There is probably not a single person alive who isn’t familiar with the word “Hallelujah”. We’ve all heard this word repeated time and again in various contexts. Hallelujah is a Hebrew loan word, incorporated into the English language from Hebrew. But what does this word mean in Hebrew?

The word “Hallelujah” (הללויה) is actually a compound word (two individual Hebrew words put together): “Hallelu” (הללו) and “Yah” (יה). “Hallelu” is an exhortation to a group people to praise someone or something. The old English translation of “Praise, ye” is, therefore, a very accurate translation.

“Yah” (יה) is a version of  “YHVH” (יהוה) – an English transliteration of the covenant name of Israel’s God. Jewish belief holds that this name is too holy to be pronounced at all. In fact, no one really knows how to pronounce it correctly. Ancient Hebrew did not use vowels, but only consonants. In translating “YHVH,”, both Jewish and Christian translators substituted the word “Lord” –  a rough translation of another Hebrew name for God (אֲדונָי) – Adonai. To signify that “YHVH” was the original Hebrew word used in the text – it was printed in “all capitals,” (LORD and not simply “Lord”) in English translations.

For many centuries, Jewish people have traditionally referred to this most holy name of God by using the Hebrew word,HaShem” (literally, “The Name”). Occasionally, they would substitute even the longer Hebrew phrases for God’s covenant name, such as “HaKadosh Baruch Chu” (Holy One, Blessed be He).

Today’s modern Christ followers are divided over the appropriateness of the English translation (LORD). Some prefer to pronounce the actual covenant name of God (forbidden to be spoken in Judaism) believing that this makes their faith more authentic and original. Others continue with the more traditional Jewish/Christian ways of expressing their devotion. Join me and discover the practical simplicity of Hebrew Language. Understand how it speaks in through simple imagery, yet says so much.

The Bible can provide us with truth, but it can also be difficult to decipher! Whether you're looking for some biblical direction, stumped on scriptural questions, or just want to confirm that you're already on the right track, join the growing community of faculty and students at Israel Bible Center! Click here to begin your journey of discovery. OFFER EXPIRES ON SEP. 18!

191 COMMENTS

  1. “No matter on which side of the debate we find ourselves, we must affirm the necessary authenticity and Israelite character of our modern prayers without losing sight of the graciousness of Israel’s God who is far more concerned about our hearts than about our grammar.” This is the most important: God who is far more concerned about our hearts than about our grammar. Thank you!

  2. I see that the covenant name of God was “too holy to be pronounced at all”. I am wondering if the meaning for some could be deeper than grammar. I see in Rev 2:13 “you hold fast to my name (HaShem?)”. This seems to be linked to the word “hidden manna” (Rev 2:17). Could unpronounceable also mean that God is hidden?

    • I believe our indwelling knows us & all our prayers / being unable, go through Him. Yes, I hold fast to the name “O LORD my God” when much occult attack fiercely & I am alone & no where to hide. The LORD is my Refuge & His very present helps in time of trouble. So be very careful to “Love the LORD your God w all your heart.”

  3. I believe, with much respect without offending the people of Israel, that the Jew does not follow the first commandment: “Love God above all things”. They worry a lot if they can pronounce the name of YHWH. How can I say to my Father: Lord instead of Father, or Adonai instead of YAWE, a father is loved, because the one who loves him, keeps the greatest of all respects.

  4. Well said – though He is ‘jealous’ for His name! Throughout the OT His goal was that ALL nations would realize that the true God was the one name YHWH. All others were only figments of mens’ imaginations.

  5. The book of psalms ends in a very interesting way. Psalm 150:6 (AMP). Let everything that has breath and every breath of life praise the Lord! “Praise the Lord!” (Hallelujah). The word Hallelujah unlike most of the other words in the bible was left in the original Hebrew. Perhaps; just maybe when we give praise this could be considered to sacred to tamper with. The authenticity of praise is set in our hearts. This’s why I believe King David was so great, a man after God’s own heart. Irrespective of his personal flaws. So! “Let us praise the Lord,” Hallelujah!

  6. It would also be interesting to have a commentary on how “Hosanna” came into the English language as a praise word, instead of what I understand to be its original meaning: “Save us.”

  7. Our LORD Far more concerned about out hearts than our grammar, Nailed it D.R. Eli —- Love’s stronger than steel – Love’s greater even than the Halacha (though the Law is good) YESHUA is greater than all these for me Amen

  8. Josephus tells us that the holy name of G_d is ‘all vowels’ (Jewish Wars 5.5.7). Although he was writing in Greek rather than Hebrew he was using the LXX where the name of G_d was translated into vowels. Since the Hebrew letters yod, he and vav (waw) are used not only as consonants, but also as vowel indicators (matres lectionis) what better way to hide the true name in a text without vowels than to use a word without its consonants? Without the consonants it is impossible to know the true word and hence to know how to pronounce it.

  9. I think that beyond wanting to keep the sacredness of the lord ‘s name , to deface it to the point of not knowing how to pronounce it and knowing the name of your creator is beyond shame and dishonor. This is not what anyone can call “to keep in high regard and respect”. How would you feel being call ” hey ! You… Yes you! …what ever your name is” by your children. Would you feel honored ,respected? Remembered? Apreciated? Forgetting the name of their God was one of the greatest disservice rabbies did to israel.

  10. Yet more on the holy name and “grammar”. Not only did Yeshua deliberately testify he declared the earlier lost name of his Father to his disciples (John 17:26), he promised in the same verse to declare it again to some future generation of disciples! And why not to our own generation in these last days? Now, shall we instruct him not to bother? That it’s only grammar? If we do not appreciate why declaring his Father’s holy name is so important to him, why not ask him in prayer, rather than tell him we’re not interested?

    • Thank you for your truthful observation. In this world there are many Gods and Lords but there is only one YAHWEH and only one Yahshua. I will always , by his grace, proclaim his Name and his Son’s Name. I chose to be ignorant no more.

  11. Sometime ago I read that Yesuha always referred to God as His Father. Only on the cross did He call out to God. I never called my earthly father by his given name as that would not be respectful of his position as my father. I like to think of God as my Heavenly Father as that is comforting to me knowing of His love and protective care. Also I am glad to have learned in the past few years about God’s name. There are many false gods and they all have names. Why not the true God?

  12. We do know the name Iesous or in English Jesus. Peter said in Acts 2:36 “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.” He also said in Acts 4:12 about the name of Jesus “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”

    • Yes. We are to focus on who Yeshua Messiah, our King, Saviour, Redeemer is. That is what His Mighty Name means to us. All glory to God Almighty. Shabbat Shalom mispacha

  13. It is my theory that the priests at Qumran were those that could not prove lineage after the return from captivity. That would explain some of the differences. They sourced the Jerusalem Talmud as their guide, at least it seems so to me. Also, there were several sects and divisions within the “Essenes”. I also think Essenes is maybe incorrect. Could they be part of the those who used “Isshi” as a title for Yehovah, or does the name “Essenes” come from this word?

  14. I feel that we in the Western world and culture do not understand, the meaning and power of Biblical words, practices and names. The ancient Jewish holy men were given the oracles directly by the ALMIGHTY, revelation and supernatural wisdom. They knew what “Holy” and “Holiness ” meant.The shepherd boy, David slew Goliath” in the Name of the LORD “, believers are baptised ” in the Name of “,demons are cast out ” in Name of “. There is awesome great power, authority and majesty in The NAME “.Let us be careful not to profane it.

  15. The name and it’s pronounciation have been found over 1,000 times in bible manuscripts with the vowel pointings since 2001 by Nehemiah Gordon- he is a Hebrew scholar who has worked on the dead sea scrolls. As well the Name has always been known by Rabbi’s passed down through the generations.

  16. Dr. Eli, Could you perhaps comment on the word: “Bless” as in Ps. 103, 11 Cor. 1:3 Eph. 1:3. Some people say that you can not Bless the Lord. It should be praise.

    • Hi Deon, Great question! We do bless the Lord – but in a different way than He blesses us.It does indeed seem to be connected to the idea of praising God in some sense as these ideas are often linked together in the psalms.

  17. I agree fully with you sir. Nobody knows how to pro claim those letters. A name in those days described who you are. During twenty years of discipleship where I have facilitated thousands of people, I have come up to some strange names. The sad thing is that those who are so sure about how to pronounce His Name where all totally deceived in many ways and were serving demons! So stop fighting about names! Start to proclaim Who He Is! He is our Father, our Creator, our Saviour and our King and at least 300 other things! Praise Him!

  18. In my opinion, when you love someone, you want to know all the details of that someone. Likewise, when one loves HaShem (YHWH), wants to know everything about Him and to be extremely delicate, careful and respectful, when speaking to Him. It is not my dad, it is Avinu Shebashamayim (our Heavenly Father). So it is with our lives, we must be careful not to dishonor Him when we transgress His precepts, although we have an Advocate with the Father. It is love, to take care not only of our lives of sin but our words and language towards Hashem.

  19. In my opinion .. (cntd)…. So should be with our neighbor. For that reason if it is within our reach to know more about His Name (HaShem), it is our responsibility to know it, but that does not authorize us to disqualify others because they do not, or to the Jewish people who for love and respect, take extreme care of the forms of address and praise Hashem.

  20. From what i have learnt and still discovering, I have come to understand that God “IS”, meaning that He exists and we believe in Him. Ex 3:14. And God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And He said, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, I AM has sent me to you…This is my name forever. God has many names that describe who He is/Holy, Almighty,Righteous, Faithful,Just,True, Love, Saviour, Redeemer,…etc. In and only through His Son, the Name above all names, Jesus Christ, all the fullness of the Godhead bodily dwells. All Honour praise glory Amen.

  21. Dr. Eli, the picture is breathtaking! I love the clouds!!! Sometimes I wonder if GOD is writing Hebrew in the sky! LOL There are many names for GOD but I like El Shaddai, Adonai, Abba, Yahweh-YHWH, Elohim, GOD ALMIGHTY, the GREAT “I AM”. I was told Hallelujah is the Highest Praise anyone could give GOD. Truthfully, no matter what we call HIM, it is sometimes difficult to express! HE is who HE is and no one can add to HIM or take from HIM. Amen and Amen! Shalom!

  22. Good day Dr Eli
    Did send a question a few days ago. Not sure whether it went through.
    Reading your book called ‘Becoming Israel.’
    Could you please explain to me why life, from the tree of life’ – Gen 3:24 is written in the plural form – ets ha chayim?
    I completed the Hebrew A & B course.

    Regards
    Erry

  23. I so enjoy reading the short lessons and the comments..I learn from them. As money does not permit my taking of any classes, I am grateful of the crumbs from the table..thank you and shalom.

  24. I so enjoy this forum!

    This just came into my email and I have a comment, I hope I’m not too off base:

    Does not Yeshua mean “God Is Salvation?

    So then, might “ I AM That I AM” denote: I AM Your Savior-which encompasses all of His Names such as YHVH Rapha, YHVH Nissi, etc)?

    I ask this because of those WONDERFUL Consonants that comprise YHVH

    (Blessed be His NAME)

    Do not those consonant letters symbolize the following (I may have them backwards so please forgive me in advance):

    Yod (or Yad depending on what vowel)-“Open Hand”

    He -a Door or a Window -thus “behold”; “gaze intently”

    Vav- “Hook” or “Nail”

    He – “behold”; “gaze intently”.

    Thus, HAND BEHOLD NAIL BEHOLD

    (Caps intended for respect, not text shouting). 🙂

    So, those four letters in HIS GREAT NAME declare WHO HE is. He is “God (of) Our Salvation” (Yeshua) The Son of Man Who came to the earth to “declare” His Father’s Name through His demonstration of It all the Way to The Cross and beyond to the End Of Age.

    Forgive me if this is already obvious to everyone. I’m a fairly new believer who has recently gotten revelation of this and am very excited about it (but only if it’s correct). 🙂

  25. This understanding is particularly Deep and profound.
    In contrast, some churches…”modern/secular churches” tend to portray GOD, the Almighty, as some kind of “pal”, someone to whom you could say… “Yo…Give me five”! I suppose, GOD, the Almighty is too remote and HIGH Up there to relate to, SO they had to bring him down to their very basic human level.
    Then there are some Catholic Churches where you are required to bow your head whenever you say the word… Jesus… In contrast, some South Americans give the name Jesus to their Children…

  26. What name did Yesuah (Jesus) reveal in the NT? He said, My Father. He said, The Father. Yesuah wanted us to understand the fullness of G-d our Father. An intimate name. He only once called Him G-d; on the cros where he paid for our sins once and for all. We are all called many names. Yet our most cherished name is of an intimate relationship. Your are a Rabbi. But it would truly break your heart if your own children called you Rabbi. I believe you would agree that your most cherished name your children call you is Daddy.

  27. THE “NAME”… I remember like it was yesterday, when my 38 year old daughter was 4. One day I came home from work and as I came through the door, she came running through the house shouting “Daddy!!”. With arms outstretched as she ran toward me, did I care about the word or how she pronounced it? My baby girl was coming to me!!! And I gathered her up in my arms for a LONG,BIG HUG with lots of kisses and giggles!! So, with the Apostle Paul, I cry,”ABBA, Father!!”

    • It is just linguistic semantics. The letter vav makes the “v” sound today, but in ancient Hebrew it made a “w” sound (like in other Semitic languages).

  28. After His resurrection Jesus said to Mary “My God and your God” also called Him “My God” in the book of Revelation. According to my research, YHVH does mean, “Hand in grace nailed in grace”. I believe the Tetragrammaton: 4 letters of Yahweh’s name is a contraction of”He Was, He Is, He Will Be”, therefore naming Him as The Eternal One. Yeshuah declared his name, or title to be “Father”, as showing His true relationship to his followers.

  29. I AM A CHILD OF THE MOST HIGH AND HE IS PLEASED TO DWELL WITH ME AND IN ME…I SIT WITH HIM AT HIS RIGHT HAND IN THE HEAVENLY REALM IN HIS SON JESUS…WE ARE ONE ..I AM COMPLETE IN HIM AND CALL HIM FATHER,DADDY…HE CALLS ME HIS BELOVED…FATHER ALWAYS HAD IN HIS MAGNIFICENT PLANS A YEARNING DESIRE TO DWELL AMONG HIS CHILDREN…ADAM AND EVE…I WILL SPEAK HIS NAME AS HIS CHILD AND WILL GROW IN MATURITY AND RELATIONSHIP WITH HIM…AS HE REVEALS THE DEPTHS OF HIS NAME AS MY FATHER ..

  30. In the course of these discussions, it appears that many of us has failed to make a proper distinction between what is a legitimate “personal name” (eg John, etc) from that which are just “generic titles” (eg lord, god, etc). Generic titles remain as generic titles no matter to what language you may translate that word to, eg the title “god” when translated (it’s meaning) to other languages will be “allah (Arabic), “mungu” (African), “shen” (Chinese), “tuhan” (Indonesian), “elah (Aramaic), etc. Whereas for personal names, we transliterate its pronounciation (not meaning) to the destination language.
    “God” is not HIS Name.

  31. We are told in the Holy Scriptures to call upon his name , Do we do what we want and not call upon His Name or do we OBEY the WORD and call Upon His name
    YAHUWAH ,YAHUSHUWAH ,.

  32. I understand that the Jews do not speak Gods name out of reverence. But I think it’s sad the the true form of the word has been lost. I see God tell Mosses “I am” and say this is the name he is to be known by for all generations. I never see anything in scripture that says we should not speak His name. So why is it that we have let the true pronunciation of His beautiful name be lost?

  33. Pitty that we know the name of satan but not sure about the Name of our Greator
    My question is… how can we keep our Father’s Name Holy? By not knowing it? I’ve never got a clear answer in so many years trying to find the real name of God. I will never give up for I am sure in the Greek original koini language is saved somewhere. Many other names are saved due to the Greek language.

  34. Dr. Eli You referring to Jeremiah 44.24-26 with a comment …God removed His name from among them so that it would not be profaned. Please add also Jeremiah 44.27 to understand why God removed His name from them…Jeremiah 44.27 >I am going to watch over them for harm and not for good; all the people of Judah who are in the land of Egypt shall perish by the sword and by famine, until not one is left. No one means no one not just few or most of them.
    To those who love him said… This is my Name and…..

  35. When I was a child and I asked what was meant by the word ‘Halleluyah’ – because they didn’t know, my query was fobbed off! In adulthood I studied Hebrew and learned that ‘hallel’ means praise and ‘Halleluyah’ means Praise YHWH !!!!!!

  36. Jesus corrected the Pharisees by saying they made the word of no effect because of their traditions. The bible never says we can’t pronounce God’s Name. Agreed, we shouldn’t say His Name disrespectfully. But I believe when using His Name to support our own agenda is far worse.

  37. We do know how to pronounce YHVH. It is given in the letter that was sent from Elephantine by the Levite priests who guarded the Ark of the Covenant on that island from 648 BCE. They wrote it was
    YAHU.

    • I think we should tread carefully here. Building and maintaining a temple outside Jerusalem in violation of the tanakh does not exactly put these folks in a position of high repute when it comes to things biblical.

  38. mc, ALL believers/followers of Yeshua have a testimony. We’ve ALL taken a journey from being lost in the dark to walking in HIS light. Every story is different, and every story is a testimony & witness to HIS love, grace, & redemptive power.

  39. On Gods name: In a time where there are so many gods including people who call themselves god, it is imperative to be specific. YHVH

  40. I just love the people at Israel Bible Center, what you teach is anointed! It has taken fear out of my heart.

  41. ex-Pharisee, Karaite Jew, Nehemia Gordon, says there are plenty of rabbinical works continued Father’s name, with the proper vowel points etc, Yehovah (“j” didn’t exist)

  42. I have learned as a believer in Yeshua that I can call on G-d as YHWH , I can call the Father- Abba or Avinu- Malkeinu, the Holy Spirit- Ruach HaKodesh. The name I AM THAT I AM, or Adonai-Echad for the Triune G-d. He is to be Worshipped !!!

  43. How is that about rabbis keeping the Covenant Arch in 648 DC, if that was vanished after Shlomo Temple destruction? I did not understand the idea.

  44. Did not the spirit of prophecy depart from Israel when they stopped calling on the name of the Lord? By tradition the name of the Lord became too holy to be pronounced, but, and please correct me if I am wrong, this was not always so.

  45. Not to offend…but a Karaite, from my understanding does NOT consider the Talmud or rabbinic teachings. There is NO Oral Torah. To add or diminish from the Father’s instructions was forbidden. Moses wrote what the Father told him to write. Codified at Mt. Sinai. Shalom

    • Correct, Linda, a Karaite does not submit to traditional Rabbinic writings as authoritative, but Karaites do have their own traditions and customs that have been passed down through the generations. If you think about it, virtually everyone has some traditions or customs, even if they invent it themselves.

  46. I love the names of God. I have compiled them over the years though many may not accept the whole list. The power that is revealed in our relationship with the Name. Hallelujah! Is truly a grace which we have been given to know and love as Savior and LORD!

  47. I never knew my human father growing up. My grandmother introduced me to my heavenly One. Out of love, respect and honor, I call Him God, Father and when I am really hurting and crawl into His Lap, I even dare to call Him Daddy.

    • Hi Anto, it’s true that Yah and Iah are super similar in English, but comparing original languages, they certainly are not related. Israel’s Yah is spelled yud-heh, as an abbreviation of the tetragrammaton, whereas the lunar deity Iah is pronounced jˁḥ and would be transliterated into Hebrew as yud-ayin-chet. Since ayin and chet are not pronounced in English, the transliteration is certainly deceptive.

  48. Yahweh in English is pronounced Jehovah
    Yeshua in English is pronounced Jesus
    When writing or speaking english, this is the correct grammer.

  49. To try and transliterate Yeshua first of all there is no letter to use for Hebrew sheen or shhh sound so ended up an s. A was feminine in Latin and Greek so it was changed to masculine us. J did not exist until 16th century so should be Y

  50. Psalm 68:4 KJVS …sing praises to Him that rideth upon the heavens by his name Jah יה
    …Exodus 3:13-14 KJVS …and God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: אהיה אשר אהיה

  51. The original text is correct and true, in Exodus the LORD tells us to use His name YAHWEH OR YAHVEH, He said with all authority it is to be His name forever. Anyone who calls one the Name of the LORD, YAHWEH shall be saved, it distinguishes us from all.

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