Hebrew Vocabulary

Praise and Worship


Many of our readers are interested in learning to use Bible code software, but are intimidated by the difficulty of learning Hebrew. As part of our series on Hebrew vocabulary, we now turn to words used in praise and worship.

We will be demonstrating the vocabulary using OT Scripture. We will not be making any effort to teach grammar, per se, but will give an introduction to some vocabulary words that are used to praise God. Some notes on grammar may appear as necessary, but grammar will not be our focus. Again, we will not be teaching conversational Hebrew, or the ability to write Hebrew. There are many other courses that are terrific at teaching those skills. We do hope that this article will facilitate learning Hebrew in conjunction with other methods. For additional Hebrew language resources, visit our Hebrew Links and Resources page.

Unless otherwise noted, the Hebrew/English text for the Scriptures listed below is from Keys to the Bible.

Praise God

We began our first lesson on the Hebrew alphabet with the word hallelujah. We return to that word to begin learning phrases used to praise God.

In Hebrew, the word praise is hee-lehl, but it is pronounced a little differently depending on how it is used. The most familiar use of the word for English-speaking people is the English word hallelujah (or hahl-loo yah, which is a phrase meaning Praise God). The hahl-loo part of the phrase can be used with other endings, such as ehl meaning God (it is short for ehloheem) or hoo meaning him.

In Psalm 7:17, the word ohdeh is used to praise God, taken from the word ohdah which means to thank. So, in this verse the praise of God takes the form of thankfulness. In the same verse, the Psalmist says he will sing praise to the Name of the Lord. Here the word used is derived from the word to sing zeemehr.

Lastly, a form of the word exalt is used in Psalm 145:1. Exalt is rohmehm. The single word in Hebrew ahrohmeem'khah means I will extol (exalt) You.

The last Hebrew word is very similar to the English word aroma, which appears in 2 Corinthians 2:15.
    For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. (emphasis ours, NIV)

Bless the Lord

The three letters that make up the root word for the verb to bless are (behrehkh) however, depending on the usage of the word, the "b" sound can often take on a "v" sound.

So in the sentence I will bless the Lord, bless (beh-rehkh) becomes I will bless (ah-vah-rah-kah), and in the sentences with blessed be, we find bah-rookh or m'voh-rahkh depending on the usage. The important thing to note is the presence of the three root letters in each of these forms. [Remember kaf and kaf sofit are the same letter. The kaf appears in the middle of the words, the kaf sofit is used at the end of a word.]

Great Is the Lord

The word for great gahdohl is also the word for big, so when we say gahdohl y'hohvah we can think of not only God's greatness, but also how big He is.

The Hebrew word for The Most High, which is a title for God, is ehl'yohn. The word also means the top, the highest.

A wonderful word to use to praise God is awesome nohrah, or as we know it, the name Nora. Combining the words for The Most High and awesome, you can say The Most High is awesome (ehl'yohn nohrah).

In Hebrew there are two words for give. They are nah-tahn and yah-hav. The word
eekahbohd means the glory has departed (1 Samuel 4:21). Think of Ichabod Crane. To honor or to glorify is keebehd.

The word translated as majestic in Psalm 8:1 is ahdeer, which means mighty, noble, rich and respectable.

Closing Thoughts

We hope this introduction to Hebrew words for praising and worshipping God will be a springboard for future study of the Hebrew language. Whether you are studying in order to search for Bible codes, or to enhance your times of praise and worship, we hope that the knowledge of the richness of the Hebrew language will add significance to your life and studies.


Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture references in Hebrew and English were taken from Keys to the Bible.

Scripture quotations marked "NIV" are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

Ben-Yehuda and Ben-Yehuda. 1964. Ben-Yehuda's Pocket English-Hebrew/Hebrew-English Dictionary New York: Simon & Schuster, Inc.

Green Sr., Jay P. 1986. The Interlinear Bible: Hebrew-Greek-English Lafayette, Indiana: Sovereign Grace Publishers.

Mechon-Mamre.org The Mechon-Mamre.org site has a Hebrew-English Bible (Tanakh only) according to the Masoretic text and the JPS 1917 Edition. This site has MP3 recordings of the text.

For additional Hebrew language resources, visit our Hebrew Links and Resources page.

Praise Reference Table

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