Young People's Bible Dictionary

by Barbara Smith (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1965)

Hallelujah. An exclamation meaning "Praise the Lord!" used in the book of The Revelation; same as Ps. 106:1. Rev. 19:1,3,4,6.

Harper’s Bible Dictionary

edited by Paul J. Achtemier (San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1985)

hallelujah; (Heb., ‘[let us] praise the Lord’), in the Hebrew Bible, a word restricted to Psalms, where it occurs only in Pss. 104-150. It is used twenty-three times as the introduction or conclusion of a psalm and, contrary to the rules of Hebrew grammar, is written as one word, though this practice was not universally accepted in the Talmudic period. Only in Psalm 135:3, where ‘hallelujah’ is an intrinsic part of a verse rather than an introduction or conclusion of a psalm, is it written as two words. Both the Septuagint and Vulgate transliterate the word rather than translate it. These factors suggest that ‘hallelujah’ was a religious cry, probably used to encourage audience participation in the liturgical recitation of psalms. Later, ‘hallelujah’ became a stereotyped cry of joy; the Jews of Alexandria sang it after being saved from annihilation by the Egyptians (3 Macc. 7:13) and it introduces the angelic praise of God in Rev. 19:1-8. The recitation of the word ‘(h)allelujah’ played an important role within the early church liturgy.

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