Hallelu'jah (Heb. hallelu'-yah', הִללוּאּיָהּ, Praise ye Jah, i.e. Jehovah!) or (in its Greek form) ALLELU'IAH (Α᾿λληλούϊα), 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. Re 19:1,3-4,6). 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 Ps 104:35; Ps 105:45; Ps 106; Ps 111:1; Ps 112:1; Ps 113:1 (comp. Ps 113:9; Ps 115:18; Ps 116:19; Ps 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 Ps 113; Ps 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 (Mt 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" (Re 19:1-6). In this, as in the offering of incense (Rev.
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.
HALLELUJAH, a doxology used frequently in the ancient Church, and derived from the Old Testament. The singing Hallelujah sometimes means the repetition of the word, in imitation of the heavenly host (see Revelation 19); at other times it has reference to one of the psalms beginning with Hallelujah. In the early Christian Church the more common acceptation of 'hallelujah' is for the singing of the word itself in special parts of divine service, as-a sort of mutual call to each other to praise the Lord." In some churches the Hallelujah was sung only on Easter day and the fifty days of Pentecost; in others it was used more generally. Augustine says it was not used in time of Lent (Augustine, Epist. 119, 178). In the fourth Council of Toledo it is mentioned under the name Laudes, and appointed to be smug after the reading of the Gospel (Concil. Tolet. 4, can. 10,11). It was occasionally sung at funerals: St. Jerome speaks of it as being smug at the funeral of Fabiola, and says the people made the golden roof of the church shake with echoing forth the Hallelujah (Contra Vigilant. cap. 1, and Epist. 30, cap. 4). The ancient Church retained the Hebrew word, as also did the Church of England in its first Liturgy; though now it is translated "Praise ye the Lord," to which the people reply, "The Lord's name be praised." See Bingham, Orig. Eccles. bk. 14, ch. 2, § 4; Procter.
On Common Prayer, p. 212; Coleman, Ancient Christianity, ch. 15:§ 9.