George Booker
Psalms Studies - Book 1

6. The Hallelujah Psalms

It needs only a quick glance to check that the last five psalms (146 through 150) begin and end with Hallelujah, which — as everybody knows — means “Praise ye the Lord” (using the shortened form of the divine Name).

Turning the pages, going back towards the earlier part of the psalter, another Hallelujah psalm turns up at 135. Then, going past the 15 Songs of Degrees and the marathon 119, Psalm 117 presents the familiar phenomenon again, only this time the divine Name appears in full, in the introductory words of praise: “Hallelu (eth) Y’howah.” That “eth” is a word never translated; it serves to emphasize the object of the worship.

Next, Psalm 116 ends with Hallelujah but lacks it at the beginning. But there it is at the end of 115! And since there is no superscription (such as “A Psalm of David”) to mark the proper point of division, it seems quite probable that that Hallelujah properly belongs to 116. Where there is no psalm heading to separate one from the next, there is nothing in the Hebrew text to indicate where the division comes (see Introductory Chapter 1).

Psalms 111 and 112 both appear to begin with Hallelujah but to lack it at their termination. Surely Psalm 112 has a Hallelujah which does not belong to it. And now 111 is properly equipped with the right start and finish.

Closer inspection of these two psalms reveals how right is this relocation of the Hallelujah’s. Both of them are acrostic psalms (see Introductory Chapter 4). The theme of the first is the gracious character of God; and of the second, the gracious character of the godly man. Ponder the details, and you will soon trace a correspondence of ideas between the corresponding lines of the two psalms. Now it is easy to see how appropriately Psalm 111 begins and ends with Hallelujah, while 112 stands without it.

Psalm 106 also has a double Hallelujah. So also has Psalm 105, that is, if it be allowed to steal one from 104! Is this a valid procedure or not? Answer: Yes, because this now leaves 104 beginning and ending with “Bless the Lord, O my soul.” That seems right, especially since Psalm 103 also begins and ends in just the same way.

This leaves us with twelve Hallelujah psalms, and, for obvious reasons, that seems right also! (Whittaker, Bible Studies, p. 216)
Next Next Next