Names of God – Part 14
Yah or Jah is a short form of YHWH, Yahweh or Jehovah. It first appears in Exodus 15:2:
The LORD [YAH] is my strength and my song,
and he has become my salvation;
Over 50 times the word is used this way in the psalms and other poetic parts of the Bible, so it can be taken as being a poetic form of YHWH except for two things.
1. It forms parts of several names
Isaiah (Yeshayah and Yeshayahu in Hebrew) meaning Salvation of Yah
Jeremiah (Yirmyah) meaning whom Yah has appointed.
Elijah (Eliyahu) meaning Yah(u) is my God. This name also contains the El name of God as well as Yah.
It is found in other names, for example Adonijah and Abijah.
2. It forms part of the word Hallelu-Yah,
Hallelu-YAH means You [pl.] praise the LORD.
Hallelujah is a variant spelling (also Alleluia for Anglicans). The word is a plural imperative to praise the LORD, it does not mean a praise the Lord as an individual expression of thanks as it is often misused in Evangelical settings. It is always corporate or congregational in context.
I did not know the plural meaning until I was looking at this. Of course there is nothing wrong with offering individual thanks or praise, a whole lot of psalms would have to be removed from scripture if it was, but that is not the meaning of Hallelijah. It does not mean “I am praising God,” but it is more of “Hey you lot who are not praising God, start praising him.”
(God listens to our hearts, even if we get the sintax wrong God still listens. So do not worry about getting it wrong.)
If you are calling people in a church to praise God, then a hymn like Alleluia, Sing to Jesus belongs at the beginning of the service. Its use at the end implies you are telling the congregation to go into the world and praise God.
So I will end the blog with Hallelujah — Go out into the world and praise God.