Sunday, September 12, 2004

Hebrew Study of Worship

There are so many words in the bible that help us understand more fully what it means to worship. Below is a short study of some key Hebrew words used to speak of worship:


Appears 172 times in the Old Testament.
Means - to bow down, revere, fall down, stoop, crouch.

- Gen 18:1-2 - "The Lord appeared to Abraham...he looked up and saw three men standing nearby. When he saw them he hurried to meet them and bowed low to the ground."

- Gen 24:52 - "When Abraham's servant heard what they said [that Rebekah could go to be the wife of Isaac] he bowed down to the ground before the Lord."

- Ex 4:31 - "And when they heard that the Lord was concerned about them and had seen their misery, they bowed down and worshipped."


Appears 99 times in the Old Testament.
Means to praise, laud, boast of, celebrate, to be clamorously foolish.
"Hallelujah" is derived from hallal.

- Ps 69:30 - "I will praise God's name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving."

- Jer 20:13 - "Sing to the Lord! Give praise to the Lord! He rescues the life of the needy from the hands of the wicked."

- 1 Chr 16:4 - "He appointed some of the Levites to minister before the ark of the Lord, to make petition, to give thanks, and to praise the Lord, the God of Israel."


Root "Yad" means "hand."
Appears over 90 times: 53 times as "praise," 32 times as "give thanks," 16 times as "confess," and 5 times as "thanks."
Means to worship with extended hands, to throw out the hands, to give thanks to God. The use of hands is emphasized.

- 2 Chr 20:21 - "After consulting the people, Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the Lord and to praise him for the splendour of his holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying, 'Give thanks to the Lord, for his love endures forever."

- Ps 9:1 - "I will praise you, O Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonders."

- Ps 52:9 - "I will praise you forever for what you have done; in your name I will hope, for your name is good. I will praise you in the presence of your saints."


Appears 70 times as praise to God
Appears over 200 times to declare God the origin of power for success.
Denotes blessing or blessings from God, as well as between people. It's emphasis is on blessing.

- 1 Chr 29:10 - "David praised the Lord in the presence of the whole assembly, saying, 'Praise be to you, O Lord, God of our father Israel, from everlasting to everlasting."

- Job 1:21 - "The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised."

- Ps 144:1 - "Praise be to the Lord, my Rock, who trains my hand for war, my fingers for battle."


Appears over 50 times in the Old Testament.
Means to sing or laud. The singing of "hallal" (hallelujahs)


- Neh 9:5b - "Stand up and praise the Lord your God, who is from everlasting to everlasting. Blessed be your glorious name, and may it be exalted above all blessing and praise."

- Ps 100:4 - "Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise, give thanks to him and praise his name."

- Isa 42:12 - "Let them give glory to the Lord and proclaim his praise in the island."


Appears approximately 40 times in the Old Testament.
Means to pluck the strings of an instrument, to praise with song.
Is seen almost exclusively in the Psalms.

- 1 Chr 16:9 - "Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of his wonderful acts."

- Ps 98:4-5 - "Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth, burst into jubilant song with music, make music to the Lord, with the harp, with the harp and the sound of singing."

- Ps 104:33 - "I will sing to the Lord all my life; will sing praise to my God as long as I live."


Means to extend the hand in a sacrifice of praise, thanksgiving, offering thanks.

- Ps 26:6-7 - "I wash my hands in innocence, and go about your altar, O Lord, proclaiming aloud your praise and telling of all your wonderful deeds."

- Ps 107:22 - "Let them sacrifice thank offerings and tell of his works with songs of joy."

- Isa 51:3 - "The Lord will surely comfort Zion and will look with compassion on all her ruins; he will make her deserts like Eden, her wastelands like the garden of the Lord. Joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the sound of singing.:"

Other Hebrew words for praise and worship:

SAMAH - Meaning rejoice, be glad.
HAVAH - Meaning worship, kneel, prostrate
MIZMOR - Psalm
GIL - Shout circle of joy
RANAN - Shout with joy
SHIR - Sing
KAVED - Honour, glorify
ZAKAR - Remember, acknowledge, praise
SAPHAR - Recount, proclaim
RINNAH - Shout of joy
RUA - Shout in triumph
SUS - Rejoice
SHAMA - Proclaim

From Worship has never been, and should hopefully never be, a passive experience where we just get up and read some lyrics off a screen. It is an engaging response to a real and living God who inhabits the genuine praise that is of spirit and of truth. Will you worship?

No comments:

Post a Comment