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The Imperative to Praise God's Incomparable Name (Psalm 113)
Sermon Notes
Sunday, 21 April 2013 00:00


Psalm 113 – 118 constitute the “Egyptian Hallel.” Hallel is the imperative singular form of the Hebrew word for “praise, “Hallelujah!” and is a command to praise.
The Jews sang the “Egyptian Hallel” (113-118) and the “Great Hallel” (120-134), two collections of Psalms, at the three yearly feasts that all the males had to attend: Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles. It was customary to sing Psalm 113 and 114 before the Passover meal and then sing Psalm 115-118 and 136 after the meal.

Psalm 113 is an anonymous Psalm of descriptive praise. It has nine verses made up of three movements of three verses each. The first section may be read as follows:
(1) Praise Yah! Praise, O servants of Yahweh! Praise the name of Yahweh!
(2) Let the name of Yahweh be blessed, from this time forth and forever!
(3) From the rising of the sun to its setting, the name of Yahweh is to be praised!

In these first three verses we are confronted at once with the message of the Psalm ~ that praise is due the name of God.
From the opening “Hallelu-jah” to the bookend closing v. 9, this poem overflows with the praise of God. The Imperative to Praise God is seen in the imperative mood of the verbs in vv. 1-3. All are commands.
Would you like to be fluent in many languages? The Psalm opens with a Hebrew word that is familiar to Christians all over the world, in every country regardless of national language or local dialect . The word is “Hallelujah!”
The word “Hallelujah” is a compound verb, made up of the plural imperative verb meaning “to praise” (Hallelu) coupled with the short form of the name Yahweh = “Yah.”

The key term for “praise” in this Psalm is the Hebrew verb “halal,” which is seen in the transliteration “Hallelujah!” (meaning “Praise the LORD!” or as in the translation there in your notes, “Praise Yah!”
The basic meaning of this word is “to be boastful; to be excited in joy.”
It is related to an Arabic word that was the shout of triumph at the end of a battle, when the soldier was alive, his army had won, and the booty was about to be divided!

“Halal” is the Hebrew equivalent of whatever you say when you, as a fan, are watching your favorite football team, who has just scored the winning points of the game!
It is the word a student who just aced the final exam and coming out of a difficult course with an “A” grade! It is the word of any experience calling for “excited boasting, or joyful expression, which is is both public and vocal.”
If I was to boast about myself, you’d call me an egotist.
If I was to always be boasting about my kids, you’d soon call me a bore.
But to boast excitedly about God would be appropriate. No one could fault me for that.
That is because I could never exhaust God’s splendors nor recall ALL His perfections!!!
It is Yahweh who truly deserves our boastful, excited, grateful, joyful praise!

 

 

 

 

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