This Week's Focus Passage

This Week’s Focus Passage: Psalm 150: Hallelujah. ‘Hallelujah, praise ye Jehovah!’

This Week’s Focus Passage: Psalm 150: Hallelujah.

‘Hallelujah, praise ye Jehovah!’


    Beginning with the 146th Psalm, and continuing through the final psalm, Psalm 150; these five psalms constitute what are known as the “Hallelujah Choruses” of the book of Psalms. Not one among these five psalms possesses a superscription. However, these specific Psalms each begin with “Praise ye Jehovah,” and ends with the same. Praise ye Jehovah, in the Hebrew, is Hallelujah. The masterful writer, and preacher, of nineteenth century Great Britain, has given us the following thoughts, found in his commentary upon the Psalms, under the title, The Treasury of David, as he approached these five Hallelujah Choruses of praise unto our God, at Psalm 146:

“We are now among the Hallelujahs. The rest of our journey lies through the Delectable Mountains [an allusion to John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress]. All is praise to the close of the book. The key is high-pitched: the music is upon the high sounding cymbals. O for a heart full of joyful gratitude, that we may run, and leap, and glorify God, even as these psalms do. Alexander thinks that this song may be regarded as composed of two equal parts; in the first we see the happiness of those who trust in God, and not in man (1—5), while the second gives the reason drawn from the divine perfections (5—10). This might suffice for our purpose; but as there is really no break at all, we will keep it entire. It is ‘one pearl,’ a sacred censer of holy incense, pouring forth one sweet perfume.”

  We cite, in particular, the very last of these sacred songs, even the 150th, final song:

Praise ye Jehovah. Praise God in his sanctuary: Praise him in the firmament of his power. Praise him for his mighty acts: praise him according to his excellent greatness. Praise him with trumpet sound: praise him with psaltery and harp. Praise him with timbrel and dance: praise him with stringed instruments and pipe. Praise him with loud cymbals: Praise him with high sounding cymbals. Let everything that hath breath praise Jehovah. Praise ye Jehovah.—Psalm 150—A.S.V.-1901.

    It was particularly interesting to discover that a brand new edition of the work of William Binnie, had been published in 2005, by Solid Ground Christian Books out of (in 2005, that is) Birmingham, Alabama. What an added delight it was to see that a new introduction had been added by our very own seminary professor of Hebrew and Old Testament, Dr. Benjamin Shaw, lately removed to the Orlando area of Florida, where he has continued his teaching. Dr. Shaw was asked by the publisher of this important reprint of William Binnie’s work on the Psalms, to offer a New Introduction. It is heartwarming to discover, in this new introduction, that Dr. Shaw possesses a very high regard for the book of Psalms. In his introduction, he has written, for our attention, the following remarks; he has pointed out to the reader:

“The second book (division) focuses on the theology of the psalms, that is, what they teach. The first part treats of Christ in the Psalms. This is a most important discussion, if for no other reason than that modern treatments usually consider the messianic psalms to be primarily devoted to the kings of Israel, referring only in a secondary fashion to Christ. Binnie shows conclusively that the modern dismissal of distinctly messianic psalms reflects an inadequate reading of them. In an age when the use of the Psalms in Christian worship [the singing of God’s praise] has almost vanished, this provides an encouraging call to the church to regain the rich heritage that God has given her. 

Spurgeon, in an important note among his comments upon these Hallelujahs, clearly bares his heart, when he declaims against this beautiful, and important, word ‘Hallelujah’ has been reduced to something more akin to ‘Eureka’ today. He wrote:

“It is saddening to remember how this majestic word has been trailed in the mire of late. Its irreverent use is an aggravated instance of taking the name of Jehovah our God in vain. Let us hope that it has been done in ignorance by the ruder sort; but great responsibility lies with leaders who countenance and even copy this blasphemy. With holy awe let us pronounce the word HALLELUJAH, and by it summon ourselves and all others to adore the God of the whole earth.” Praise Yah!

Resorting to his comments upon Psalm 150, CHS has promoted this praise:

“We have now reached the last summit of the mountain chain of Psalms. It rises high into the clear azure, and its brow is bathed in the sunlight of the eternal world of worship. It is a rapture. The poet-prophet is full of inspiration and enthusiasm. He stays not to argue, to teach, to explain; but cries with burning words, ‘Praise Him, Praise Him, Praise ye the Lord.’”

    Another has well written of this last among the psalms, that “Some say this psalm was sung by the Israelites, when they came with the first fruits into the sanctuary, with the baskets on their shoulders. Thirteen times in this short Psalm is the word praise used; not on account of thirteen perfections or properties in God, as Kimchi thinks; but it is so frequently, and in every clause used, to show the vehement desire of the Psalmist that the Lord might be praised; and to express his sense of things, how worthy he is of praise; and that all ways and means to praise him should be made use of, all being little enough to set forth his honor and glory.—John Gill.

    And yet, another offers his thoughts upon these lovely psalms; when saying:

    “We do not know who put together these different sacred compositions, or whether they were arranged on any particular principal. This, however, is obvious, that the last series, those that close the whole, are full of praise. Though we meet frequently with grief and shame and tears in the former part, a great deal that presses upon the spirit,—and in the centre a great many references to the various vicissitudes and fortunes through which the church or the individual has passed,—yet as we get towards the end, and as the book closes, it is Hallelujah—praise.      

David Farmer, elder

Fellowship Bible Church


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