involves bringing liberty to a captive, usually through the payment of a price (a ransom).

While pedut could mean deliverance from any adversity, in the context of this psalm it brings to mind the Exodus––deliverance from slavery and possession of the Promised Land.

“He has ordained (Hebrew: sawah) his covenant forever” (v. 9b).  The word sawah means to order or to command.  In the Old Testament, sawah is usually used for someone issuing an order.  But it can also mean to set up something, and that’s the intent here.  Yahweh set up or ordained his covenant forever.

For more on covenants, see the comments on verse 5b above.

“His name is holy (Hebrew: qadosh) and awesome!” (Hebrew: yare) (v. 9c).  The Hebrew Scriptures consistently present God and God’s name as holy.  All holiness is derivative––derived from the holiness of God.  The Sabbath is holy because God made it so.  The tabernacle and temple are holy because of God’s presence.  The nation Israel is to be holy because it is in a covenant relationship with God.

The word yare (awesome) is sometimes translated fear, as in Psalm 85:9, which says, “Surely his salvation is hear those who fear (yare) him.

But yare can also mean awe or reverence, and that is what the psalmist probably means here.  Yahweh’s name inspires awe or reverence.

I hesitate to use the word awesome, which our culture has so trivialized, i.e., “Your fingernail polish is so awesome!”

10 The fear of Yahweh is the beginning of wisdom.
All those who do his work have a good understanding.
His praise endures forever!

“The fear (Hebrew: yir’ah) of Yahweh is the beginning of wisdom” (v. 10a).  The noun yir’ah is related to the verb yare’ (to fear, respect, or reverence) and the adjective yare’ (fearing, afraid).

Fear of (reverence for) Yahweh makes a person receptive to Godly wisdom (Proverbs 1:7; 9:10).  That person will obey Yahweh and observe his commandments (Deuteronomy 6:13; 28:58).

“All those who do his work have a good understanding” (Hebrew: sekel) (v. 10b).  The person who does God’s work will have sekel––insight or understanding––the kind of uncommon sense that enables a person to make good decisions and to avoid bad consequences (Proverbs 9:10).

 “His praise endures forever!” (v. 10c).    I didn’t find anything in the commentaries on this line that was particularly helpful.  I take it to mean that the person who fears (reverences) God and does his works will praise God forever.  That makes sense in two ways:

The person whose faith results in wisdom and understanding will be able to praise God through thick and thin. I have seen that kind of positive spirit in a number of faithful people who were facing various adversities––to include the death of a spouse or their own illness and impending death. The deeper our faith, the better we are likely to understand that the Lord is with us even as we walk through the valley of the shadow of death (or any other adversity) (Psalm 23:4).  Note that Psalm 23 speaks of walking THROUGH the valley, and not just into it.  God is with us even as we make that journey.
• The person of faith can expect to live eternally, so he/she can praise God forever.

SCRIPTURE QUOTATIONS are from the World English Bible (WEB), a public domain (no copyright) modern English translation of the Holy Bible. The World English Bible is based on the American Standard Version (ASV) of the Bible, the Biblia Hebraica Stutgartensa Old Testament, and the Greek Majority Text New Testament. The ASV, which is also in the public domain due to expired copyrights, was a very good translation, but included many archaic words (hast, shineth, etc.), which the WEB has updated.

[ Citations to works omitted.  They are available with the original commentary]

Copyright 2017, Richard Niell Donovan


There is an obvious cross citation here to Proverbs 9.  Technically, the Psalm came before the Proverb.  

Proverbs 9
New International Version
Invitations of Wisdom and Folly
9 Wisdom has built her house;
    she has set up[a] its seven pillars.
2 She has prepared her meat and mixed her wine;
    she has also set her table.
3 She has sent out her servants, and she calls
    from the highest point of the city,
4     “Let all who are simple come to my house!”
To those who have no sense she says,
5     “Come, eat my food
    and drink the wine I have mixed.
6 Leave your simple ways and you will live;
    walk in the way of insight.”

7 Whoever corrects a mocker invites insults;
    whoever rebukes the wicked incurs abuse.
8 Do not rebuke mockers or they will hate you;
    rebuke the wise and they will love you.
9 Instruct the wise and they will be wiser still;
    teach the righteous and they will add to their learning.

10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
    and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
11 For through wisdom[b] your days will be many,
    and years will be added to your life.
12 If you are wise, your wisdom will reward you;
    if you are a mocker, you alone will suffer.

13 Folly is an unruly woman;
    she is simple and knows nothing.
14 She sits at the door of her house,
    on a seat at the highest point of the city,
15 calling out to those who pass by,
    who go straight on their way,
16     “Let all who are simple come to my house!”
To those who have no sense she says,
17     “Stolen water is sweet;
    food eaten in secret is delicious!”
18 But little do they know that the dead are there,
    that her guests are deep in the realm of the dead.

Proverbs 9:1 Septuagint, Syriac and Targum; Hebrew has hewn out

Proverbs 9:11 Septuagint, Syriac and Targum; Hebrew me


Here is Psalm 111 in the New International Version

Psalm 111[a]
1 Praise the Lord.[b]

I will extol the Lord with all my heart
    in the council of the upright and in the assembly.

2 Great are the works of the Lord;
    they are pondered by all who delight in them.
3 Glorious and majestic are his deeds,
    and his righteousness endures forever.
4 He has caused his wonders to be remembered;
    the Lord is gracious and compassionate.
5 He provides food for those who fear him;
    he remembers his covenant forever.

6 He has shown his people the power of his works,
    giving them the lands of other nations.
7 The works of his hands are faithful and just;
    all his precepts are trustworthy.
8 They are established for ever and ever,
    enacted in faithfulness and uprightness.
9 He provided redemption for his people;
    he ordained his covenant forever—
    holy and awesome is his name.

10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;
    all who follow his precepts have good understanding.
    To him belongs eternal praise.

Psalm 111:1 This psalm is an acrostic poem, the lines of which begin with the successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet.
Psalm 111:1 Hebrew Hallelu Yah



"Hallelujah" (hllw yh) in Hebrew script

French manuscript of Psalm 149; the words "Hallelu-Yah" are visible next to the pointing man's face.
Hallelujah (/ˌhælɪˈluːjə/ HAL-i-LOO-yə) is an interjection. It is a transliteration of the Hebrew phrase הַלְלוּ יָהּ (Modern Hebrew hallūyāh, Tiberian haləlūyāh), which is composed of two elements: הַלְלוּ (second-person imperative masculine plural form of the Hebrew verb hillel: an exhortation to "praise" addressed to several people[1]) and יָהּ (the name of God Yah).[2][3][4] The term is used 24 times in the Hebrew Bible (in the book of Psalms), twice in deuterocanonical books, and four times in the Christian Book of Revelation.[5]

The phrase is used in Judaism as part of the Hallel prayers, and in Christian prayer,[5] where since the earliest times[6] it is used in various ways in liturgies,[7] especially those of the Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church,[8] both of which use the form "alleluia" which is based on the alternative Greek transliteration.

In the Bible
הַלְלוּיָהּ is found in 24 verses in the Book of Psalms [9] (104–106, 111–117, 135, 145–150), but twice in Psalm 150:6. It starts and concludes a number of Psalms.

The Greek transliteration ἀλληλούϊα (allēlouia) appears in the Septuagint version of these Psalms, in Tobit 13:17 and 3 Maccabees 7:13, and four times in Revelation 19:1–6, the great song of praise to God for his triumph over the Whore of Babylon.[5][6] It is this usage that Charles Jennens extracted for the Hallelujah Chorus in Handel's Messiah. This transliteration is the basis of the alternative English transliteration of "Alleluia" that is also used by Christians.

In the Hebrew Bible hallelujah is actually a two-word phrase, not one word. The first part, hallelu, is the second-person imperative masculine plural form of the Hebrew verb hillel.[1] However, "hallelujah" means more than simply "praise Jah" or "praise Yah", as the word hallel in Hebrew means a joyous praise in song, to boast in God.[10][11]

The second part, Yah, is a shortened form of YHWH, the name for the Creator.[5] The name ceased to be pronounced in Second Temple Judaism, by the 3rd century BC due to religious beliefs.[12] The correct pronunciation is not known, however, it is sometimes rendered by Christians as "Yahweh" or "Jehovah". The Septuagint translates Yah as Kyrios (the LORD), because of the Jewish custom of replacing the sacred name with "Adonai", meaning "the Lord".

In Psalm 150:6 the Hebrew reads kol han'shamah t'hallel yah halelu-yah;[13] the first "hallel" and "yah" in this verse are two separate words, and the word "yah" is translated as "the LORD", or "YHWH". In Psalm 148:1 the Hebrew says "הללו יה halelu yah". It then says "halelu eth-YHWH" as if using "yah" and "YHWH" interchangeably. The word "Yah" appears by itself as a divine name in poetry about 49 times in the Hebrew Bible (including halelu yah), such as in Psalm 68:4–5 "who rides upon the skies by his name Yah" and Exodus 15:2 "Yah is my strength and song". It also often appears at the end of Israelite theophoric names such as Isaiah "yeshayah(u), Yahweh is salvation" and Jeremiah "yirmeyah(u), Yahweh is exalted".[5]

The word hallelujah occurring in the Psalms is therefore a request for a congregation to join in praise toward God. It can be translated as "Praise Yah" or "Praise Jah, you people".[2][7][14]

Most well-known English versions of the Hebrew Bible translate the Hebrew "Hallelujah" (as at Psalm 150:1) as two Hebrew words, generally rendered as "Let us praise" and "the LORD", but the second word is given as "Yah" in the Lexham English Bible and Young's Literal Translation, "Jah" in the New World Translation, "Jehovah" in the American Standard Version, and "Hashem" in the Artscroll Tanach (Orthodox Jewish). Instead of a translation, the transliteration "Hallelujah" is used by JPS Tanakh, International Standard Version, Darby Translation, God's Word Translation, Holman Christian Standard Bible, and The Message, with the spelling "Halleluyah" appearing in the Complete Jewish Bible. The Greek-influenced form "Alleluia" appears in Wycliffe's Bible, the Knox Version and the New Jerusalem Bible.

In the great song of praise to God for his triumph over the Whore of Babylon[5] in chapter 19 of the New Testament book of Revelation, the Greek word ἀλληλούϊα (allēluia), a transliteration of the same Hebrew word, appears four times, as an expression of praise rather than an exhortation to praise.[6] In English translations this is mostly rendered as "Hallelujah",[15] but as "Alleluia" in several translations,[16] while a few have "Praise the Lord",[17] "Praise God",[18] "Praise our God",[19] or "Thanks to our God".[20]

The linguist Ghil'ad Zuckermann argues that the word Hallelujah is usually not replaced by a praise God! translation due to the belief in iconicity: the perception that there is something intrinsic about the relationship between the sound of the word and its meaning.[21]:62

Usage by Jews
The word "hallelujah" is sung as part of the Hallel Psalms (interspersed between Psalms 113–150).[22] In Tractate Shabbat of the Talmud, Rabbi Yose is quoted as saying that the Pesukei dezimra Psalms should be recited daily.[23] Psalms 145-150, also known as the Hallel of pesukei dezimra, are included to fulfill this requirement in the liturgy for the traditional Jewish Shacharit (morning) service.[24] In addition, on the three Pilgrimage Festivals, the new moon and Hanukkah, Psalms 113-118 are recited.[25] The latter psalms are known simply as Hallel with no additional qualification.

Psalms 146:10, ending with Halleluja, is the third and final biblical quotation in the Kedushah. This expanded version of the third blessing in the Amidah is said during the Shacharit and Mincha (morning and afternoon) services when there is a minyan present.[26]

Usage by Christians
Main article: Alleluia
Christian Mass, singing Hallelujah
For most Christians, "Hallelujah" is considered a joyful word of praise to God, rather than an injunction to praise him. "The Alleluia" refers to a traditional chant, combining the word with verses from the Psalms or other scripture. In the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church, and in many older Protestant denominations, the Alleluia, along with the Gloria in excelsis Deo, is not spoken or sung in liturgy during the season of Lent, instead being replaced by a Lenten acclamation, while in Eastern Churches, Alleluia is chanted throughout Lent at the beginning of the Matins service, replacing the Theos Kyrios, which is considered more joyful. At the Easter service and throughout the Pentecostarion, Christos anesti is used in the place where Hallelujah is chanted in the western rite expressing happiness.

In contemporary worship among many Protestants, expressions of "Hallelujah" and "Praise the Lord" are acceptable spontaneous expressions of joy, thanksgiving and praise towards God, requiring no specific prompting or call or direction from those leading times of praise and singing.[27]  wiki.


Bible Commentaries

Bible Commentaries
Calvin's Commentary on the Bible
Psalms 111

Verse 1
1I will praise Jehovah The best and most efficient method of inculcating the performance of any duty is to be exemplary; and, accordingly, we find that the prophet, in the present instance, sets himself for an example, to lead others to engage in the celebration of God’s praises. His resolution to praise God consists of two parts; that he would celebrate God’s praises unfeignedly, with all his heart, and that he would do it publicly, in the assembly of the faithful. He very properly begins with heart-praise, because it is much better to praise in secret, and when no one is conscious of it, than to lift up our voice, and shout forth his praises with feigned lips. At the same time, the person who, in secret, pours out his heart in grateful emotions towards God, will also set forth his praises in swelling strains, otherwise God would be deprived of one half of the honor which is due to him. The prophet then determines to praise God with the whole heart, that is, with an upright and honest heart; not that he engages to come up to the full measure of his duty, but he declares that he would not be like the hypocrites, who, coldly and with a double heart, or rather guilefully and perfidiously, employ their lips only in the praises of God. This is a point worthy of notice, lest any should be discouraged, in consequence of not being able to cherish the hope of attaining to that perfection of heart which is so desirable; for however defective our praises may be, they may nevertheless be acceptable to God, provided only we strive unfeignedly to render unto him this act of devotion. We come now to the other part of his resolution, in which he says he would proclaim the praises of God before men; for although the Hebrew term סוד , sod, denotes a private assembly, (337) yet I think that, in this passage, he employs two words of synonymous import. At the same time, should any one be inclined to take a more refined view of the passage, he may do so if he please. He says, in the congregation of the just, because the principal object for which holy assemblies are convened, is to afford the worshippers of God an opportunity of presenting to him sacrifices of praise, agreeably to what is stated in Psalms 65:1,

“Praise waits for thee, O Jehovah! in Zion.”

Verse 2
2The works of Jehovah are great He now proceeds to inform us that there are abundant materials for praising God, supplied by his works, to which at present he makes only a general reference, and which he, subsequently, defines more explicitly in relation to the government of the Church. The magnitude of God’s works is a subject which, generally, eludes the observation of men, and, therefore, few of them are acquainted with it. This ignorance the prophet ascribes to the indifference and ingratitude of men, comparatively few of whom condescend to notice the great wisdom, goodness, justice, and power, which shine forth in these works. Expositors are divided in their sentiments about the second clause of the verse. Some translate it, sought out for all their delights; and, indeed, the Hebrew term חפף, chaphets, signifies good pleasure; but as this is too harsh an interpretation of the word, it is better to understand it as an adjective, expressing the idea of loving or desiring. As to the participle, sought out, which, according to the Hebrew verb, דרש, darash, properly denotes, to search with diligence, we yet find that the works of Jehovah are, in this place, called דרושים, derushim, that is, perceived or found out. Hence, in Isaiah 65:1, it is said, “I was found of them who sought, me not.” I must, however, not lose sight of the prophet’s design, namely, that in consequence of so few applying themselves to the study of the works of God, he teaches us that that is the reason why so many are blind amidst a flood of light; for, when he says that the excellency of the works of God is known to all who desire it, he means that none are ignorant of it, except such as are wilfully blind, or rather, malignantly and contemptuously quench the light which is offered to them. We must, however, attend to the means which we possess for arriving at the knowledge of these words because we know, that as long as the faithful are on earth, their understandings are dull and weak, so that they cannot penetrate the mysteries, or comprehend the height of the works of God. But, incomprehensible as is the immensity of the wisdom, equity, justice, power, and mercy of God, in his works, the faithful nevertheless acquire as much knowledge of these as qualifies them for manifesting the glory of God; only it becomes us to begin the study of his works with reverence, that we may take delight in them, contemptible though they be in the estimation of the reprobate, who treat them with impious scorn. The LXX. having rendered it, sought out in all his wills, Augustine has therefore taken occasion, with philosophic finesse, to ask, How can there be, or, at least, appear to be, a plurality of wills in God? And it is indeed a pleasing consideration, that though God manifest his will in his law, nevertheless there is another secret purpose by which he is guided in the wonderful management of human affairs. This doctrine, however, is, foreign to the exposition of this passage.

Verse 3
3His work is beautiful Others render it splendor. The meaning of the clause is this, That every act of God is replete with glorious majesty. In the following part of the verse he specifies more clearly in what this beauty and magnificence consist, by stating that the justice of God is everywhere conspicuous. It is not the design of God to furnish us with such a display of his power and sovereignty in his works, as might only fill our minds with terror, but he also gives us a display of his justice in a manner so inviting as to captivate our hearts. This commendation of the works and ways of God is introduced in opposition to the clamor and calumny of the ungodly, by which they impiously endeavor, to the utmost extent of their power, to disfigure and deface the glory of the works of God. In the next verse, he more especially extols the wonderful works in which God has principally set forth his power. To cause his marvellous works to be remembered, is equivalent to the doing of works worthy of being remembered, or the renown of which shall continue for ever. (338) And having above called upon us to contemplate his justice, now, in like manner, and almost in like terms, he celebrates the grace and mercy of God, principally in relation to his works, because that justice which he displays in the preservation and protection of his people, issues from the source of his unmerited favor which he bears towards them.

Verse 5
5He hath given a portion to them that fear him The Church being a mirror of the grace and justice of God, what the prophet said respecting them is here expressly applied to her; not that he designs to treat of the justice of God, in general, but only of that which he peculiarly displays towards his own people. Hence he adds, that God’s care of his people is such as to lead him to make ample provision for the supply of all their wants. The word טרף, tereph, which we have translated portion, is frequently taken for a prey: (339) others render it meat; but I rather choose to render it portion, in which sense it is taken in Proverbs 30:8, and Proverbs 31:15; as if he should say, that God had given his people all that was needful, and that, considered as a portion, it was large and liberal; for we know that the people of Israel were enriched, not in consequence of their own industry, but by the blessing of God, who, like the father of a family, bestows upon his household every thing necessary for their subsistence. In the following clause of the verse, he assigns as the reason for his care and kindness, his desire of effectually demonstrating that his covenant was not null and void. And here it must be carefully observed, that if, in former times, and from a respect to his gracious covenant, he manifested so great kindness towards the people of Israel, in like manner, the goodness which we receive from him is the result of our adoption into his family; and because God is never weary in showing kindness to his people, he says that the remembrance of his covenant shall never be effaced. Moreover, as he daily and constantly loads us with his benefits, so our faith must, in some measure, correspond with it: it must not fail, but must rise above life and death.

The next verse is subjoined, by way of exposition, for the purpose of showing that God, in bestowing upon his people the heritage of the heathen, had manifested to them the power of his works. He does indeed employ the term show, but he means a true showing; because the possession of the Holy Land was not acquired by mere human power, but it was given to them by Divine power, and through the working of many miracles; and thus God, as it were, openly testified to the descendants of Abraham with what incomparable power he is invested. It is on this account that he sets up the people of Israel as a match for so many other nations, who would assuredly never have vanquished so many enemies, unless they had been sustained from on high.

Verse 7
7The works of his hands In the first clause of the verse he exclaims that God is known to be faithful and upright in his works, and then he goes on to extol the same truth and rectitude as pervading the doctrine of the law; the amount of which is, that a beautiful harmony characterises all the sayings and doings of God, because every where he shows himself to be just and faithful. We have a memorable proof of this fact in the redemption of his ancient people. Yet I doubt not, that, under the term, works, the prophet comprehends the constant government of the Church; because God daily and unceasingly shows that he is just and true, and unweariedly pursues the same course. Among men it is reckoned to be of more importance for one to be found just in practice than in profession; yet, as the doctrine of the law was the very life and safety of the people, the prophet very properly, and in several expressions, dwells upon the sentiment contained in the second clause of the verse; saying, all his statutes are true, they are established for ever, and are drawn up in perfect accordance with the strict law of truth and equity And assuredly, but for God’s having kept the people united to him by the sacred chain of the law, the fruit of their redemption would have been very small, and even that benefit would have soon been lost by them. We ought to observe, then, that this subject is brought prominently forward in this place; because, in attesting the eternal love of God, it became the means of imparting life.

Verse 9
9He sent redemption to his people What he had already stated is here repeated in different words. And as the deliverance of his people was the commencement of their salvation, it is first introduced; next is subjoined its confirmation in the law, by reason of which it comes to pass that God’s adoption could never fail. For though, long prior to this, God had established his covenant with Abraham, which also was the occasion of the redemption of the people; yet what is here mentioned refers exclusively to the law, by which the covenant was ratified, never to be disannulled. The amount is, that, in the deliverance of the people, God did not act the part of a beneficial father, merely for a day, but that, in the promulgation of the law, he also establishedhis grace, that the hope of eternal life might continue for ever in the Church. Moreover, you must attend carefully to what I have elsewhere cautioned you against, and to which I shall advert more at length on Psalms 119:0, where the law is spoken of, That the commandments must not be taken always abstractly, for the Holy Spirit, in an especial manner, refers to the promises which are in Christ, by which God, in gathering his chosen people to himself, hath begotten them again to eternal life.

Verse 10
10.The fear of Jehovah Having treated of the kindness of God, and paid a well-merited tribute to the law, the prophet goes on to exhort the faithful to reverence God, and be zealous in the keeping of the law. In calling the fear of God, The beginning or source of wisdom, he charges with folly those who do not render implicit obedience unto God. As if he should say, They who fear not God, and do not regulate their lives according to his law, are brute beasts: and are ignorant of the first elements of true wisdom. To this we must carefully attend; for although mankind generally wish to be accounted wise almost all the world lightly esteem God, and take pleasure in their own wicked craftiness. And as the very worst of men are reputed to be superior to all others in point of wisdom; and, puffed up with this confidence, harden themselves against God, the prophet declares all the wisdom of the world, without the fear of God, to be vanity or an empty shadow. And, indeed, all who are ignorant of the purpose for which they live are fools and madmen. But to serve God is the purpose for which we have been born, and for which we are preserved in life. There is, therefore, no worse blindness, no insensibility so grovelling, as when we contemn God, and place our affections elsewhere. For whatever ingenuity the wicked may possess, they are destitute of the main thing, genuine piety. To the same effect are the words which immediately follow,a good understanding have all they who keep God’s commandments. There is great emphasis upon the qualifying adjunct טוב, tob; because the prophet, in inveighing against the foolish opinion to which we have already adverted, tacitly condemns those who delight in their own wicked craftiness. His meaning is, I admit, that they are usually deemed wise who look well to their own interests, who can pursue a temporising policy, who have the acuteness and artifice of preserving the favorable opinion of the world, and who even practice deception upon others. But even were I to grant that this character belongs to them, yet is their wisdom unprofitable and perverse, because true wisdom manifests itself in the observance of the law. Next he substitutes the keeping of God’s commandments for the fear of God. For though all men, without exception, boast that they fear God, yet nothing is more common than for them to live in the neglect of his law. Hence the prophet very properly inculcates upon us the voluntary assumption of his yoke, and submission to the regulations of his word, as the most satisfactory evidence of our living in the fear of God. The term beginning (340) has misled some, leading them to imagine that the fear of God was denominated the entrance of wisdom, as it were the alphabet, because it prepares men for true piety. Such an opinion is scarcely deserving of notice, seeing that, in Job 28:28, it is called “wisdom.” In this passage fear is not to be understood as referring to the first or elementary principles of piety, as in 1 John 4:18, but is comprehensive of all true godliness, or the worship of God. The conclusion of the psalm requires no explanation; it being the object of the prophet simply to inculcate upon the faithful, that nothing is more profitable for them, than to spend their lives in the celebration of the praises of God.

Calvin, John. "Commentary on Psalms 111". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". 1840-57


An Overview of the Psalms from The Bible Project

The Bible Project 2015.

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Hugh C. Wood, Atlanta, Georgia

New International Version (NIV)

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© Richard Neil Donovan's Commentary on Psalm 111.

Calvin, John. "Commentary on Psalms 111". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible"  (Public Domain)

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