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(Heb. hallelu'-yah', הִלְלוּאּיָהּ, Praise ye Jah, i.e. Jehovah!) or (in its Greek form) ALLELU'IAH (Ἀλληλούϊα ), a word which stands at the beginning of many of the Psalms. See Muller, De notione Hallelujah (Cygn. 1690); Wernsdorf, De formula Hallelujah (Viteb. 1763). From its frequent occurrence in this position it grew into a formula of praise, and was chanted as such on solemn days of rejoicing. (See Critica Biblica, 2, 448.) This is intimated by the apocryphal book of Tobit (13, 18) when speaking of the rebuilding of Jerusalem, "And all her (Jerusalem's) streets shall sing Alleluia" (comp. Revelation 19:1; Revelation 19:3-4; Revelation 19:6). This expression of joy and praise was transferred from the synagogue to the church, and is still occasionally heard in devotional psalmody. Kitto. The Hebrew terms are frequently rendered "Praise ye the Lord;" and so in the margin of Psalms 104:35; Psalms 105:45; Psalms 106; Psalms 111:1; Psalms 112:1; Psalms 113:1 (comp. Psalms 113:9; Psalms 115:18; Psalms 116:19; Psalms 117:2). The Psalms from 113 to 118 were called by the Jews the Hallel, and were sung on the first of the month, at the Feast of Dedication, and the Feast of Tabernacles, the Feast of Weeks, and the Feast of the Passover. (See HOSANNA).

On the last occasion Psalms 113, 114, according to the school of Hillel (the former only according to the school of Shammai), were sung before the feast, and the remainder at its termination, after drinking the last cup. The hymn (Matthew 26:30) sung by Christ and his disciples after the last supper is supposed to have been a part of this Hallel, which seems to have varied according to the feast. (See HALLEL). The literal meaning of "hallelujah" sufficiently indicates the character of the Psalms in which it occurs, as hymns of praise and thanksgiving. They are all found in the last book of the collection, and bear marks of being intended for use in the Temple service, the words "praise ye Jehovah" being taken up by the full chorus of Levites. (See PSALMS).

In the great hymn of triumph in heaven over the destruction of Babylon, the apostle in vision heard the multitude in chorus like the voice of mighty thunderings burst forth "Alleluia, for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth," responding to the voice which came out of the throne, saying, "Praise our God all ye his servants, and ye that fear him, both small and great" (Revelation 19:1-6). In this, as in the offering of incense (Revelation 8), there is evident allusion to the service of the Temple, as the apostle had often witnessed it in its fading grandeur. (See REVELATION, BOOK OF).

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Hallelujah'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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